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This is Why We Ski

Deep powder is why we ski.

Bro standing in the powder at Northbowl trees

The deep powder, snowy weather and limited numbers of people on the mountain over the last few days epitomize why we ski. Up to now, our ski adventures this year have left me uninspired. I’ve not written anything here even though we have been up 3 or 4 times. Why? Well, because it was kind of boring – but these last few days – good god almighty! G l o r i o u s.

Some people may question the sanity of anyone who enjoys going out in the freezing cold when it’s snowing buckets.  Not only that, but then these crazy people head to the top of a mountain.  Once there they hurtle themselves down steep slopes through waist deep snow, dodging trees and navigating gullies. Now I ask you – is that the action of a sane person? There are those who would say emphatically “No!” – but those in the know say – absolutely baby – this is why we ski!

Anyway – here’s the rundown of our last couple of days.  We went to Kirkwood on Thursday, as they had gotten 17 new inches of snow overnight.   The roads were slick as it was snowing like mad, so we took it slow and pulled into our favorite parking lot near lift 7.  We headed up and at the top we crossed over to the main lodge area. There were a lot of folks heading up lift 6 so we did something different and headed up lift 11.

Sometimes we be smart boys, as we practically had the place to ourselves.  We skied knee-deep plus snow for several hours, cutting new lines everywhere we went.  It was snowing so hard it was filling in our previous tracks so we had freshies the whole time. We would have kept going, but we had to refuel, and our aging thighs were complaining (at least bros were – so I had to take pity on him and go in.  Couldn’t let him go in alone right?)

Uncut snow in the trees is why we ski.

Look at that snow – so incredibly nice!

In the lodge, we were smiling so much it was hard to eat, but we managed and then headed back out.  We went up lift 11 a time or two more, and then headed up lift 6.  We cruised out just past Sentinel and skied in the trees there, through gullies and drop offs.  The snow was even deeper over there and it was wonderful. We did that a few times and then called it a day.

Over 12 inches of snow had accumulated on the the car. We had to brush that off, make sure Carson Pass was open, and off we went.  On the way home we decided we had to go the next day, as the snow was piling up and someone had to ski it.

Friday at Heavenly

The road to Kirkwood was closed on Friday due to snow, so we went to Heavenly.  An additional 16 inches had fallen overnight so we eagerly drove to the Stagecoach parking lot.  The lot was almost full even though it was early.  What the ????- where did all these people come from?  Doesn’t anyone work around here when it snows?

While rubbing our sore thighs, we decided to apply our “go where others aren’t” tactic.  Everyone was heading to the Dipper lift, so we went to the Northbowl trees. What a great decision. Thigh and waist deep powder, bouncing over the pillows of buried logs and stumps.  My god – THIS is why we ski. You dream of these conditions every time you go up, but really only get them once every few years. To have two days in a row of them – well what can I say… it was magnificent!

The snow is still falling now – so we are going to have to go again on Monday.  Our thighs should be recovered by then – so we can handle it.  Kirkwood got an additional 24 inches last night and by Monday they are supposed to have another couple of feet. Holy moly – this is a dream come true. This is why we ski – so we’re going to have to go as much as possible while it lasts.

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First Day Skiing 2016 – Day 1

First day skiing 2016 was a great time.

Heading up Tamarack First Day skiing 2016.

Yesterday was my first day skiing in the 2016/2017 season.  I didn’t make it up for opening day, but Bro Steve did.  It’s a tradition with us to make it on opening day, but I missed it by 4 days. A man has to work sometimes, ya know. Bro Steve doesn’t have that problem, as he’s “retarded” (retired), but us working folk can’t just always head out anytime we want.  So sad.

Anyway, we headed up to Heavenly and accessed the mountain via the gondola on the California side.  This is our least favorite access point, but the only one available this early in the season. We cruised on up and got on the Tamarack lift to the top.

Heavenly had received about 9 – 12 inches of snow the night before, so the hill was covered and looking pretty good.  They only had Tamarack and Dipper lifts open, but it looked promising to get the Comet Express lift open soon. They were making snow on that terrain all day,and it was looking ripe for opening.

Pretty good coverage for the first day skiing 2016.

