4 minutes to read — 644 words
The winter of 2013 started off well for skiers on the West Coast. A wet November dumped plenty of snow to get some skiing in over Thanksgiving, and an even better December made conditions around the holiday season and New Year’s excellent. Unfortunately, those first two months of the season were followed by the driest January on record and an equally uninspiring first half of February. When I went to Kirkwood over Presidents Day weekend, it hadn’t snowed much at all in almost six weeks.
3 minutes to read — 542 words
One of the most popular winter activities in Yosemite National Park is skiing or snowshoeing Glacier Point Road. The road is closed to cars in winter beyond the Badger Pass Ski Resort, but most of the road is groomed, making the 10.3 mile road a relatively easy ski route. The reward is a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Valley from Highway 49 We drove to Yosemite on a Saturday morning.
2 minutes to read — 338 words
The winter retreat for the Stanford Outdoor Education Program instructors was a back country skiing trip off of Highway 88 near Kirkwood Mountain Resort. We left campus early on a beautiful Saturday morning. Despite a flat tire in Jackson, we managed to make it to Tragedy Springs Road, of which only the first hundred feet or so had been plowed. We parked in the plowed area and distributed group gear and food.
3 minutes to read — 496 words
I managed to sneak five days of skiing in before New Years during the 2007 – 2008 season. After an usually low snow year for 2006-2007, it was encouraging that Tahoe got several feet of snow before Christmas. Despite this early snowfall, all of the Tahoe ski areas suffered from the usual early season low coverage with lots of exposed rocks. Kirkwood Valley My first day of skiing was at Sugar Bowl, on the Saturday after the season’s first big winter storm.
6 minutes to read — 1256 words
A longtime alpine skier, I was roughly introduced to the back country version of that sport one weekend during April of 2007. I was a student in Stanford’s Outdoor Education Program, and I was excited to venture into Tahoe National Forest with eight other students and two instructors. We met to organize our gear on Friday the thirteenth late in the afternoon. After testing stoves, pitching tents, and checking out gear, we threw our packs and skis into a large SUV and a monstrous pickup truck and hit the road.
3 minutes to read — 443 words
We began the drive to Northstar around three P.M. on January 4. As soon as we hit 4500′, it suddenly started snowing heavily. Millions of giant snowflakes extinguished visibility and blanketed the road. I took the wheel from Kayleigh, and slowly drove the Ford Escape over the white highway. When we finally reached Kayleigh’s cabin at Northstar, we knew the heavy snow meant we were in for an awesome first day.
2 minutes to read — 404 words
Kirkwood is my favorite resort in Tahoe. It’s small, out of the way, and less crowded than almost any other resort in the area. It also gets the most snow of anywhere in the lower 48. With 7800′ base, it snows top to bottom at Kirkwood when it’s raining on the bottom half of many other resorts. Kirkwood also has an awesome variety of terrain, from solid intermediate slopes to extremely steep bowls and chutes for experts.
2 minutes to read — 375 words
My first ski trip of the year was a one day bomb up to Northstar on December 16. Northstar is not one of my favorite resorts; it gets too crowded, is too low, and lacks really tough expert terrain. Despite opening up two entirely new ski areas, it still suffers from the problems suggested by its nickname “Flatstar.” Any ski resort that advertises, of all things, its snowmaking system should immediately cause skiers to doubt its snow quality.