Katy, Rick, and I rallied down to 10,049′ Stevens Peak near Kirkwood, CA to visit an old friend today. When I first moved to Tahoe right after college, I lived in South Lake Tahoe, skied Kirkwood, and spent Springs kooking it up in the Carson Pass backcountry in alpine ski boots, no skins, and no clues. Stevens Peak and Red Lake Peak were favorites of ours back then and it was great to be back with solid gear and a few more clues.
Right off highway 88, we walked snow patch to snow patch for about 15 minutes before hitting solid snow coverage. The skin up to the shoulder was smooth sailing with a bit of sliding out near the crest in steeper spots due to slushy snow.
Once on the ridge, an east wind cooled things off and kept the snow crisp. Views of Lake Tahoe, bizarre rock formations, and Desolation Wilderness pumped us up on the final pitch.
We dropped into the Comma Couloir at 11:45am and the snow was perfect. Soft, smooth, responsive, and fun. The first few turns were steep and puckery before giving way to wide open glory turns on the apron below. We traversed hard right at the bottom of the apron to get to the treeless, rolling east ridge-line that skied like a dream.
The perfectly smooth, 2-3″ deep, well-manicured corn on the rolling terrain gave a sensation of surfing and flying at the same time.
Once in the forest, we planned on following our skin track down but missed it and ended up following a snow finger fall-line as far as it would take us. As we delved deeper into the rabbit hole, I began to worry about our positioning as I knew we were way east of the car. It accidentally worked out splendiferously as this magical snow finger led us to within 100-yards of highway 88.
Flips flops on, a 0.3 mile walk back to the car along the highway, high fives, and a burrito in South Lake Tahoe capped the day off nicely.
It’s good to meet up with old friends.