Pre-Freedom Fest Conditions Report from Palisades Tahoe, CA

John Cunningham | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Slush Sprays!
Slushy sprays! | Image: author

Report from June 30, 2023

We woke up just before 6 a.m. — the birds were chirping and the crisp morning air coming through the window was warm already.

On the road by 7 a.m., the drive up highway 89 at this hour from South Lake to Palisades is always so peaceful, yet filled with anticipation. 

Pulling into the parking lot of Alpine around 8:30 a.m., we saw a couple of people already walking back to their van, skis and gear completely sopping wet.

Expectations were set pretty low, but in the big scheme of things we were just stoked to be there, skiing and riding on the last day of June.

We strapped in after a short stroll through dirt and rocks to the line at Summit Chair.

It had been a couple week hiatus since being on the hill, and I was instantly overjoyed, clicking back in.

Alpine meadows
The mountain was looking pretty good for closing weekend. | Image: author

As we rode up the lift we were in a different world, surrounded by lush green vegetation, streams and running water everywhere, and the best of it all; the blankets of snow still covering portions of these beautiful mountains, waiting to be skied down.

The first lap down Wolverine Bowl (video below) was turn after turn of creamy and wet, yet surprisingly fast summer slush.

I was truly in disbelief at how consistent the snow remained for the first few laps down Wolverine, basically the entire way to the flats and back to the chair.

We lapped Summit four or five more times, and the snow quality was hardly deteriorating in between.

Sprays, spread eagles, side hit 180’s and sensational summer slush slashing with big smiles was the theme of the day. 

Spread eagles
Spread eagles and smiles all day. | Image: author

It was mind-boggling seeing how much snow is still lingering up top, while the bottom was melting out fast but held together by the tremendous efforts of grooming and operations.

We finished up for the day just before noon, as the snow finally started to get extra sloppy, and drove to the east shore for a few hours of après ski lake time.

The team at Palisades and Alpine really had their work cut out to keep operations going strong through July 4 with three lifts still spinning for Freedom Fest, but they made it happen.

What was by far the hottest day of the year so far, also turned out to be one hell of a day at the Spring Skiing Capital.

Bring out your best costumes and dance moves, snowblades and rock boards, and enjoy the last of  summer skiing in Tahoe in style!

Snow Numbers

conditions alpine palisades
Image: Palisades Tahoe

Weather Forecast

Image: NOAA


Dirt and rocks
Lots of dirt and rocks around Summit Chair. | Image: author
Lake and snow
Still tons of snow up top! | Image: author
Tahoe lingering in the background
Lake Tahoe lingering behind the snowy mountains. | Image: author
Waterfalls and rocks and snow
Streams and running water everywhere you looked. | Image: author
Skiing to beaching
From the snowy mountain to a nice afternoon dip in the lake. | Image: author

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