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Feb 10 2012

TR: Spring conditions on Castle Peak

One thing is for certain. There are not enough people getting out these days and the reasons are merely justifications for staying home. BaaahhhhhhHumbug!

Castle Peak has enough snow to be worth a tour.

The skiing is actually quite good around Tahoe right now. True, the snow isn’t as deep as we are accustomed to, but it is deep enough. You just need to adjust your attitude a little because right now it’s spring conditions with a thin yet very solid base. It isn’t thick, but it’s solid enough to keep you above the myriad obstacles poking through.

Think of it as skiing at the end of the season, not because it is, but because that’s what the conditions are like. The base is perfectly seasoned to yield up a corn harvest on southern aspects at predictable hours. Even though the snow is running thin, for the moment, you can always connect the dots between rocks, bushes, and trees with continuous speed if you anticipate and aim well. It becomes a fun little exercise of nerves, and today the base was firm with no collapsing at inopportune moments. Indeed, spring conditions are pretty dang fun.

Instead of the thin, breakable, rotten funk I was expecting it was ripe corn on a fun pitch down the southern flanks of the eastern ridge of Castle Peak. That also made for an easy skin uphill with every step yielding effortless purchase, and a slippery slide forward.

Heading up to Castle Peak with late season spring conditions - good corn even though its February.


“Of course I’ll head back up for another one of those,” I remarked to my friend Dostie, uh, my neighbor and cousin (really). You can see him making reports on Tahoe conditions through Alpenglow Sports where he sells the stoke. That doesn’t just mean gear, Jeff’s the driving force behind the recent Nachtspektakl at Squaw Valley, a super event that saw almost 50 people skinning up and having dinner together at Squaw’s High Camp.

Everyone who attended, and a few who wished they had not missed it agreed, we could all use more Nachtspektakls, or whatever you want to call ‘em. Backcountry Bar-BQ’s that you reach with skis and skins. Life would be grand if it were just a string of such parties, eh? Like you, we both hope those become more common here in Tahoe.

Back to the present, the skiing was absolutely delightful. Perfect corn – like fat fetuccini noodles done al danté – lushious and soft on top but firm underneath.

Like I said above, that was worth a repeat, so we put the skins back on and slid back up to do another. Then back to work but it was so much easier to focus on when the desire for snow had been satisfied.

Stop making excuses. Go git some!

© 2012