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Tahoe Gets Dumped On

The latest storm has pummeled Tahoe resorts and is currently heading east, with blizzard warnings through Utah and Colorado. Jeremy Benson gives us a powder-day update from Alpine Meadows, California.
posted: 12/08/2009
Lynn Kennan at Alpine Meadows
by Jeremy Benson

This morning the snow totals seem unreal, like someone is making them up. In 24 hours, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, and Kirkwood have received 36 inches and it is still coming down hard.  With 18 inches of fluffy, cold powder piling at my house on Tahoe’s West Shore it seems like it is going to be a good day.

For the past few weeks Tahoe resorts have been struggling to open and maintain good conditions. With limited snowmaking and little help from Mother Nature, skiing in the area has been marginal to say the least. While most people are happy that the resorts have been able to open at all, the conditions have hardly been epic…until now.

I arrived at Alpine Meadows yesterday morning around 8:45 and it seemed like the parking lot hadn’t even been plowed. Then we realized the six inches on the ground had fallen in the last two hours. On our first run we found that we were in for a long and delightful day of skiing. The snow was so deep and had fallen so quickly that we were sinking to the bottom, like you might in Utah. Normally, I’m pretty excited to be 36 inches deep in fresh, but on that first run I found myself, and everyone around me, poling downhill, skis on the ground, powder over our waists. And then it got awesome. With a few tracks down the runs, picking up speed became easier, as did dipping off the side for a few over-the-head turns. 

The 36-hour storm total at Alpine Meadows was 42 inches, virtually quadrupling our meager snowpack. With virtually no base prior to this storm the conditions off-piste are still questionable. Downed trees, rocks, and various other snow snakes are definitely still lurking out there, but that looks to be changing quickly. Lucky for us the forecast is calling for more of the same: major dumpage. This week’s pow-fest was the first of several systems with Tahoe in their sights, the firehose has been aimed directly at us for a change. So grab the fattest skis you can find and head to Tahoe, it’s good and getting better.

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