Monday, March 28, 2011

Climb up Jakes Peak, and along its North Ridge

Never a bad view, while resting on the way up Jakes from the DL Bliss State Park winter parking area...
From Jakes, first REAL day of spring
Once on the summit, we toured north along the ridge, with great view to the southwest of Desolaiton Wilderness, and to the east and north of Lake Tahoe.  Our route down was in the open chutes just left of center in these photo.

From Jakes, first REAL day of spring
We skied slowly across the ridge, picking our way over wind gullies and enjoying the stupendous weather and scenery in all directions.  Amazingly, we saw some small animal tracks right on the ridge, very well preserved in the firm snow.

From Jakes, first REAL day of spring

From Jakes, first REAL day of spring
Looking for the perfect lunch perch, we ascended this roll along the ridge so we could see both ways, and be protected from the wind.

From Jakes, first REAL day of spring

Here is a short (1.5 minute movie) from the top...I wish I had filmed more.

Drive down to the west shore of Lake Tahoe to the DL Bliss State Park parking lot and tour along the north ridge of Jake's Peak. The copious snowpack was wind beaten, and soggy, but the views were amazing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Storm rages outside - again

What an eventful day- so far. While seeing our house guests off after breakfast in their Prius (that I had spent an hour excavating) we discovered it had a flat tire and the chains were wrapped tightly around the rim, with a sagging tire stuck in between like a trapped fish. So,
jacked up the car once we dug out the snow down to a firm icy surface and drove the tire down to Truckee in white out conditions to get it fixed.

With repaired, inflated tire (chains still attached) we drove back up the now closed Interstate 80 (Royal Gorge Employee Badge came in handy to get past the CHP roadblock). Luckily Ted had his Android talking GPS enabled cell phone with him as we inched up the unplowed, abandoned interstate by brail. The snow was blowing hard and the snow was so deep, the road signs were all obscured. The phone handily chirped up "your exit is in 100 feet" as we drifted off the main road and found a slight gap in the bank indicating the exit ramp. Once across the train tracks and safely back in the neighborhood we got bogged down in the indistinguishable and impenetrable 4' berm at the base of our driveway. Leaving the car with blinkers on half-way extending into the rapidly vanishing roadway, we returned to the distressed Prius - now once again buried to the hip in fresh snow and drifted in on the diver's side stranded halfway up the driveway. We cleared the snow away from the jack, retrieved the lug nuts and remounted the repaired tire after having to raise the jack as it had melted int the ice during our absence. With the other car forlornly blinking at us from the base of the driveway, we cleared a path back into the carport, dug out the Prius again, and parked it back in the carport - its journey back to the Bay abandoned for the time being. We then returned to the Subaru - blowing snow down the driveway to an ever increasing depth as the side banks of the driveway now tower well over 20 feet - well beyond the reach of the blower's throw. Once a path just wide enough for the Subaru had been excavated in front, we dug all the compressed snow from beneath, and coaxed the mush covered and frosted car off the berm, and back up the narrow path to the top of the driveway.

At last, I imagined a steaming cup of coffee and a rest as a reward after a hard morning's pointless work. We went inside and discovered that a power failure had occurred, and our normally bright and welcoming house was dark, and cold, as all the heating devices require electricity to operate. Diane lit a collection of candles and we contemplated our fate over cold sandwiches and tea. Already 1:00 pm and chances of skiing today are
evaporating rapidly.

We took the guest bedroom linens back out of the laundry hamper and invited our
guests to stay until the storm abates. Another family is expected tomorrow night, but what the hey - the more the merrier.

I climbed the steep stairs to the second floor - and our bedroom, the only room with windows not obstructed by accumulated and drifted snow and went to relax with my iPad and discovered I had sat on my reading glasses since I had worn them last so now I have a pair of monocles instead.

Diane is quilting tropical fish. I wonder why?

Welcome to my world.

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

Monday, March 21, 2011

North Maggies with Jeff

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house
Emerald Bay, with North Maggies at the head - photo curtesy Stone Tire in Truckee - (see next post for explanation of why I was at Stone Tire). We skied the south east shoulder and then down the left edge of the big avi chute just above the road...

