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Posts Tagged ‘backcountry skiing’

Now’s The Time To Speak Up About Lake Tahoe Forests

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Snowlands Network, an advocacy group representing “those who venture into the winter backcountry in search of peace and solitude,” recently contact Tahoe Mountain Sports about a revised land management plan the Forest Service is currently drafting for Lake Tahoe. They wanted to let us know that if we want to have any input in this plan — if we want to let the Forest Service know what is important to us about the mountains and woods in our backyard — that now is the time. They are taking comments on this plan, which will influence decisions and land use for the next 15 to 20 years, until Aug. 29.

Here’s what Bob Rowen, vice president for advocacy at Snowlands Network, had to say:

What are your favorite activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin? Would you like the Forest Service to  give more attention to certain issues? Well, now is your time to speak up because they are listening. The Forest Service is revising its management plan for lands in the Lake Tahoe basin. They have circulated a draft revised plan and are taking comments on the draft plan through August 29. This revised land management plan will provide overall direction for management of the forest for the next 15 to 20 years. So it is very important that you speak up now!
You can access and review the draft plan on the Forest Service website. However, you do not need to read the plan to make your voice heard. Simply tell the Forest Service what activities you enjoy in the Tahoe Basin and what activities you would like to see the Forest Service support.

This is OUR forest and OUR government agency.  We urge you to take ownership of the issues by participating in this process.
One issue of concern to the Snowlands Network is the failure of the draft plan to address motorized recreation in winter. Snowmobiles are exempt from most prohibitions against motorized travel and the Forest Service does not propose to change this in the revised plan. Snowmobile use has effectively foreclosed skiers and those on snowshoes from enjoying certain areas of the Basin and this trend continues with more areas at risk of being taken over by snowmobiles. We are asking the Forest Service to include winter motorized travel management in the draft plan and hope you will too.

Other issues of concern include whether the Forest Service will propose (and then manage) additional lands as Wilderness. (Actual Wilderness designation must come from Congress.)  A group of environmental organizations are pressing for more Wilderness designation and have sought to define new Wilderness areas so as to NOT impact existing mountain bike trails — something the Forest Service failed to do in its own “alternatives”.  You might also comment on whether you support additional Wilderness, in particular Wilderness with boundaries drawn that are consistent with existing mountain bike trails.
Comments to the Forest Service may be emailed to:
comments-pacificsouthwest-ltbmu@fs.fed.us

Include “Draft Land Management Plan” in the subject line of your email.
Comments may also be mailed to:
Draft Land Management Plan, 
LTBMU, 
35 College Drive
, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Please note: Comments on the draft plan should address overall management direction for the Lake Tahoe lands, rather than particular complaints about specific facilities.

 

Summer Skiing at Mt. Shasta

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

For this Adventure of the Week, Truckee resident and skier Mike Vaughan writes about an early-summer tradition to summit and ski Mt. Shasta. While the rest of the state is baking in June sunshine, Mt. Shasta still holds perfect corn for thousands of vertical feet.

Who: Aaron Breitbard, John Riina, Mike Vaughan

What: Climbing, summiting, and skiing the Hotlum-Wintun Route from the Brewer Creek Trailhead.

Where: East side of Mt. Shasta.

When: Sunday June 16

Gear: backcountry ski gear, ice axe, crampons

First rays of morning sun hit the east side of Mt. Shasta

For the past four years, I have been prying myself away from the great early-summer mountain biking around Truckee and North Tahoe to make an annual pilgrimage north for one last ski. The east side of mount Shasta provides a sustained corn run of close to 7,000 vertical feet. Alright, it’s generally not perfect corn the whole way — but when timed well, it’s an awesome ski considering it’s summertime in California.
The road to Brewer Creek Trailhead is not plowed and generally melts out sometime in June or July. Last year, I couldn’t quite drive to the trailhead when I skied it on July 30. This year we drove straight up to the trailhead on Saturday night, June 16th.
The forecast low on Saturday night was 39 degrees at 12,500 feet, and the forecast high in Redding for Sunday was 104. An early start was definitely in order. Many people choose to take two days, but we opted for the 24-hour turnaround. Camped at the trailhead Saturday night, making coffee by 3:30 am, and hiking shortly after  4:30. Just after 5 am we were on snow skinning.
One great thing about the east side of Shasta, as opposed to the more popular Bunny Flat Trailhead on the southwest side, is the fact that you can see the summit shortly after starting your hike and you get to watch an amazing sunrise. (If you miss the sunrise, you must hike really fast and can afford a late start.)