Heading up the Dipper Express lift.

We cruised down Orion a few times, dodging the numerous people who were partaking of the soft and easy to ski snow.  We couldn’t really let our skis run, as there were to many people around. The threat of collision kept us well below mach speed – not our preferred method of descent.

Somewhere late morning, they opened the Big Dipper run, and we got right on it. The smooth and fast surface allowed us to open up the throttles and we blasted down.  My Blizzard Cochise skis are never happy unless they are going full throttle, and they were smiling after a few laps down that run.

We met a great couple on the lift who have a project to ski the best 100 ski resorts in North America.  They told us about the blog they write where they’re documenting this adventure.  They’re over half-way through this trek of skiing these 100 resorts.  They did 8 new ones last year – which is sweet. This is a great project and we told them of some of the trips we’d taken over the years.  We’ve covered lots of common ground. Check out their blog – skinorthamerica100.com -it’s well worth your time.

The lift lines were getting longer the more we skied, but what can you expect on a weekend day – right? After a rather long wait we decided we’d had enough, so we cruised down Tamarack and caught the gondola back down to the bottom.

Great day overall for my first day skiing 2016. The new snow was a great omen for a fantastic season – which we plan to take full advantage of.

Winter’s coming my friends!

Sierra Mountain Snow - Winter's coming.

Picture of the mountains from my backyard.

Winter’s coming my friends.  Check out the snow in the mountains today.  This is the third time we’ve had snow in the mountains this year – but this snow was more then just a light dusting.  It looks like a real snow, and it’s cold in the valley as well.

It’s happening!   Better get ready – because I’ve decided it’s going to be a great season – with lots of deep snow and numerous powder days to immerse yourself in. I can hardly wait.

Winter's coming to Kirkwood-3oct16

Picture of Kirkwood base from today.

Bring it on mother nature.  WE ARE READY!!!

Heavenly’s Last Day – Day 35

Good snow for Heavenly's last day.

Heading up dipper on Heavenly’s Last Day.

Well the ski season is over. Yup, even though there is still plenty of snow in the mountains, and more on the way, yesterday was Heavenly’s last day for the season.  There are other resorts that are still open, but I seriously doubt we ‘ll be making the trip to ski them.  Too far, too much money for curtailed access to terrain does not compute in my universe – so I guess I have to gear up to go fishing. It was a great season, but it ended too soon. What happened to the staying open until the end of May? I can assure you it’s not caused by global warming, but more likely by the power of the almighty dollar (which is what drives the global warming crowd too I’d wager.  OK, enough comment on the manufactured distractions to the actual problems of the planet)

Anyway, back to Heavenly’s last day.  The only access to the mountain was via the gondola, so we got there and jumped on that.  Took a celebratory hit off Steve’s flask on the way up, and instantly regretted it.  He had filled it with a Polish whiskey I can’t spell or even pronounce and it was NASTY. I

Had to toast the mountain on Heavenly's last day.

Toasting the mountain out in Milky Way.

mean like yucky, crappy and just didn’t taste good.  Once we got over the shock, we had to take another shot just to make sure it was as bad as we thought.  Then we had to rinse out our mouths with some Peppermint Schnapps that I’d brought up, and you know, once we had drunk all that, things did not seem so bad. Hmmm… wonder why that was??

We got off the gondola and headed up Tamarack and over to Dipper.  Skied the runs they had open over there and then decided to try out Milky Way bowl.  We knew it was going to be chopped up frozen crud, but we had to go. (Pain is good – right?  It let’s you know you’re still alive.)  We got out there, toasted the mountain as is our tradition, and headed down.  It was as bad as we had known it would be, but we made it down and headed  over to the Comet lift.  We skied all that was available there and went over to the Tamarack lift to ski all that was there.  The runs there are very short, but they had a few runs open we’d never skied before. Not sure if they ever had these runs open before – and if they did – we never skied them as they are so short and not much to them.  Anyway, by then we had skied every run that was open and it was not even noon.

The views from Heavenly are fantastic.

Lake Tahoe from the gondola on the way down.

