Another late season storm pushed it’s way into the Tahoe region last weekend but with forecast models showing 9,000 ft snow levels, it really wasn’t looking too promising. With one day to ski, myself and the two kids decided to roll the dice and head to Kirkwood…praying for snow instead of rain.

On the drive in the early AM, it was apparent that warm weather had a stranglehold on the area as we encountered nothing but rain on the summit of Carson Spur. The parking lot scene did not look much better as the rain fell from the sky and not just from dad’s forehead after fitting a few pair of ski boots. But hey, we are in the mountains, there’s almost nobody around, and WE ARE SKIING!

As we loaded Timber Creek Express, a refreshing mist washed off our sunscreen laden faces as we soared above untouched perfectly groomed corduroy. However, to our surprise, it was starting to snow at the top of the lift. We took a few laps down the corn groomers, the Trench of Terror, Ditch of Doom and the rollers of the Gold Rush Zone until it was time for dad to get his groove on…alone.

By 11am, massive flakes of wet snow were plastering the mountain including the base area. I met up with Bevan and his buddy Noah and we attacked the steeps of Chamoix and Oops & Poops…finding soft landings everywhere we looked. One of the good things about the warm weather was that the spring snow underneath did not have time to freeze, so the dreaded ‘dust on crust’ was happily avoided. Of course, there was a lot of goggle management going on but we managed to take quality runs on Notch Chute, Lightning, The Fingers and more.

We met back up with my son and ended the day with a few more laps on Chair 6…but now finding around 5 inches of an untouched silky surface. As we departed at 3:30pm, the snow was still coming down and chain controls were in effect over the Carson Spur. By the next morning, 12 inches of snow accumulated where some resorts on the North Shore received only an inch or two. Luck was on our side and we’re not complaining.

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After a nice refresh the previous weekend that was followed by extremely warm temperatures throughout the week, the bar was not set very high for finding great conditions on this ski outing. It was that typical Tahoe early spring pattern…the groomers were perfection upon opening and most of the off-piste needed some time for softening. But would the north-facing aspects hold any winter snow?

The day began with dropping one kid off early for JETS and skiing with the 4 year old for a few laps at Timber Creek before dad could be set free on his own will. I immediately met up with telemark extraordinaire Bevan at the bottom of Chair 6 where we immediately headed straight to Thunder Mountain. The plan was to hit up Thunderbowl to look at V-tree and eventually make our way out to Carson Spur. If anywhere has winter snow, its the protected aspects in these two zones.

Upon arrival to V-tree, we unfortunately found un-edgable bulletproof ice conditions under a tiny layer of new snow. Bevan made his way down slowly and safely while I ended up traversing out mid-way. Luckily, I found some cold powder in the chute directly below the ice-fall. After a medium hike over the Carson Spur, we opted for the 2nd Sentinel and headed in the direction of Mario Land. Fortunately, we found some smooth consolidated spring powder and great terrain. Although Bevan pre-released in the middle of his run, he was stoked to get his first tour of the area.

The rest of the day was spent cruising Chair 6 & 10 with my 7 year old and having a blast of a time. We actually found wintery chalk in Chamoix, Oops, and lookers left of the Wall.

Mission Accomplished and bring on the MEGA STORM in the forecast!

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