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

We drive to the end of the plowed road (Route 89) and break trail to the usual trailhead for North Maggies - having Emerald Bay all to ourselves with plenty of time to study the ski lines off Jakes and Maggies, and to enjoy the view out over Lake Tahoe without being pestered by cars racing bay. You can see the skier on the unplowed road on the right side of the photo above.

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

After a 4 hour slog up through the deep snow, we enjoy an incredible ski down through the massive Sugar pines and champagne blower snow - using the edge of an old avi chute for a great guide back to the uptrack far below.

From 2010-2011 Serene Road house

This cloud of snow has a skier just on the left edge. If his face was not obscured by so much snow, you'd see a big grin.

Watch a 2.5 minute video...

Drive down to the west shore of Lake Tahoe to the end of the plowed road at Emerald Bay and share this climb up North Maggies Peak on stormy day. Our 5 hour tromp through fresh snow is compressed to a 2.5 minute video for your enjoyment

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jakes Peak - 2,300 feet in one clean line from the summit - 4 minute video

Drive down to the west shore of Lake Tahoe to the end of the plowed road at Emerald Bay and share this climb up Jake's Peak on a perfect Bluebird day. The southeast chute offers 2,300 feet of uninterrupted powder from summit to highway, and the only reason I could stop Jeff was to make a few of these movie clips. Come along for a fun tour and watch the 4 minute movie.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Very Snowy Day - Starts off with Amazement - a short video

More snow, and more snow, and then, more snow!! Snowbanks overtaking the 2nd floor windows, banks collapse and bury the front door. Thinking of spring and a tropical island right about now. Anyone have a snorkel?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ski traverse on a cloudy day over Mt. Rose Saddle (3 minute video)

A ski traverse on a cloudy day between Mt. Rose Summit and Sky Tavern Ski Resort hitting the Sparkplug Chutes, and then crossing over Mt. Rose saddle on the way to the back boundary of Sky Tavern Ski Resort,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Practice with toboggan belay down the West Pal run at Sugarbowl

Practice with toboggan belay down the West Pal run at Sugarbowl. Used a special device that allows a knot in the rope to pass through the friction break for especially long descents.

Quick lap ski tour with Diane - short movie

We take a two hour ski-tour from the house through the adjacent National Forest and enjoy the fine spring weather on Donner Summit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Road trip mid-season to Powder Mountain & Snow Basin in Utah

Eight ski buddies explore the amazing terrain at Powder Mountain and Snow Basin in Utah. Hard to reign in these cats long enough to make movies, but here is what I have. This movie is 20 minutes, so grab some Joe, and sit back for a invigorating break from your daily routine.

Eight alpine ski buddies gather annually for a "boys' trip to gather up some good western skiing mojo. David, Andy, Paul, originally high school adventure buddies, formed the nucleus of this group years ago and over time others have been added to round out the posse. Sam, Chris, and Bob all hark from the New York City Area, although Chris has since migrated to Denver. Bob is the most recent addition, and now it seems the group is complete.

All eight of us are married in long term relationships and have followed very different career and family paths but there is non-the-less a strong bond and commonality when we shed our daily routines and reunite annually for this pilgrimage back to our primal desires and perform a loosely choreographed group dance in the snow covered western mountains.

This year we selected the small town of Eden, UT - in an out of the way valley north east 1 hour from Salt Lake City because it is mid-way between two great ski resorts - Powder Mountain, and Snow Basin (more recently famed for hosting a few events of the winter Olympics). We had fresh snow on 5 of the 7 days of our trip - that is why we all flock to Utah when looking for powder snow.

More to come later on resort descriptions, but for now, I hope you enjoy this rather lengthy video (20 minutes) capturing some of the joy and exuberance we shared.

Key to skiers in order of appearance:
Red Parka, blue pack, gray helmet - David D.
Orange Coat, black pants, white Helmet - Sam L.
Blue Parka, blue helmet - Chris C.
Orange Parka, yellow pants - Andy W.
Green park with black shoulders - Paul S.
Red and black parka with F A T skis - Bob M.
Grey parka, black pants, red pack(usually a blur) - David G.