That was  it – Heavenly’s last day was over.  We had done it all and all that was left was to reminisce about the best days of the season – which there were quite a few good ones for sure.  The day it was snowing buckets at Kirkwood and we may have lost our way and ended up in some great deep powder in the Hamilton gullies.  Or the day we had some wonderful powder in the trees at Sierra – oh man that was good for sure. Or how about the unbelievable, once in a decade poo we had at Heavenly – it was glorious.  There were some very good days this season – but alas – it’s over.  Rat poop! Guess we’ll have to gear up and go catch some lunkers.  That’s always fun.  Maybe I’ll get ambitious and even put some posts on here about that – but probably not – so you’ll have to wait until next ski season to hear from me again.

Until then… here are a few more pictures from Heavenly’s last day.

 

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Kirkwoods Season Ends- Day 34

Kirkwoods Season Ends on a bright sunny day.

Last day of the year at Kirkwood.

How could it be that Kirkwoods Season Ends on April 17th?  It just isn’t right.  There’s a lot of snow there to be skied, and it was actually very sweet all over the mountain today – but alas – Kirkwood mountain closes today.

I had to be there, and Bro would have been with me I am sure, but he’s roughing it in Hawaii.  So sad – as I’m sure he would have loved the soft stuff in Eagle Bowl and out in Sentinel and Palisades Bowls.  I had to toast the mountain by myself, as is our tradition each year on closing day.  Went to some good spots in these two bowls, took a couple shots of Peppermint Schnapps in each place (one for me and one for Bro) and left a shot for the mountain in each area as well.  Got to keep those snow gods happy ya know.  They did us right this year for sure, so we don’t want to anger them – and besides – we know they like Peppermint schnapps – so I gave them some to thank them for the great season.  They was happy (just ask me – I know).

Always have to ski this when Kirkwoods Season Ends.

Looking down Eagle bowl. So nice.

Anyway, Kirkwood only had 5 lifts open today – 1, 5, 6, 10, and 11.  I did them all several times (except 1 – which I only did once – I mean, come on – that was enough)  The snow had been groomed on the main runs and was loose corn snow – fast and easy to ski.  They even groomed the Wall and I swear the majority of people on the hill were on the Wall.  I have never seen so many skiers on the Wall at one time – but it was sweet let me tell you – so I know why they were there.

I dropped into Eagle Bowl about 10:15 am and it was soft and nice.  Had to do that a few times just to make sure I wasn’t imagining how nice it was.  Went down Zachery off of Lift 6 and did Sentinel and Monty Wolf off that lift too.  All were soft and nice.  I even went over to Wagon Wheel and dropped down into the Drain and loved it.

Beautiful place to be as Kirkwoods Season Ends.

Standing at the top in Palisades Bowl.

Then I headed up lift 6 and went out to Palisades bowl for the final tribute to the season (another couple shots of schnapps).  I had been skiing with a good skier named Daniel for the last few runs, so we shared some schnapps and then headed down.  It was soft and nice, but we had to cut back over early, as lift 7 was not running and we had to make it back to lift 6.  We did that and then I called it a day – having skied everything there was to offer several times – and the snow was starting to get sticky in a number of places. The ole wet-snow-whiplash syndrome is not my favorite thing to experience.

It was s great season at Kirkwood this year.  They got over 450 inches of snow and we had some memorable powder days – but no matter how many we get – it just isn’t enough.

Heavenly closes next Sunday – 24 Apr – so I’ll have to get up there for that closing too.  I heard from someone on the lift today that Alpine and Squaw plan to stay open until the end of May – or at least they’re going to try to do that – so maybe there is still some season left ahead. Hmmm… it sort of makes you go hmmm…

Here are a few more pictures from today – sad that Kirkwoods Season Ends so early.

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Family Ski Week – Days 30-33

Just wrapped up a family ski week and it was a blast.  Well, it really wasn’t a full week, but ole bro and I did 5 days in a row and by the end it we felt like it was at least a week – maybe a month. Yesterday was the last day and on one run in the crud, them tired ole thighs were so thrashed they refused to respond. What’s with that? In our younger days we could party all night and ski all day for a whole week, and never have this trouble. (at least that’s what we tell ourselves – and we’re sticking to our story – true or not)

The week started on Sunday 20 March at Kirkwood, skiing with Charlee.  That story is covered in the previous post to this and you can check it out here.