Skinning up at sunrise

Pat Harwood hiking up the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge, 2009

Snow was soft, due to the non-freezing temps overnight and we were able to skin to about 12,000 feet. From there it’s skis off, crampons on, and ideally ice axe in hand. We summited (14,179 feet) shortly after 10 am. We were met there by a steady stream of people hiking up Avalanche Gulch from Bunny Flat and Lake Helen. On a busy Sunday, 100 people might summit from the southwest side of the mountain, many with guides, and most without skis or boards. There were about 20 people climbing the east side of the mountain, all with skis or boards.

 

After some time hanging out on the summit we dropped in around 11 am. When skiing the east side, you can literally put your skis on 15 feet below the summit and drop in to the true east face above the Wintun Glacier. It’s about 45-degrees at the top, and remains relatively steep for 3,000 to 4,000 vert. The snow on this whole pitch was perfect corn. Then we traversed left to the lower portion of the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge we hiked up earlier. More good skiing, followed by some very sticky skiing, dirt skiing, and ultimately some dirt walking. Beers at the car shortly after noon.

Pat Harwood shredding down the Wintun Glacier, past a group of jealous hikers, 2009.

In the years I have been skiing this route I have encountered boiler-plate re-frozen snow, all-time corn, painfully sticky snow, a little pow, and large sun cups. All in all though, the east side of Mt. Shasta has never failed to produce an awesome day of skiing to wrap up the season.

 

The east side of Mt. Shasta, from the road to Brewer Creek, June 2009

Black Diamond Neve Pro Crampons
Black Diamond Neve Pro Crampons
MSRP: $159.95
Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon
Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon
MSRP: $449.95

Tioga Pass Opening Weekend – April 2012

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This Adventure of the Week comes from TMS owner, Dave, who ventured down to the Eastern Sierra to salvage this crazy, low-snow season for some high elevation, alpine fun!

Who: Dave, Andy from Sierra Descents, Zach, Sara and Molly the dog

What: Backcountry spring skiing

Where: Tioga Pass Road, the Eastern Gateway to Yosemite National Park

Gear: Deuter Guide 45 Pack, Black Diamond crampons and ice axe, Sol Sunscreen, Mammut Gobi Hat and so much more……..

Caltrans doesn’t take a big liking to skiers I don’t think, but when fishing season is due to open, you can rest assured that means most of the roads on the Eastern Sierra are going to try and open. And luck just has it that every year, the fishing opener coincides with some of the best spring skiing the country has to offer. Yup, right in our own backyard, the Eastern Sierra is a spring skiing mecca, and when the roads open up to 9,000 ft+, you can’t really go wrong.

View of False White from the parking area on Hwy 120

View of False White from the parking area on Hwy 120

Being a horrible snow year in this part of the Sierra, we were quickly turned around from a lower route on Mt. Koip due to miles of hiking that would have had to be done on dirt, and instead opted for the snow start and end. We parked at the intersection of Saddlebag Lake Rd and Hwy 120 both days. False White is a pretty easy and straightforward 2.5–3 hour climb from this parking area. Saturday was super warm with almost no wind, so we opted to explore a bit as the regular descent (southeast face) was a bit mushy already. Instead, we headed to this notch we spotted that would drop us on the north side into the Skeleton Lakes Basin.

The shoulder on False White by which we accessed the North Bowls

The shoulder on False White by which we accessed the North Bowls

This proved to be a great choice as the skiing stayed wintery over there and gave us an extra long tour to get out. We were still off the snow by 2pm as the warming was getting extreme and the snow was turning quickly. Our views and ideas just as quickly turned to Sunday and the idea to bag one of the couloirs on Mt. Conness.

For Sunday, Andy from Sierra Descents and Sara (Zach’s wife) met up with us for what was sure to be an epic. I had never traveled in the winter back to Saddlebag Lake and Conness in particular so I was extremely excited to see this new terrain and ski some of the best stuff we could find.  We started at 6:30am to ensure the midday heat would not be as much of a problem as it was on Saturday and headed out towards Saddlebag Lake. Once rounding Saddlebag, getting overtaken by some super fast and crazy backcountry Nordic skiers (see this photo album), we pushed on to the Conness Glacier and eventually the Y-couloirs on another route to the ridge.

