Skiing powder … living the dream | SierraSun.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Skiing powder … living the dream

Alex Close
Sierra Sun

With close to eight feet of snow falling over the Sierra last week, skiers and snowboarders have been given the best gift they could possibly ask for. Anyone who has ever floated effortlessly through a silky, untracked field of bottomless snow knows that there’s nothing like skiing powder.

From early chairs on KT-22 and Headwall at Squaw Valley to leftover stashes at Mammoth, I’ve had the pleasure of hunting fresh lines throughout the Sierra in the past week.

Not only have I had trouble wiping the grin off my powder-crusted face, but I’ve heard a variety of reactions from snow riders.

From whoops and hollers in the cattle call line as chairs began to fill on KT-22, to wide-eyed amazement and glee at the feeling of floating from weekenders at Mammoth, to yeehaaas and whistles of pure joy from folks hucking themselves off of Alpine Bowl’s various cliffs, everyone seems to get stoked in different ways over the same thing.

The reactions always provide interesting sociological observation. In my last week of skiing powder, I’ve observed three different reactions to a powder day. They are most easily separated by the ski resorts at which they were observed.

With close to eight feet of snow falling over the Sierra last week, skiers and snowboarders have been given the best gift they could possibly ask for. Anyone who has ever floated effortlessly through a silky, untracked field of bottomless snow knows that there’s nothing like skiing powder.

From early chairs on KT-22 and Headwall at Squaw Valley to leftover stashes at Mammoth, I’ve had the pleasure of hunting fresh lines throughout the Sierra in the past week.

Not only have I had trouble wiping the grin off my powder-crusted face, but I’ve heard a variety of reactions from snow riders.

From whoops and hollers in the cattle call line as chairs began to fill on KT-22, to wide-eyed amazement and glee at the feeling of floating from weekenders at Mammoth, to yeehaaas and whistles of pure joy from folks hucking themselves off of Alpine Bowl’s various cliffs, everyone seems to get stoked in different ways over the same thing.

The reactions always provide interesting sociological observation. In my last week of skiing powder, I’ve observed three different reactions to a powder day. They are most easily separated by the ski resorts at which they were observed.

Known to be an explorer’s mountain, Alpine has some awesome terrain, but a lot of it requires a trek, traverse or hike to get to. So as patrollers’ dynamite can be heard exploding in Alpine and Wolverine Bowls, and the lift line for the Summit Six chair slowly grows in anticipation, a constant line of skiers can be seen traversing over as high as they can under Estelle and into Bernie’s Bowl. While most of the open terrain gets tracked out, the powder hounds at Alpine seem to favor a trek and traverse for short, untracked lines, then wait in line for one untracked run from top to bottom. Also, it should be noted that on this same day I saw a telemark skier throw a front flip off a cliff next to Alpine Bowl Chair.

While I was forced to ski Mammoth on a weekend with just about half of the population of Los Angeles, there were still some hidden stashes of powder between trees and under cliffs or rock bands. During the blue bird Saturday, most of the southern gapers stuck to the crowded groomers and tracked out bumpy steeps. However, I heard on two separate occasions accounts of skiing powder from weekenders. Both descriptions were obviously those of folks who had just seen the light, previous virgins ” folks who had recently floated fluff for the first time. “It’s effortless, just floating … it’s like a dream,” one snowboarder told me.

In the end, it is like a dream ” when there are no tracks in front of you and it’s as if you’re the only person on the face of the earth. Alone in a field of steep, bottomless powder, not even the earth’s surface is close to you as you float on what feels like a cloud. You would swear you are dreaming until that cold, fresh fluff hammers your face on a landing and reminds you that you are living that dream, that you are in fact lucky enough to call that dream your reality.

Alex Close is the assistant editor of the Tahoe World and a sportswriter for the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at aclose@tahoe-world.com.


Support Local Journalism

 

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User