Family Ski week is always lots of fun.

We are heading up at Sierra at Tahoe.

Skiing Heavenly
Monday, 21 March, we hooked up with sister Sue and skied at Heavenly. We got there a bit after nine and went in the lodge for a bit for coffee, as the wind was blowing and it was nasty out. We got fortified and then went out and did one run.  Sue was not on her game, having driven 10 hours the day before, so we put her in the  lodge and Bro and I went back out.  Later on, they took the upper mountain lifts off wind hold, so we did some runs there and found Milky Way trees to be pretty good stuff – soft snow and easy to ski.  We did that a few times and tried some other places, but nothing was really very good.  We had lunch and went back out for some more.  They finally opened Mott Canyon and in Mott we found some very soft, very ski-able snow, so we did that a few times just to make sure we liked it (which we did) – and then we called it quits for the day. Didn’t get any pictures of this day as I forgot my camera – ah the brain slippage syndrome (BSS) strikes again.

Skiing Sierra at Tahoe

Wonderful powder found during family ski week.

The trees are very ski-able for sure.

Tuesday, 22 March, we woke up to a nice surprise of 16 inches of new snow at the resort we were going to – Sierra at Tahoe.  I had never skied there before, but Bro had told me they had some great tree skiing, so we were excited about getting into those trees with new snow.  We were not disappointed. We arrived, and after negotiating the very slow ticket line, we got onto the mountain.  Sue cruised down groomers and Steve and I headed into the trees. We dropped into the stuff through the Huckleberry Canyon gates and man was it gooooood. The snow was deep and pretty light. The trees themselves were spaced just right. Dodging limbs with all our might. Poofy pillows, we screamed delight! (breaking into poetic mode it was so good)

It was good.  I mean really good.  We found some awesome powder and some great terrain.  Had to hike a time or two to get out, but it was worth it for sure.  We had worked up a hunger, so we headed into lunch at the 360′ Smokehouse BBQ. We had some great sandwiches and soup there.  Really good stuff and we were re-vitalized so we headed back out.

We skied over the rest of the mountain to check out other runs.  We found a few other powder stashes here and there, but the really good stuff was gone.  We had done it all, so we headed out knowing that we had several more days of the Family ski week ahead of us.

Kirkwood is a great family ski week location.

Here we all are on our first run up.

Kirkwood
Wednesday, 23 March, we met up with Clare at Timbercreek Lodge at Kirkwood.  We headed up lift 7 and cut across to get to lift 11 and then on to the backside. The sun was shining and it was warm, so we knew the backside would be sweet – and sweet it was.  They had groomed a few runs, so we did those and a high rate of speed.  Bro and I headed out to Fawn ridge while Sue and Clare stayed on the groomers.  We were hoping to find some secret stashes of powder and we did find a little bit, but not much to speak of.  Those powder hounds at Kirkwood know almost all of our secret stashes (but not all – as you’ll find out later).  About this time were parched, so we soaked up some liquid and some sun at the little grill on the backside.  Man, working hard for sure.

The sun was warm and the company was great.

Hard at work on the backside chairs.

We headed back up and Bro and I cut over to ski down some of our favorite faces under the Hamilton Crag (which is an old knarled tree near the top of a ridge) We like it and we visit it several times a year – so we named it. It’s ours.  It was really good to see that it was almost buried in snow this year. (not like other times that you can see in an earlier post here)  The sun had softened the snow up so nice, that we had to do it again – which we did and loved it all the way down.

We headed into The 7800′ for lunch and had a plate of their super nachos, with a bunch of stuff on them.  They were big enough to satisfy all four of us, so we gobbled them down and headed up and got over to lift 6. We did Zachery and Sentinel a time or two, and the snow surface was great.  Fast and it held an edge so well, you could fly down and really lean into your turns.  Lots of fun!

Last run, Bro and I decided to head out to Palisades Bowl to see if there was any pow left in our secret gullies – Hamilton 1,2 and 3. We traversed across, keeping a good high line and got to Hamilton 2. We dropped in, staying to the shady side of the gully, and the powder was the stuff we dream about. We dropped down to the bottom of the gully and then back up the shady side, almost becoming weightless when we turned at the top to drop down again. It was euphoric, wondruss, beautific, and just damn fun.  We loved it.

