Pump up the base!
There has been no rest for the wicked and powder afflicted the last week.
Nothing like a few zombie days of ride, shovel, ride, shovel, ride, shovel to break in the new year, eh?
How are those legs feeling right about now? Can you feel your quads burn sitting on the couch? Sweet pain …
Winter 2008 came alive with this crucial storm. As the four amazing storm systems pummeled the Tahoe Basin, we were delivered something we barely had all last season ” a base.
Storm totals at Sierra resorts were impressive ” 84 inches at Squaw, 88 inches at Sugar Bowl, about 90 inches at Mammoth and an unbelievable 146 inches at Kirkwood!
If the storm hadn’t brought rain on Friday morning, we would have had an untold amount …
But let’s not dwell on the numbers game; it’s not about inches, its about coverage.
We got it!
While not every steep face or cliff drop is ready to huck, pretty much the entire Sierra went from reefy to ready to ride. The season is on, from the lifts to any wild summit you can gain.
During the storm the backcountry avalanche hazard remained high as the huge volume of new snow and high winds were obvious red flags. Now that the snow has had a few days to settle, however, slope stability is looking great.
The Sierra Avalanche Center’s Wednesday avalanche forecast for above treeline in North Tahoe was rated as Moderate ” natural avalanches unlikely, human-triggered avalanches possible.
SAC Avalanche Forecaster Brandon Schwartz posted the following reported today: “Good snowpack stability was observed within the deeper snowpack below the recent storm snow … but … backcountry travelers should not be surprised by human-triggered avalanches in steep wind loaded areas near and above treeline on N-NE-E aspects.”
Rejoice! After more than seven feet of snow in one weekend, those are definitely words we like to hear.
With more unsettled weather on its way, it’s undoubtable that the avalanche forecast will change. But recent observations bode well for the future of the season.
Our traditionally deep and solid snowpack arrived right on cue. If you have the right skills, knowledge and experience, I can’t help but recommend getting out there and exploring. It’s a whole new winter world after this storm.
Seth Lightcap is a photographer and sportswriter at the Sierra Sun. He may be reached at email@example.com.
For daily avalanche forecast updates, visit http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org.
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