Lake Tahoe, CA, Backcountry Report: Dream Lines…

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from March 6, 2023

Yesterday we got to ski two dream lines in Lake Tahoe, CA.

We got out early.

We hiked like demons.

Atop, we had a decision to make.

Challenge the more exciting, more gorgeous, more avalanche-prone terrain, or ski the safer, still awesome terrain near the skin track.

We decided to just go take a look at the exciting stuff.

Once there, we discovered that the chute we wanted to ski had been skied and we watched a group ski the adjacent chute with no avalanche issues.

With more information, we felt more confident.

I dropped first, made a ski cut, then fully committed.

Fox smirk. image: snowbrains

There’s a part of this chute where the wind comes in and cross-loads the chute making a fat hump that I never feel comfortable on.

After three turns in the chute and an avalanche check look back, the chute gave me its speed limit.

Terrain generally delivers a speed limit early on based on:

  • Snow Quality
  • Steepness
  • Terrain
  • Room to Speed Check Turn
Burls. image: snowbrains

The chute whispered in my ear:  “no speed limit…”

It’s rare to receive this message and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I dared not turn on the fat cross-loaded hump.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

I buzzed past it with no turn.


Gaining speed.

Cut. image: snowbrains

I could slap a turn anywhere.

I only made about four turns in the gut on the chute and the speed felt sexy.

I eventually decided to start lacing some turns together as I saw the chute opening up to its endpoint.

Gnarls. image: snowbrains

The turns were smooth and easy in the soft, sun & wind kissed snow.

I turned left with the fall line and made 70s-style butt-wiggle turns into the flats as Lake Tahoe came into view.

The lake’s bays were stuffed with ice, making the scene even more surreal.

Tunnel. image: snowbrains

From there it was back up for chute #2.

I was tired on the grind back up…

I went last this time.

Lake Tahoe. image: snowbrains

The snow was excellent.

I skied through the tight chute as fast as I could before it opened up and allowed for big, smooth, easy, high-speed turns.

The chute felt like it went on forever.

Ice fall. image: snowbrains

2,000 vertical feet of Hell Yes!

From there we headed home and continued our après ski tour at Front Street Pizza.

The Thai chicken pizza and carne asada burrito were heavenly.

I love this Lake and its views simply dazzle me every time.

Thank you, Lake Tahoe


image: sierra avalanche center, 3/6/23


image: noaa, 3/7/23


Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Fox. image: snowbrains
Contrast. image: snowbrains
Old. image: snowbrains
Down. image: snowbrains
Up. image: snowbrains
Gnarly. image: snowbrains
Granite and sclerenchyma. image: snowbrains
Wood. image: snowbrains
Fox about to drop Chute #2. image: snowbrains
Woody. image: snowbrains
Vista. image: snowbrains
Deep. image: snowbrains
Deep sign. image: snowbrains
Homeward. image: snowbrains
Avalanche debris. image: snowbrains
Avalanche consequence. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Joel & Fox go home. image: snowbrains
Front street Thai chicken pizza. image: snowbrains
Front Street carne asada burrito. image: snowbrains

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