Check out them smiling Family ski week faces.

Top of Sugarbowl lift Mt. Lincoln.

We were done, so we met up with the sisters at the Timbercreek lodge area and headed home.  Only one more day of the Family ski week left, and that was going to be at a resort I had not been to for over 27 years.

Sugarbowl Ski Resort
Thursday, 24 Mar, we headed up to Sugarbowl ski resort.  I last skied this resort in 1979 and they have added a new parking lot, lodge and lift since I was last there.  Last time I was there, the only way to access the mountain was via a Gondola from the parking lot, which was always interesting.  They still have this access, but have put in a much easier access point where you can walk to the newer lodge.  So much better.

We started at one side of the bowl and skied up and down every lift to get all the way to the other side of the bowl.  This is a huge, wide open bowl, with some very challenging terrain available in bounds.  It looks great, and after a big dump, would be absolutely incredible to ski – as you could drop in most anywhere. There are also a whole passel of gates to get into back country areas that make this place a virtual paradise of pow IF you could hit it just right. That’s the rub eh? – hitting a great resort at the right time to get the deep untouched pow. We did not have that this day, as the snow had been cut up and the sun had blazed on it for several days since that last snow – but we could sure see the potential at this resort.

Check out the Sugarbowl resort behind him.

Bro about to drop into Nancy’s Couloir.

We had fun, but there were some disappointments at the resort.  The cafe we went into at lunch had the hot food line and bar closed. Huh? What’s with that?  The new lift they put in to access some previous hike-to-only terrain is a fixed cable triple.  Huh? All the rest of the lifts at the resort are Quads, and most of them high speed at that.  Why put in a fixed cable triple when there are so many other great lift options available these days? Don’t get it.

Anyway, we skied from one side of the bowl to the other and then back to the other side.  Somewhere in there, Bro and I decided to try some of the soft stuff off the groomed runs. We dropped into Nancy’s Couloir off the Mt. Disney lift, and then we were slapped with the rude reality that we’re not the studs of yore. The ole thighs felt like dead meat and did not want to handle the soft, chopped, moguled snow. It was a battle all the way down, but we made it.  We realized that it was good we were on our last day of the family ski week, as we probably couldn’t do another day and come back alive. Fricken wimps we is – but we be happy wimps!

We met up with the sisters and ended off for the day and for the week.  We said our goodbyes in the parking lot, as the sisters were headed a different direction to get home then us.  It’s so great having a family ski week to ski together like we used to when we were growing up, but it’s sad when it comes to an end. Had a great time fam – thanks.  We’re going to have to do this again, but not soon, as my legs need a rest.  Love ya!

Here are some more pictures from our Family Ski week for you to enjoy.

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Sierra Nevada Skiing – Days 28 and 29

Sierra Nevada skiing is always different and fun.

Looks good – right? It wasn’t!

I am a bit behind on my reporting here, so I thought I’d better catch up.  Have done some Sierra Nevada skiing lately, but it has not really inspired me to make my usual rapid and witty reports. There is currently plenty of snow on the hills, but it is not light or fluffy.  It is heavy and wet, as the temperature has been above freezing for most of the last week. It hasn’t really been that sunny when we’ve been skiing – so it has lacked the pizzazz of real spring skiing – when it’s super warm and the sun is blazing and people are skiing half naked (sometimes a good thing – sometimes not).

Anyway, enough preamble – here’s the report.  Bro and I did a little Sierra Nevada skiing at Northstar on Monday 14 Mar.  They said on their website that they’d received 18 inches of new snow – so we buzzed up expecting some sweet stuff. It was not to be had.  They did get some snow – maybe 7 – 10 inches – but it was very heavy and windblown with a thick crust on top.  We tried all of Bro’s super secret, “no one in the world knows about” powder hidey-holes to no avail.  They were all the same –

Lots of varied conditions while Sierra Nevada skiing.

