words and photos by Julian Hanna
Saturday December 7th was opening day at Squaw Valley—counting in powder days that is. Overnight the Tahoe basin was blanketed with 12-16 + inches of unusually cold and dry snow [Squaw reported 18-22″]. It finally felt like winter arrived in the Sierra! To celebrate this bounty it was time to practice the age-old tradition of riding some pow, blower pow that is. On the mountain it was knee to waste deep in spots and so blower it was hard to keep the stuff out of your face. Although our typical storm pattern is warm to cold, this storm came in cold and left unconsolidated fluff in its wake.
Top to bottom riding on Red Dog and Squaw Creek was the name of the game today. The upper mountain received a late opening; the lower mountain provided the goods so I never even made it up to Gold Coast which was the only upper mountain chair lift spinning. Hopefully Squaw has enough snow to open the mountain run soon.
As the bushes and small trees show, it is still low tide in the Sierra. Most of the terrain off the groomed path was closed and for good reason: rocks, stumps, small trees, last season’s lost ski gear awaits you and your brand new board. Before the opening bell at 9am Patrol corralled the gathering masses to spread an important message: Though the snow is blower, it is not yet bottomless; be careful. The rest of the season awaits you!
Stay safe out there.