The Conness Basin as seen once rounding Saddlebag Lake

The Conness Basin as seen once rounding Saddlebag Lake

It took about 4ish hours to reach the base of the Y-Couloirs and based on the look of them and the possible bergshrunds that we could see in the shorter, Summit Couloirs, we decided this was the way to go. Crampons and axes out, we headed up. Andy lead the first half and then I took over for the second on some pretty steep and exposed terrain; we sure were happy to have those crampons on. After about an hour in the chute, we pulled up and over and were on the ridge with a view out into the rest of the Sierra that can’t be beat.

Sierra PanoramicThe snow in the chute was perfect, edgeable and carveable with even a little pow thrown in for fun. And then, the way out was just perfect soft, corn snow and we were able to kick and glide our way back to the car without donning skins again. This video from Andy at Sierra Descents pretty much sums it up. Can’t wait to get out there again!

See the rest of the pictures from this Tioga Pass skiing trip on our Facebook Album.

Black Diamond Raven Ultra Ice Axe
Black Diamond Raven Ultra Ice Axe
MSRP: $109.95

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk, hike, bike, or Eastern Sierra backcountry ski trip in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Black Diamond Quadrant/Drift Review and Other TMS Items

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Pam skinning up under early grey skies with Mt Rose ski area in the background

Pam skinning up under early grey skies with Mt Rose ski area in the background

Who ever knew you could get a babysitter to come over at 6am? Well, now I do! My wife and I were lucky enough to experience this crack-of-dawn babysitter who was as happy as could be at 6 am, certainly more awake than I was, which was good because soon she was going to have a 2-year-old to deal with while I was out schralping the powder in the Mt. Rose backcountry with all sorts of new gear. While the conditions were a bit wind crusted in spots, it was a great morning to be out with my beautiful wife for a dawn patrol ski during one of our busiest weeks of the year and to be testing some of our new arrivals. As you can see here, I was using all stuff that we sell here at the shop and here is my expert review of all this great outdoor gear for your reading pleasure. I will go head to toe.

Head to Toe in TMS Gear

Head to Toe in TMS Gear

Smith Variant Brim Helmet with Smith Phenom Goggles – This is a superb combination that I got it last year. If I had waited until this year, I would have the Smith Vantage helmet instead, but that’s how it goes. The Variant Brim is well ventilated, adjustable and fits my head with ease. The Phenom goggles go hand in hand with the Smith helmets. They fit great, no gaper gap at all and no fogging up due to the efficient air system that works between the helmet and goggles. I would go with a Vantage now, simply because it is lighter and has a better vent system.

Balconi Polar Visor Hat – I use this on the way up and I love it.

Sporting the Balconi Visor

Sporting the Balconi Visor

First, it is a visor so it keeps the snow off your face or the sun, whichever the weather gods decide to provide. I love visor hats when I am hiking because it allows my head to breathe very effectively and therefore regulates the rest of my body temp. Huge fan, get one if you like winter hat/visors.

Mammut Albaron Jacket – I think I might have found my dream jacket when I found this little beauty. This is a Gore Tex Pro Shell jacket, which basically means it is super minimalist, packs up smaller than a down jacket, has huge pit zips and even bigger front pockets. You can see in the picture above, there is even some tacky, reinforced material on the shoulders for wear and tear from your pack. This jacket is completely minimalist in all other ways. No stupid pull cords, no extra soft material for your delicate chin, nothing. This is a standard, lightweight, fully waterproof and breathable shell jacket that looks super hot on me, if you don’t mind my saying. I highly recommend this jacket!

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants – This is our first season carrying any Outdoor Research product and so far, we are very impressed with their quality and attention to detail. I have been looking for a true soft shell pant that actually fits for a very long time, and I am proud to say, I finally found a pair. I am wearing a size medium and they fit great for my 5’8″ frame. Most soft shell pants are too long on me, but not these. Some of the details that first stuck out at me: Cuff guards on the inside of boot, zippers on the outside of the boot, huge ventilation zips on each leg (see pic), 2 thigh pockets, 2 rear pockets and a built-in belt that is actually easy to adjust.