Check out that spacing – NICE eh?

super crusty crud that you hoped to stay on the top of – because if you cracked through it – you were in a world of hurt, scrambling for your life to keep from whacking a tree as the snow dragged your skis every which way but straight. We covered all of the mountain, even cutting across at least 3 (maybe 4) terrain parks to access other places – but we were left wanting.  No powder to be had – so sad.

It was sad as the trees at Northstar are really spaced well, and if there was some light and fluffy, they would be so fun to ski. Instead we fought the crud, dodged the snow boarders and called it a day.

Today, Sunday 20 Mar, we did a little more Sierra Nevada skiing at Kirkwood.  Bro and I headed up early and did some skiing off of Lift 6.  Around 10:15 am we met up with Charlee at Timber Creek to take her up for her 3rd day of skiing ever.  We jumped right on Lift 7 and she cooked down the first run – like she had been doing this her whole life. Sweet!

We had a great day on the slopes.

Bro, Charlee and I heading up for our first run

We cruised up and down a number of times and she did great. We headed down the Ditch of Doom, where she had a wild spinning crash that somehow ended up with both her poles pinned under her body with her skis splayed out at odd angles.  She was completely unable to move, so we had to extricate her from her predicament. She wasn’t hurt at all and was ready to roll again – so we headed out.  After that we re-named this run “The Ditch of Charlee’s Doom” (I don’t think she liked that name though)

Later we skied down a run called the Trench of Terror, which had a lot of bumps and turns and was quite fun to ski. She blazed down that a number of times, but she wouldn’t do the required scream of terror.  I mean we were in the trench of terror – there should be some screams – right? She wouldn’t do it, so Bro did it instead (he said he was just doing it for fun, but I think he might have actually been in terror.  You know how he is)

Another great day enjoying Sierra Nevada skiing.

Charlee, with Bro behind, in the Tench of Terror

The weather was warm, but the wind was picking up and the snow was getting sticky (like it does when it’s melting) – so we called it a day. We had a good time but we’d had enough for today. Besides, this is the first day of a whole week of skiing for Bro and I.  We have our sister Sue (see her in our Europe skiing reports here) coming for 4 days, and we are going to have our other sister Clare coming mid week for a few days of skiing too. It’s going to be sweet!

Here are a few more pictures of our Sierra Nevada skiing adventures for you to enjoy.

 

 

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Heavenly Poo – Day 27

The heavenly poo was awaiting our descent.

Heading up Stagecoach, into the storm.

Every powder skier dreams of days where they get into heavenly poo. This is defined as finding 2-3 feet of untouched powder they have all to themselves and they get multiple face shots of sweet tasting powder as cruise down it, relishing the sensation. This is why powder skiers face sometimes harsh elements and ski. They want this to happen every time they go to the slopes, but in reality, it happens maybe once or twice a decade – so you have to grab it fast as the pure joy of it is gone way too soon.  The day goes on, other pilgrims find your stash and the heavenly poo turns to chopped up crud. Bummer!  I’m not just waxing literary here, as this once-in-a-decade phenomena happened to bro and I yesterday at Heavenly – and it was glorious.  Here’s how it went down.

We knew a storm was coming to the mountains, but is was reported to be bringing only about 7-10 inches of snow.  We were planning to go skiing anyway, but we were very pleasantly surprised to wake up in the morning to an email from Heavenly saying they had gotten 24″ of new snow. Oh baby – this is

Heavenly poo was awaiting our descent.

New snow and storming – the best time to ski.

it.  We got ready and headed up, arriving at Stagecoach before 9am, despite the slippery, snow covered roads. We luckily got one of the last places in the lower parking lot, as there were about a gazillion pilgrims already standing in line waiting for the lift to open. Where the heck do all these people come from??

It was very windy and snowing heavily, so we waited for about an hour in the lodge for the lift to open.  Once it did, we cruised out, got on the lift and headed up.   We went all the way to the top using the Dipper lift and headed over towards Dipper Knob to get into the poo.  It was about 18″ deep there and nice so we did that run a few times.  We wanted someone else to cut the path out of the Milky way run back to the lift before we dropped into there. (cutting paths in deep powder to get back to the lift is not one of our favorite activities. This is better suited to those adrenaline-amped-up younger types) Anywho – we did finally get out to Milky way, and it was very sweet – 24 inches of powder with a lot of untouched terrain to make our own. God it was good.

