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I’m Your Huckleberry

Sierra-at-Tahoe opens backcountry terrain to the masses.
posted: 11/11/2009
Jamie Burge stuffs herself full of huckleberries.

Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Huckleberry Canyon—a 320-acre bowl littered with pillow lines, 30-foot granite cliffs, and 50-degree spines—used to be out-of-bounds terrain limited to avalanche-savvy skiers. But last winter, ski patrol at Sierra-at-Tahoe, a little-known California resort 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe, decided to conduct avy control in the canyon, opening up the slide-prone steeps to the masses. Reach these 500-foot technical lines by riding Grandview Express and passing through one of five monitored gates. Scope your line from the horseshoe-shaped ridge and then drop the cornice hovering above Huckleberry. You’ll find soft, powdery landings on the sun-shielded, north-facing slope, which gets an average of 480 inches of snow annually. Beacon, shovel, and probe aren’t required, but the resort recommends bringing avy gear anyway and skiing with a buddy. A lift ticket costs $69, and for an additional $49, you can take a two-and-a-half-hour backcountry-skills session, which includes avy-gear rental and tips on route selection and snowpack. [sierraattahoe.com]

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Or I will just head up to Kirkwood for the day.

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