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants

These pants are extremely comfortable, move and glide with your every movement and are a now my go-to pant for all my backcountry travels.

Black Diamond Quadrant Boots – Generally, I subject myself to using all the demo gear in the shop rather than ever getting anything of my own, but that changed this season with the Quadrant boots. I had a chance to demo them last year in development mode, and loved them so much I picked up a pair this year. This is a true touring boot and what I like most is the flexibility this boot offers. It is incredibly stiff when in ski mode and skis like a charm even on big skis like the Zealot or Megawatts. In traditional alpine touring boot designs, the cuff edge and middle buckles limit the forward range of motion in walk mode; Black Diamond‘s Pivoting Cuff moves up and out of the way to allow the boot to flex farther forward than conventionally possible. This is a huge plus for us backcountry tourers because it now allows for a greater range of motion while walking, boot packing or even ice climbing. I am also a total believer and convert in the Boa system. I think this system is super slick and easy to adjust. It really allows you to get the liner to the perfect tension. Also, it allows you to unbuckle your boots and relieve tension on your feet, while keeping your foot in place in the liner which prevents any rubbing or blistering. All in all, these boots kick butt and that recommendation is coming from a telemarker turned ATer mostly due to these boots and Dynafit bindings.

Black Diamond Quadrant with BD Drift Skis

Black Diamond Quadrant with BD Drift Skis

Black Diamond Drift Skis with Dynafit TLT ST Bindings – Black Diamond is really trying to enter the backcountry-specific market this year, and the Quadrant and Drift are the premier boots and skis respectively that they are doing it with. The Drift is 136 at the tip, 100 under foot and light as a feather. Mounting them up with Dynafit bindings is the only way to go in my opinion, don’t waste those weight savings with a heavy, unnecessary binding. These skis skied like a dream. The conditions today were extremely variable with hard pack giving way to wind crust then to dust on crust and finally, when down in the trees far enough, bottomless powder. These skis performed excellently in all those conditions. I was surprised at how solid they actually felt as I thought they would be more like noodles and not hold an edge very well, but I admit, I was wrong. They cut through all the variable conditions with no problem at all. I was also skiing the 176cm size and thought they were perfect.

I had a lot of other stuff on too, but these were the highlights. I hope you like our product reviews and if you have any questions, feel free to call the shop and talk to any of our gear experts or post your comment below and we will respond super fast.  Happy New Year to all our loyal customers and blog readers! Here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure.

Pam switching over for the ski down

Pam switching over for the ski down

Black Diamond Drifts ripping it up

Black Diamond Drifts ripping it up

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Report – 4/22-4/26/10

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Pam and I just got back from a 5 day trip down the Eastern Sierra Nevada. I will provide some condition details, but they have already changed so not sure what good that will do. Our trip started with powder tree skiing outside of Mammoth on the Punta Bardini ridge. We then headed north to June Lake for a day on the Hemlock Ridge, back south again to Little Morrison and Old Man’s Bowl and then north again to Dunderburg where we skied north and south facing aspects.

Pam coming down the "Tele Bowl" on Punta Bardini

Pam coming down the "Tele Bowl" on Punta Bardini

All in all, very little corn so far as we went from powder to 60 degree temps in about 2 days and now it is snowing and super stormy once again. During our time down there, we did see mostly powder on north facing slopes, though those were starting to get super wind affected by Sunday. The snow was also getting fairly soft on most south and east facing slopes, but it was not consistent and it was more like soft snow rather than the corn that we all love to hunt!

Started the hike up Dunderburg with South Peak in the background

Started the hike up Dunderburg with South Peak in the background

After 4 days of early rises and long skiing with lots of sun exposure, we decided it was time for our own private hot springs, so we called up the folks at Benton Hot Springs in far eastern California and they hooked us up with our own private tub and campground for the night. Wow, it was truly an awesome place with nothing else around and we loved our private hot spring. Here is a pic:

View from our hot tub to the White Mountains

View from our hot tub to the White Mountains

Now, time for a little gear talk as that is what we were really there for, gear testing. I won’t mention everything here, but there are some hightlights. First and foremost is the Nemo Losi 2 Person Tent. If you don’t know anything about Nemo, start looking them up now! This tent has so much head room and easily fits 2 people. It has very steep walls thanks to the engineer’s design sense who built this thing and overall it is light, super livable and stands up to whatever elements it has to. Check out the headroom on this thing:

Showing off the head room in the Nemo Losi 2 person tent

Showing off the head room in the Nemo Losi 2 person tent

Another highlight was my new Mammut Viento Jacket. I am a sucker for soft shell jackets, but they have to work, and with this Mammut jacket, I was not disappointed. It had amazing breathability and it kept the wind and light snow off me with no problem. When you are standing on a ridge and the wind is howling at 50 knots and you are sweaty but chilling down quickly, the Viento was able to keep me warm enough and active enough to stay on top of my game and not let the weather faze me at all. My final, and new favorite piece of gear is the Black Diamond Verdict skis mounted up with Dynafit TLT ST bindings. I chose the Verdict because I didn’t need a huge ski for all this touring and in the 170cm size, it was the perfect length for short turns as well as for skinning up with ease. I also can’t say enough about the Dynafit bindings as they offerred up effortless travel and easy climbing the whole way. I don’t know if I will ever Telemark in the backcountry again!

Verdict Skis with Dynafit Bindings

Verdict Skis with Dynafit Bindings

Tahoe Backcountry Skiing and Axl and Pieps Review

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The last couple of days have been great in the Tahoe Backcountry, but we are now in for a warmer storm that might affect the snowpack pretty high up. We can only wait and see. On Tuesday of this past week, Jeff and I headed up to Rubicon to find some great, cold, north facing powder. Jeff has been using the 22 Designs Axl Telemark Binding this season and he is a big fan. The bindings skis similarly to the 22 Designs Hammerhead binding, but with the free pivot mechanism, he is seeing the big difference……touring!

22 Designs Axl Telemark Binding

The binding in tour mode

Jeff wrote a review of the Axl binding here, so check it out. Here are a couple quick shots of the binding in action.

22 Designs Axl Telemark Binding

Use your pole to switch between tour mode and ski mode

As you can see from the pic on the left, it is super easy to switch between ski and tour mode with the simple flick of your pole tip.

Generally, for those of you looking for the best Telemark binding for skiing down as well as hiking up, the 22 Designs Axl is a great choice for you.

We also had a chance to play around with our beacons a bit, and we did some testing between the 2 antenna BCA tracker and my 3 antenna Pieps DSP.

Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon

The Pieps DSP in "send" mode

We cannot say enough about 3 antenna, digital beacons, but they are truly superior to the 2 antenna beacons of the old days. Not only was I able to search faster and more effectively, I was able to get readings until I was practically on top of the buried beacon. The Pieps DSP is fast, accurate, updateable and most of all, easy to use. Check out the screen shot of the Pieps DSP in the pic on the right. The newest software upgrade is to the 6.2 firmware and Tahoe Mountain Sports is the only authorized upgrade center in Northern California. You can bring your beacon into the store for an upgrade or send it to us and we will send it back to you within 1 business day.

Finally, Pam and I headed up to Jake’s on Wednesday after the very warm storm we got overnight. It was still raining/snowing when we got to the bottom of Jake’s but we went up and braved the weather anyways. It was very wet and heavy up to about 8,000 ft, but then the snow dried out nicely and made for some great skiing on the way down. Here are a couple of other pics of Jeff, Pam and I in the backcountry this week.

Mt Rose Backcountry Skiing – 2.3.10

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Headed up to the Spark Plug area of the Mt. Rose Backcountry this morning. We didn’t know what was going on with the snow up there, but we were pleasantly surprised by the softness and deepness of the pow on all but the south facing slopes. Lots of wind transport overnight along with an extra couple of inches of precip really smoothed things out and we barely saw another track the whole time. On this ski, I really debated between taking the Black Diamond Verdicts or the Black Diamond Megawatts, but I took the Megawatts and I was happy I did. The Megawatts have pretty much been with me on every backcountry trip I have taken this winter and I just love the way they slay the powder. I was wearing my trusty Cloudveil Serendipity Jacket with Cloudveil Koven Pants and it was a perfect combo in 20 degree cold and blowing weather, while hiking and working up a sweat. Of course I was wearing by Icebreaker underneath because the Atlas BF150 is the only way to go. No Vholdr videos today, but I did get a few pics.