Burying a tip is alway a disaster in deep powder.

Bro eating some heavenly poo.

Near the bottom of one of these runs down, Bro buried a tip and “took a powder”.  I got a picture, so he can’t deny it.  In fact he buried his tip a few times yesterday and ate his share of poo.  He blamed this unusual behavior on his powder skis, which he hasn’t been able to use for about 4 years. I’m not so sure I buy that excuse. I think maybe he’s just getting old.

We skied all over the mountain, finding other untouched powder and taking a few nice face shots in the deeper stuff in the trees. We were having a blast, but the best was yet to come.  We wanted to get into the North Bowl trees, but they were not running the North Bowl lift due to the wind.  We knew the powder would be deeper there, as it always is, but if we skied it, we would have to take the shuttle back to Stagecoach in order to access the mountain again.  We put if off for a while, but then the wind got so bad, we figured we’d better do it before they shut down all the upper lifts.

We took the Olympic lift up and cut across to the North Bowl trees. Holy shamolly -we had found the heavenly poo.  We followed another guy as he cut the trail to get into the trees, and it was at least 3 feet deep. We got out a ways and then we could not

Three feet of heavenly poo was awaiting us.

On the trail out to the North Bowl trees.

wait any longer – we had to go down!! This area has a lot of stumps and fallen trees, so there are many dips and mounds to ski over and it’s just a gas. Flying through over 3 feet of powder, going over dips and off mounds and getting face shot after face shot of sweet poo blasting up as you go is a sensation that just can’t be expressed in words.  You just have to do it – and we were doing it -and having a fantastic time. Sadly that run ended, and we skied down to Boulder lodge and caught the shuttle back to Stagecoach.  We grabbed a quick protein bar and some water at the lodge and headed back up – only to find out on the way up that all the upper lifts to the top had been put on wind hold.  Crap!!  We wouldn’t be able to access the North Bowl trees from the top again – as we couldn’t get high enough up the mountain. We got off the lift and cut over to get what we could from the lower part of the North Bowl trees, and though it was quite good, it didn’t measure up to the heavenly poo we had experienced the previous run.

We skied down and fought our way onto the shuttle, literally getting the last spots on board.  We had to stand all the way to Stagecoach lodge, where we got off and called it a day. Only the Stagecoach lift was running, as the others were on wind hold, and all the gazillions of people were there skiing that one lift.  Not our idea of fun – so we headed home.

What a day – one you get only rarely.  Here’s a final picture of Bro cutting up the Heavenly poo – Soooo Nice!!

The Heavenly poo was fantastic yesterday.

Bro cutting up the good stuff in the North Bowl Trees.

 

Sunny Kirkwood – Days 25 and 26

Sking sunny Kirkwood is always fun.

Bro Steve, Sis Clare and me heading up.

Skied sunny Kirkwood two times over the last few days. It was sunny and warm and very spring-like in terms of snow conditions – hard in the morning but softening up by the afternoon.  Lots of fun to ski once the snow softens up, as it holds an edge and you can just cook right through it.

Friday 12 Feb, Bro and I headed up to sunny Kirkwood, and we met our sister Clare there in the Timbercreek lodge parking lot.  We finagled things a bit to get her the last parking space, maybe accidentally-like moving a couple of parking cones to get her in.  (No one saw us do it – so I’m not sure it really happened)

We traversed across the hill from lift 7 and went straight to the backside – where the sun was shining bright. We cooked down the groomers there for quite some time, and then took a much needed refreshment break – soaking in the sunshine.

Soft snow at sunny Kirkwood in the bowls.

Bro and I at the top of Palisades bowl.

After our break Bro and I tried a few runs off the main drag, but it was still pretty hard and bumpy going – so we called that off and went to our favorite lunch stop – The 7800′.  We talked to Arfell for a bit, but she was all tied up in some deep paper work – such is the life of a business owner. We drank some great Nut Brown Ale and we all ate on the monster stack of nachos that they serve up there. Nice!  Once we were fully fortified, we headed up lift 6 to take on Zachery and Sentinel.  We cruised those, and then Clare was done and she headed out for home (she had a 3 hour drive, so we certainly understood her taking off)

Bro and I headed back up and ended up out in Palisades bowl, where the sun had softened up the snow nicely. It was quite sweet cooking down the ridge line there and on in to the Timbercreek area at the bottom. We’d had our fill, so called it quits as well and headed home.

