Ski Tripper

For all that’s going on at Lake Tahoe

Powder Day at Sierra-at-Tahoe

Fresh snow arrived at Lake Tahoe last weekend, and I got in on the action at Sierra-at-Tahoe, where more than 16 inches fell on Saturday and Sunday.

Sugar n' Spice at Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sugar n' Spice at Sierra-at-Tahoe

I found plenty of blue runs in the West Bowl. Warming up, we ventured down Upper and Lower Powderhorn. Beware, there’s a long flat section; the views are said to be spectacular from Powderhorn, but the sky was gray due to the snow showering the slopes–not that I’m complaining! I overheard some skiers saying there is such a thing as “too much powder.” Do you disagree or agree? All I know is that the fresh stuff was super sticky, and either my skis were due for a waxing or I needed stronger arms for poling.

Then we  rode up the Grandview Express lift to Castle, a fun black run with two steep sections that were much less daunting when covered in powder. Although slower, the two-person lift, Tahoe King, required no wait, so we boarded that for Sugar n’ Spice (a green run that extends down the length of the mountain) to Hemlock (a short blue) to Lower Main (a wide run with a steep pitch). We attempted to venture to the back side where there are beginner and mellow intermediate runs, but the lifts were closed.

Although Sierra is known as an “intermediate” mountain, it offers expert terrain–you just have to know where to look. The tree runs alongside Castle and Preacher’s Passion are said to be a blast on a powder day. Avalanche Bowl contains some steep chutes and cliffs, and the resort has five gates that open up to the backcountry with access to perhaps some of the steepest terrain at Tahoe. To find the gates simply head up the Grandview Express and stay to the left. Another little-known secret is a snow and rock cave, which someone told us about on the lift. It’s near the El Dorado lift and used, well, as a 420 sanctuary.

Sierra is easily accessible from Sacramento and its suburbs. I took the Bay Area Ski Bus. I was glad I did, as chains were required, and it’s nice having someone else do the work. Plus, after a full day of skiing powder, my knees were aching and I was beat. I gladly slept on the bus ride home and dreamt of…more skiing.

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January 27, 2009 - Posted by | Trip Reports | , , , , , ,

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