Powder Tree Skiing with the VholdR ContourHD 1080P – 12.30.09

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

While we haven’t had a big storm in a few weeks here in Tahoe, we have been getting a series of smaller storms that have kept the snow great. With holiday season pass blackouts and the avalanche danger at considerable, we decided it was time to lap some pow in the trees in the sidecountry outside of Alpine Meadows. The skiing was fairly low angle mellow terrain but there were some fun rocks and pillows to drop off of and the snow was pretty much perfect. The area we were skiing can be accessed by a traverse out of the boundary of the ski area, but we were earning our turns and skinned up for three laps of perfect pow.

I’m still trying to find the perfect spot to put the Vented Helmet Mount for the VholdR on my helmet. I moved the mount slightly forward from where it was in the last video and I think I moved it a little too much. I think about half way between the two spots I’ve used so far should be the money spot. While the Vented Helmet Mount is more solid and steady than the Goggle Mount, the Goggle Mount does have the advantage of getting an angle that is very close to the point of view of the skier pretty much every time without any trial and error. It was a cloudy day with some intermittent snow and the VholdR ContourHD 1080p did a great job of capturing good footage in less than ideal light.

We were the Deuter Backpack crew out there on this day, Phil was rocking his Guide 45 while I was using the Freerider Pro 30. The more I use the Freerider Pro the more I find little details that make it a really great ski pack. For example, the hip belt pocket is larger than on most other ski packs and it fits my small Canon point and shoot camera easily without cramming it in. The helmet attachment system is also very well thought out and easy to use.

Overall it was another great day with perfect snow and a very mellow vibe. Hopefully the snow keeps coming and we have the kind of season people will be talking about for years. Enjoy!

Jakes Peak Pow 12.15.09

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

This past Tuesday I finally got out for a great day at Jakes Peak in the Tahoe Backcountry. The snow had stabilized and consolidated a bit leaving nice creamy powder everywhere. The snow was great, especially considering its only mid December.  It was also a day of testing out some new gear. I took out a pair of the new Black Diamond Zealots with Fritchi Freeride Plus bindings. This may be my favorite backcountry setup yet. Certainly not the lightest setup out there but it will be ready for anything and be extremely fun on the way down. The 110mm waist is wide enough to float well and the rockered tip just busts through crud and variable snow. Hero snow like this makes any ski fun, but I can’t get over how much fun these Zealots are in any conditions. Phil is also rocking his new Deuter Guide 45+ pack, a great choice for both backcountry skiing and mountaineering.

I also got to take the VholdR ContourHD 1080p out skiing for the first time. The light was a little flat but I think the footage came out great. The video below was shot by myself using the Vented Helmet mount, and by Phil using the Goggle Mount. The Vented Helmet mount is probably the sturdiest and most versatile mount for the VholdR that I have tried yet. I highly recommend it. Next time I’m going to try to point the camera down a bit more to get the tips of my skis in the shot a little more, I think it helps give the video some perspective. You can tell that the footage at the beginning of the video shot using the Vented Helmet mount is a little more steady than the footage in the second half that was taken using the Goggle Mount, but both look great.  The video features the POV skiing of myslef and Phil, with special guest appearances by Roger, Shane, Adrienne, and Bruno the Vizsla.

Backcountry Skiing in Ward Canyon 12/9/09

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Phil makes a pow turn below Grouse Rock

Phil makes a pow turn below Grouse Rock

After reading the advisories from the Sierra Avalanche Center from the last storm, we decided to give the snow a few days to settle and bond. We headed out on wednesday 12/9 for some fairly low angle powder skiing in Ward Canyon. A lot of the snow had been blown into thick windslabs, but we managed to find some protected areas with deep and light powder. I used the new Black Diamond Glidelite Mohair Mix skins for the first time and I really noticed the extra glide and appreciated the light weight compared to nylon skins. I was, as usual, wearing my Mammut Ultimate Hoody and it really excels in the typical conditions we run into in the Tahoe backcountry. Its the most breathable outer layer I have ever had, I can wear it skinning when everyone else has stripped down to base layers. Then I just zip up the vents at the top and I’m protected from wind and water by a full Gore Windstopper softshell.  Its also really lightweight (17 ounces) and packable for spring days where you just need a windproof layer for the summit.  Its a piece of gear I highly reccomend. With more storms expected in the next few days, things are just getting started.  Another great day with good friends!

Shane below Grouse Rock

Shane below Grouse Rock

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