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Showing posts from January, 2020

Whether to Weather... not looking too good ahead...

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Well, lets start with where we are at which is between and 50% and 70% of normal snowpack which is why the February forecast is not good news. As you can see we are now in the red.



Daniel Swain of Weather West fame has come out with a forecast for February and let me tell you, it ain't pretty. We either get warm and dry or cool and dry or cold and dry depending on the actual position of the High Pressure Ridge setting up off the West Coast. Unless... the High pulls Westward a few hundred miles further and then inside sliders may pick up some water and bring it our way. Like all forecasts its a "best guess" but its looking pretty dry for us folks for the most part.

As you can see above... its a big fat high pressure system parked right off the coast that will move in mid next week and have a long life there after the amazingly windy storm on Sunday. Temperature drops will be in the 20 to 30 degree range from Saturday to Monday so winter will be coming back with temps fore…

Low Snow Bro...

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Although it looks as tho we will get a small shot of snow tonight... we are now officially having a fairly thin winter as winter's go. Averages vary but much of the Sierra snowpack is down twenty to thirty percent relative to average and some closer to 50% off. What can we do? Well besides your mid-season snow dance and heavy drinking (or both at once if you're feeling frisky) you can ski carefully. If you are contemplating getting into The Chutes be aware that there are rocks poking their nasty little heads up in many places and when trying a chute for the first time in awhile, ski it slowly looking for the little bastards just waiting to give you a penetrating stone grind or edge reapportionment. To those complaining about Fuse, Detonator and Charge being roped off. Trust me, you don't really want to be in there.

The good news... its just late January so we are pretty likely to still get some snow to fill things in a bit. The other good news is the rest of the mountain i…

Don't know what you got till it's gone...

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Been hearing a few complaints about their not having enough snow, or its too cloudy or too windy, or there is no safety bar on Lakeview, etc etc.Better call the Whaaaambulance.  Just wanted to refresh everybody's memory a little with this post. After two record breaking seasons sandwiching a pretty good season in between I think we are spoiled silly. Take a look at this retro photo of the Slide Bowl in January of 2014 taken about this time of year. So... looking at snow conditions then, compared to snow conditions now, we really have little to complain about people. We got snow, everything is open. Life is good.

No, we can't always ski everyday and the lifts sometimes are blown out to the top... but really, we got it pretty good at Rose. If you don't believe me. Just a spend a day at Flatstar like I did recently for my daughter's race. You'll wish you were back at Rose from the Flatstar Parking Debacle through the long hike through the overpriced village to the bil…

Motorized Access and Avalanche Risk: A Perspective

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With the recent death of an Alpine Meadows skier in a slide and the serious injuries to another skier with a broken femur and more, the spotlight has returned to Avalanche Awareness (as it always does). Although our proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes for a maritime snowpack (and relatively safer conditions than other continental climes) we still are exposed to snow slides in the Sierra's that can be large and destructive. Us older skiers and riders still remember the slide at Alpine in the early 80's that took out facilities there and left 7 people dead and others wounded. Avalanches can and will continue to happen in the Sierra just not necessarily as regularly in the Rockies and other continental based mountain ranges.

With that in mind I believe it is easy to be lulled into complacency thinking that you'll be OK in the Sierra. Others think you'll be safe just because you are at a ski area that practices avalanche mitigation. Unfortunately all the mitigation effort…

MLK at Rose Receives High Marks!

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Halfway through the MLK holiday and I can say it is one of the best Mt. Rose has ever hosted. With many passes blocked out skiing was relatively painless with manageable lift line waits and excellent snow conditions. From Friday morning on skiing has been revived and renewed that only new cold snow can bring. The Slide side Carpool parking has also worked out well resulting in more parking spaces and the conviviality of riding with others up to the mountain. All skiing on all runs are running good to excellent with all lifts operating.

