May 19 2011

TR: Tahoe showers bring May powder!

Winter is in its last throes here in the Tahoe area, but it keeps on throwing down fresh coats of powder. It simply will not yield to summer without a fight. Non-skiing locals want to serve old man winter with an eviction notice.

Dawn Patrol = Freshies!!!

Yesterday was indicative. Brendan Madigan from Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, a get after it backcountry hustler called it the best powder day he had ever experienced in May. It would be silly to dispute that, especially when you consider where he skied, and when.

The call was universal among Tahoe’s dawn patrollers.

6am at the shuttle lot. Snooze you loose.

Skinning before 7am.

Top out by 8am and point ‘em down.

Brendan followed the plan, knocking out a 2500 vertical skin to the top of Jakes Peak right on schedule, and trust me, that was a vertical track – competition style.

The light was good, with the warm spring sun being held back by a veil of clouds that let beams of alpenglow through in the patches of blue. Before those beams of light could start cooking the snow from fresh pow to cream cheese we needed to be pointing ‘em down.

Turn left at the bonsai, then bonzai.

Aaron Breitbard and I had the same plan, just a different location – Donner Pass area. We broke trail from Rainbow Bridge to the saddle between Donner Peak and Mt. Judah.

Another crew from The Backcountry in Truckee followed shortly behind, and rallied to lay three excellent tracks off Donner’s steep north face, rolling in from the ridge, through a point-release sluff and turbo charged with air off the train tressle. Makes one green with envy just to see ‘em.

Since we were early, Aaron and I decided to go big. Afterall, the snow was really light, and deep, and there was flexibility available in when we needed to be on the clock. We went left for a Lake Run.

Its a dogs life. Aaron enjoys the fruit of the earn.

Aaron dropping from Donner Peak to Donner Lake in the clouds.

As ever, Dawn Patrol delivered. Don’t miss the next one you’re invited to join.