Alpine!

That’s right, Alpine!

Sounds like Sugar Bowl did a great job getting operations going Sunday and Monday, but I couldn’t get there.  Caltrans had 80 closed all day from Truckee..

So on Tuesday I went to Alpine instead!  Alpine was completely closed Sunday and Monday and opened almost all their terrain except High Traverse Tuesday.

Whatever the state of current management (grr..), Alpine is still one of my favorite mountains ever.  It is where I learned what Tahoe was all about, chasing powder off piste.

I visited almost all of my favorite spots!  Promised Land, Broccoli tree (aka the “Tree of Life”), the Bakery AND the Lower Bakery, Saddle, High Yellow, Counterweight Gully, Pete’s.  Missed out on the Sisters and Closing Rock… next time!

bakery

One buried Bakery!

See you back at the Bowl!

- John S

 

A tale of two weekends…

Last weekend your intrepid editor made it out Friday and Sunday.  80 was closed from a mudslide so my plans to ski with friends visiting from the bay area were thwarted yet again.

Friday was another great powder day in an epic, record-breaking season.  This one was surprisingly empty.   Sure, the highway was closed, but lots of previous pow weekdays have been busier with nobody but us die hard locals.  Hey, I’m not complaining!  Spent the day on Disney.  I heard Lincoln opened in the afternoon but I missed that!  Alas, you can’t score them all.

I heard things were busy on Saturday the 11th but I had already opted out…

Sunday had a great time hiking J bowl with Unofficial Sugar Bowl contributor Mean Dean!  Maybe one day he’ll wake up and write another blackout date snow report.  :P

Alas, work travel and blackout dates have kept me off the hill since the 13th.  Back on Monday the 20th for storm skiing.  See you in the trees!

- J Snow

A windpacked weekend and Return of the Rain

The first weekend in February was great!  If you’re a hater who only likes their powder light and fluffy, then hey, this was the time for you to make jokes about our cement and get out of my way.  Personally, I’m thrilled to tear up anything fresh, even if it is wind-affected and on the heavy side.

Friday was empty as could be and snowing like mad.  Around mid-day it got deep enough to stop bottoming out and then it was free refills for the rest of the day.  Lots of great Lincoln laps on East Bowl (thanks Mean Dean!) and Roller.

Saturday had some crowds and lines, but overall we’re pretty spoiled at Sugar.  Lincoln did take a while to get open.  I heard some grumping that they sent everyone who was lined up away and then wound up opening shortly thereafter.  I missed that, lapping fresh turns from top to bottom on a stealth Nancy’s/Sugar Bowl opening instead.  Huge stripes of avy chow in there are a reminder of everything the patrol does to keep us safe inbounds!  Props SBSP, you’re the real pros.

Sunday Crows opened again!  Like a wise stranger said to me on the lift, Saturday he was a little mad about it, but Sunday he was super happy about the slight delay.  After four or five laps there, the crowd did get a bit overwhelming for a fixed triple.  Still, another super day at the bowl.  :)

Unfortunately, the next storm, while starting out with some snow, changed over to rain early Monday.  Sugar was closed Monday and Tuesday, and although things are calmer and they look to be opening Wednesday for some rain skiing, I’ll pass and see you back on the hill Friday or Saturday.

- John S

A taste of Juneuary and Return of the Storms

Just time for a quick recap!

Monday the 23rd… Gondola closed in the morning, strange, but what an epic day of skiing!  In contrast to our friends over at some other resorts, Sugar opened almost all of their lifts and off-piste terrain, including Disney, Sugar Bowl, the Palisades, Lincoln, the Sisters and Silver Belt.  And Roller too.  Wow.  Props to patrol for all the hard work!

Tuesday the 24th…  Sunshine?  I forgot what this was like!  Hiked out to Judah bowl, aww yeah!  But no Crow’s?  I thought at the time it might be on midweek money hold…

Thursday the 26th… Crow’s is finally open!

More sunshine the last few days of January.  Almost got a taste of a few corn turns here and there.

And now February brings the storms back… beginning of this one was wet and sticky, but it looks to be piling up now.  See you out there!  Raar!

- J Snow

 

Deep powder and lift maintenance

Friday and Saturday were some of the deepest days out there yet!  The snow was less wind-affected than previous storms.

Saturday afternoon, Sugar Bowl lost power and had trouble keeping the lifts running.  I heard folks were stuck on Disney for 45 minutes and didn’t even get vouchers when they were finally offloaded.

What’s going on, Sugar management?  You KNOW you’re likely to lose power during these big storms.  You need to spend the money to maintain your lifts properly!  Your backup diesel engines on the lifts need proper maintenance, and periodic testing, especially on stormy mornings.  It should be a few minute switch over at most.  It shouldn’t cause a multiple hour closure.

This isn’t to bag on the amazing and hard working patrolers and lift ops staff.  We know you guys work your asses off!  I’m criticizing the bean counters who decided to skimp on hiring enough experienced mechanics, who decided not to do proper maintenance and testing of backup power infrastructure.

The day tripper I met leaving early yesterday grumbling that “other resorts lose power and keep operating” wasn’t wrong.  He’s going to tell a dozen friends.  Over at Squawpine they’re getting lots of flak for never opening their upper mountain during storms.  Let’s prevent Sugar Bowl from becoming known as the place where lifts don’t work in storms, eh?

- John S

Two empty weekdays…

Monday was sunny and surprisingly empty for a holiday.  Great times and great company!  ;)

And then Thursday was a stormy powder day, and also surprisingly empty.  Crow’s didn’t open, but Disney and Lincoln did, including Sugar Bowl and Silver Belt & the Sisters.  Skied fresh lines all day until I couldn’t anymore.

Hey Sugar, what was up with no Gondola lots on Thursday?  Parking was a small disaster and there was barely anyone there!  You have giant snow clearing machines… why aren’t you using them?

- J Snow