And not only are they operating, but operating quickly. Both high speeds have been cranked up to 1000 fpm (feet per minute) which makes for a fast ride and lots of skiing. With lift speed this fast the wait at Zephyr is almost non-existent which makes holiday skiing actually enjoyable. Everyone was happy to see Zephyr Run groomed this weekend and an early 8:00 am start time on the slide side. Patrol has been out in force keeping things a little safer an…

Avalanche Takes One

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Some of the best skiing of the year occurred today at Rose with mindblowingly great pow. The crowds did show tho so the freshies lasted just a little while... but boy were they sweet as you can see from the photo. The snow was so high quality that even the skied in stuff was excellent. Light, light light was the theme of the day. Hope you got out and got some while it was fresh.

Unfortunately there was a fatality at Alpine Meadows and another seriously injured from an avalanche this morning. They more than doubled our snow totals over here on the East side so things were moving. I'm sure the media circus will cover it tonight with all the details as helicopters we're coming from as far away as the Bay Area to cover it. You can can have a 8 car pile up with several dead and dismembered and not even make the news but one slide with a fatality and it goes national. Really really strange don't you think? We live and ski in these mountains and occasionally the snow moves, thats…

Chutes Reopen

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According to our Top Shelf (as in Tequila) Cub Reporter Erich, The Chutes reopened today and are rated as a solid "Interesting" which is what you are supposed to say when you are served a meal at a parents friends house and the food is disgusting in every way but you manage to choke it down. Although there is a lot of latitude in the phrase of course. Some folks consider The Chutes a mirror and you'll come out describing what you went in with in terms of your expectations, emotional state etc. I tend to be little bit less philosophical that that however... "interesting" works for me as well. Be careful where you go as you will find marginal conditions in places (Read: Dust on Crust). The rest of the mountain on-piste is skiing well in the morning with the exception of Upper Ramseys which has some gravel in spots.

Off-piste skiing remains "interesting" until we get enough snow to cover up the rain crust. According to our friends over at: www.tahoeweath…

Sometimes you get it... sometimes you don't

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Despite all the computer modeling in the world. Ma Nature is gunna do what she is gunna do. We all enjoyed great early season snow and thankfully cold temps which preserved it but that all came to an end on New Years Day with high humidity and rain on the mountain turning that powder into something quite different. Although we are expecting a few inches this week it won't change things that much off-piste. On piste will improve with just a few inches most likely. The Chutes have been closed as a result thankfully as they would be tobogganing people out of there were they open. In one patrollers words "heinous" would be the descriptor to describe some aspects in the chutes right now. "Inconsistent" might be another. Skiing similar BC lately I would agree. Groomers are of course still good in the mornings. With this latest lack of snow we are sitting about average for snow depth for this time of year, however we are only at 73% of normal water content due to the …

The Best Pow Comes to an Abrupt End

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Well the pow lasted weeks and weeks this holiday and it was almost like skiing in the Rockies but alas... all good things must come to an end. And so it did on New Years Day with the dripping starting outside my window at 7640 feet at 6:30 am. It rained and blew snot most of the morning and the result was what we have now. Good old Sierra Cement that is hard in the mornings and in the shadows and maybe just soft enough to ski as the sun warms it if you happen to be in a sunny location. Despite the snows demise I do celebrate the uncrowded conditions at Mt. Rose along with the amazingly great snow we did enjoy in order to make it a holiday to remember!

The rain also tamped the snow down a bit so you'll see rocks in the chutes and elsewhere that were not there a week ago. Ski with caution as things have changed at the whims of Ma Nature. We will see a few weak impulses of moisture come through the next ten days or so but nothing big on the horizon until at least a week or more. Our …

Has the ski industry priced itself out of reach?

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The 2019 Christmas Holiday was a horse of a different color. Instead of a parade of bumper to bumper cars and vans inching up the Mt. Rose Hwy in the morning we had empty roads, instead of wall to wall people filling both lodges with families sitting along the walls with their rice cookers blazing we had empty seats and tables, instead of lift lines out to the ends of the maze we were loading up on empty chairs. The shots below were taken mid-morning a couple of days after Christmas when Rose should have been slammed... but the place was empty.

So... what gives? Was it last years cold and stormy weather? That is certainly a possibility. The subzero temperatures on Christmas Day was followed by a massive storm that left some Bay Area tourists facing a most unpleasant 18 hour drive back home. Or could it be that ski areas have priced themselves out of reach of the market? There is certainly an argument to be made here as Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado broke the $200 daily lift ticket…