Do you enjoy long walks in the mountains? If so, you’re in luck because if you want to slide on anything resembling snow in the Sierra, you’re going to have to work for it. As crazy as it may sound to some, there are panels of recrystallized powder strewn about the Sierra Crest. From the most northern reaches of our greater forecast area down to the south, it’s out there, and it’s fun. The question is, do you really want to search for it?
If you do, thin cover is obviously dominating. The Sierra Avalanche Center (SAC) continues to offer advisories even though our current state is so dry. Although instability issues may not be at the forefront of your mind now, it’s going to snow again, and it’s always good to keep familiar with the current happenings of our snowpack. No one will clue you in and keep you sharp as well as SAC. I agree that what we’re dealing with right now is unfortunate, but as the photos in this piece speak to, there is fun to be had out there if you’re willing to deal with minimal diversity of terrain selection, sparse coverage, and greater effort in terms of access to good turns.
If you’re not willing to adventure out for turns you have two prime options. One is to practice patience for the snow, and get out on one of the number of other adventures folks in our outdoor community have been tapping into as a result of the poor snowfall. There’s quality ice climbing to be had in sheltered nooks, swell has been lighting up the coast over the past couple of weeks, and mountain bikers have been fired up on the conditions in Nevada City and the Foothill region. People are rock climbing, ice skating and generally seeking out whatever they can to distract themselves from the lack of white stuff on the ground.
The last option is to get out of town, asap, and make the most of the storms that are impacting the American West, Western Canada, and outside of North America. If you haven’t already noticed, a good number of locals have been heading out of town, chasing whatever storm they can. I’m in full support of doing whatever one needs to do in order to maintain a sense of stoke while we deal with these drought conditions.
We are due to get a few inches of new snow over the next couple of days, but we all know a few feet or more is what’s really needed. In the meantime, make your sacrifices, do your dances and stay sane. It’s gonna come around at some point, and the best of the best is worth waiting for, so don’t get down on the lowly snowpack and make the most of what’s out there.
“State of the Backcountry” is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. Established in 1979, Alpenglow Sports is Tahoe City’s original mountain shop. Specializing in Backcountry and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, backpacking, hiking, camping, and the mountain lifestyle apparel, Alpenglow is always psyched to offer premier user-based customer service.