Let it snow: A toast to winter here and gone
I know, I know, you’ve moved on to barbecues and bouldering, fat tires and flip flops.
So have I. Most days, anyway.
Last week at this time, I would have told you I was done snowboarding in Tahoe, too. Free time/ride priorities had changed along with my helmet.
And then the Sierra skies grew dark.
After three days of lingering squalls, last week’s storm cycle dropped nearly a foot of new snow above 9,000 feet. While the late-May blizzard was not historically astonishing, it felt odd in light of the recent weather. The last time it had snowed more than 10 inches anywhere in Tahoe was March 14.
Crunching the new snow underfoot, I couldn’t help but dwell on the winter for a bit longer.
Despite the late-season powder drought, the 2007-’08 Tahoe ski season was no slouch. No, not every craggy slope filled in with snow, but most did. And what powder days there were proved epic as the snow was billowy cold smoke. Remember those glory days in late January?
Whether you got in one day or a hundred, I hope you had a fabulous winter of local skiing and riding. I know I did. Between backcountry face shots, terrorizing terrain parks and amazing apres events like the Vans Cup and 48Straight, I found snowy fun for the last six months without fail.
Adding up the meager precipitation totals, it’s actually hard to believe that snow conditions stayed so good for so long. We had some windy days, but not too many boiler plate days. I had to sharpen my edges at least 30 percent less than last season.
The Sierra Avalanche Center and all the local resorts deserve a huge ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they put in this winter. S.A.C.’s avalanche forecasts were timely and informative as usual and the grooming quality of local resorts surprised me run after run. The terrain park staff at Boreal, Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar get an extra shout-out for building freestyle features that were once again some of the most progressive on the planet.
Though you’ll never catch me saying I’m tired of winter, I’ll admit that when I woke up to snow on my porch last Saturday I was hesitant to chase it down. It’s not as if I didn’t want to slash sweet pow turns, but would it be worth the effort? The high country looked flocked with new snow, but was there any snowpack left underneath? Wouldn’t bombing gooey bike trails be a better call on a misty gray-bird day?
It took me until Monday to get to my senses. We threw the boards in the truck and headed out to the Mount Rose backcountry.
And what did we find? We found a heavenly slice of winter, blowing snow in the air, soft wet powder in the bowls. My God did it taste good.
So go ahead, turn on the grill, accept summer. But never deny winter, no matter when it arrives. You never know when the Old Man might just stop showing up.
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