Lake Tahoe, CA Backcountry Report: Sunset Skiing Above a Shimmering Lake Tahoe in Orange & Pink Light

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from January 20, 2023

Yesterday morning I got out early with the boys and skied in the shade.

The snow was good.

I landed an air I shouldn’t have and we were all stoked.

I then went for a lakeside sunset session.

I invited many, but all were busy or too tired after the ferocious snow cycle we’ve had here the past weeks.

I went solo.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

I gave myself plenty of time so I didn’t have to hike fast but my body was excited.

I got up in about 2 hours despite stopping for many a stunning view.

A vicious east wind blew as I trudged upward but stopped instantly once I reached the summit.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

Calm, warm, sun.

On top, I was once again shocked by the vista.

I walked all around taking in every angle.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

The shoreline, the sun’s reflection, the smooth water, the rough water, the rocky peaks, the distant sawtooth.

The view is almost too much up there.

The zone had gotten quite a bit of traffic.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

My ‘secret run’ that’s guarded by a tight chute and mandatory air was even well shralped.

It’s just so abnormally filled in up there that everything goes and is accessible…

I worked the ridge looking for weaknesses and fresh snow.

After a short search, I found what I was looking for and staked my claim by hovering over the line until sunset.

Sunset was officially 5:07pm.

I planned on holding out until the end but at 4:42pm, I was too anxious to wait any longer and dropped in.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

My first turns were crunchy.

My subsequent turns were slarvy in sun-cooked snow.

Once out of the initial rocky, alpine zone the snow flattened, cooled off, and improved.

Ball of lichen. image: snowbrains

I gained speed and let out a hoot.

After the initial racetrack hallway through the trees I found, it was nothing but pillows.

Bopping, popping, and rocking out in the pillows was a mix of joy and struggle.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

The slightest angle change south turned the snow sticky, heavy, or refrozen firm.

After a few hundred vertical feet of this, my brain adapted to choose more northerly terrain, and my body acclimated to the occasional weird snow.

The sunlight skewed down the spectrum from orange to pink to purple.

Happy with horses. image: snowbrains

The colors excited and gave haste.

I wanted to get down before the light left faded out.

Towards the bottom, the skiing was typical for this zone:  bad snow, lots of obstacles, thin cover.

Tahoe. image: snowbrains

This is where you’d blow your knee…

I got in one last air and a few more turns before gliding and traversing to the base.

I felt high as I skied directly down to the lake, reached down, cupped a handful of water and took a drink.

Miles skiing above Tahoe. image: snowbrains

93 turns, 19 airs, 1 near miss, 1 mini-double-pillow-drop, and 1 log ride made this run unforgettable.

I love this place.

I love this lake.

Thanks, Tahoe.

AVALANCHE FORECAST

image: sierraavalanchecenter.org, 1/20/23

WEATHER FORECAST

image: noaa, 1/21/23

PHOTOS

Belgian horse sleigh rides! image: snowbrains
Shady skiing in the morning. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Summit
Tahoe. image: snowbrains

Frosted. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains
Tahoe. image: snowbrains

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