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Apr 29 2012

Tahoe Ski Resorts Close for 2012

Keith Lindsay and PJ tracking up Sugar Bowl's backcountry.

Hats off to the Tahoe resorts that stayed open through this weekend. It has been a tough year and it costs money to run those lifts, but the late season snow has been good so they have damned the torpedoes and kept straight ahead. Even if the parking lots were only half full, at least they were half full.

Those who could make it were treated to a good 2-3 hour corn session this final weekend of the resort season. The conditions cooperated with a solid freeze overnight and a fresh coat of snow three days ago. When the lifts opened at 8:30am the runs were still hard and fast. Between ten and half past noon the corn was running and the grins were grinning under a blazing mountain blue sky. As gunky as the snow would get, during the corn hours it was as delightful as spring skiing can be. Silky smooth runs with just enough crème on top to make carving turns as easy as cutting butter and cold enough to still run fast. Pure ego snow and summer air temperatures so you can ski in your shorts if you chose.

In the backcountry the corn stayed good another hour and gave excellent purchase for climbs as steep as you cared to go, or dared to go. Climbing pegs weren’t just functional, they were fashionable and even yours truly was seen flashing the west fast of Judah in high heels. With snow that climbable, it was even fun to put in a few 4th class mixed climbing moves with skins, although I kept the heels flat for that section of the track.

With Tahoe resorts closing down and the snow going fast that leaves two options for the Granola coast, East Side or Shasta. Tahoe is still good, but higher is better which leads inevitably to the 14,162-foot Masta’, or the Eastern Sierra.

© 2012