Charlee is learning to ski very fast.

Charlee and I on our way up the hill.

On Feb 14, I headed back up to sunny Kirkwood with family to ski with Charlee Stoll, my buddy who Bro and I started to teach to ski about 1 month ago. (check that trip out here)  She was up for her second time skiing and I was set to show her more of the tricks of the trade.

We skied Lift 9 for some time, going down each of the runs, and she was getting more and more confident with each run.  We found a fun little gully to go shooting down, but it was  hard to get into and Charlee crashed a time or two before we found the best way to access it.  We skied this several times, with Cahrlle getting better and better, and then she was ready take on the next bigger hill.

We had a lot of fun skiing this run.

Charlee’s favorite run so far on lift 7.

We headed up lift 7 and cruised down, finding another great gully to ski.  This gully is call the “Ditch of Doom” and we skied it a number of times.  It is curvy and bumpy – and just a lot of fun to ski. You can go fast and it tosses you around, but if you are “on it”, you get through just fine – which Charlee did every time – not falling even once. Sweet!

We had a great day skiing sunny Kirkwood but were ready to head out at the end of the day, having worn our behinds out – but we had smiles on our faces for sure.

Here are a few more pictures of our adventures over the last two ski trips.

 

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Skiing Mt Rose – Day 24

Great views from up on top while skiing Mt Rose.

You can see Lake Tahoe in the distance.

Skiing Mt Rose is always a good distraction from the usual slopes that we ski around here.  Bro had 2 free tickets – so of course we had to go.  In the infamous words of good buddy Steve Kenney, “If it’s free – it’s for me!” – so we absolutely had to take advantage of this – and besides, Mt Rose has some interesting terrain and is fun to ski.  The mountain soars above the city of Reno, and you can see Lake Tahoe in the distance from either side of the mountain once you are on top. Pretty cool views.

We got there and accessed the mountain from the Winter Creek lodge, taking the Blazing Zephyr 6 pack lift to the top. This lift accesses a wide bowl called Slide bowl.  The snow was old, but soft and easy to ski for the most part. We skied from one side of this bowl to the other, getting a little chopped up powder in the trees, but mostly skiing on loosely packed, well groomed snow. Once we had done Slide bowl we headed over to the Main Lodge area lifts. We cooked down almost all the runs there, keeping the speed just below snow melt, and having worked up an appetite, we decided it was time for lunch.

Skiing Mt Rose has some great views.

Looking down into the valley from on top.

We headed back to the Winter Creek lodge, as they have the best food and beer in that lodge.  While I was chewing down my usual hot dog covered with onions and jalapenos, I was looking around the room.  I noticed a large number of older folks sitting and walking around the lodge. I thought this was interesting and I commented on this to Bro (kinda-maybe-sorta giving him the eye when I said it).  He sorta snapped “What are you saying?” as if I was talking about him. Now you know me – I just wouldn’t do that – right? Come on – I always treat him with the greatest of respect and almost never disparage him (I am his brother though, so I am required to give him a jab or two when I talk about him – right?.  I have to keep the faith here) He huffed and puffed and I had to skillfully smooth his feathers a bit, and then we headed back out for more skiing.

Steep and challenging skiing Mt Rose.

Bro heading into one of the Chutes.

One of the things you have to do when you’re skiing Mt Rose is you have to ski “The Chutes.”  These are black diamond and double black diamond runs that are accessed via gates, and they are not always open. They were open the day we were there, so we had to do them, even though there has not been any recent snow. The first chute we went down had some chopped up powder and it took some quick wits not to eat it for an after lunch snack.  It tossed you around and kept you off balance, but was quite fun to ski.  Later we did another chute that had man-eating sized moguls, when  combined with the steep terrain made for an interesting run.

After a few more runs, going back and forth over the mountain, we decided we’d had enough of skiing Mt Rose for the day and we called it quits. Below you will find a few more pictures of our day.

 

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