Marc's Public Blog - Skiing / Snowboarding / Snow


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Monuments | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips

This is a collection of my blog entries about snowboarding.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for the more recent trips that I have recorded in blog entries:

Table of Content for snow:

More pages: March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 November 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 April 2015 March 2015 December 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 December 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 March 2011 February 2011 December 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 March 2009 February 2009 December 2008 April 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 December 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 November 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004




2019/03/27 First Non Stop Tesla Drive to Kirkwood
π 2019-03-27 01:01 in Cars, Snow
Back when I had an 90D, it claimed that it might barely make it to KW on a summer day at low speed, but it was just too short to get there in the winter, forcing me to stop at least 30mn in Manteca, creating a 45 to 60mn slowdown.
Long story short, it did get me to Kirkwood, but it was a bit annoying to have to stop, especially the day the Manteca Supercharger was down and I was forced to drive to Folson and all the way around 50/89/88, causing an almost 2H detour.

After getting my new Model 3 AWD LR, my first drive to KW I stayed conservative and stopped 10mn in Manteca to recharge 10%. After arriving, I arrived with 20% left while having driven quite hard. This gave me enough confidence that I'd be able to do it in one shot, even if that day the weather was perfect.

So, for my 2nd drive, I planned to drive in one shot, despite the less than ideal conditions (snow at the top). This was a bit risky because if the road closed at the top of 88, I'd be in trouble. My backup plan was first to beg caltrans to escort me through, and if that failed, to roll back to jackson's bus station to use their 240V/22A charger which although not that fast would give me enough charge in 30 to 60mn to make it to the folsom supercharger. Obviously, this would have sucked, but better than being totally stuck.

Before you try to replicate this:

  • You need at least the M3 AWD LR (range 310mi). The RWD LR is actually rated for 330 miles, but if you have to put chains, it will more than kill the extra 20 mile range the car has.
  • I have the 18" aero wheels. The more fancy looking wheels will make you lose 20 to 30 miles of range, leaving you with a very small margin.
  • I didn't drive faster than 75mph
  • I had to have headlights on for half the drive
  • I didn't use heating, this uses a lot of energy
  • I only used the defogger for 15 seconds at a time about 10 times total
  • I used wipers as needed
  • note that I arrived with 11-13% less than than the car predicted, so you need margin
  • Don't even try this if snow is down to Ham's station or lower, the snow that far down ([plus the temps) are likely going to eat your entire margin
  • Basically understand that it will not work in all conditions and that there isn't much margin for error, especially if Carson Spur closes in front of you when you've almost arrived.
  • The biggest thing is: the lower the snowline, the lower the temperatures, the less likely you are to make it. If you don't make it, you'll have to turn back to Jackson's charging station or make it all the way to the Folsom supercharger and drive around hwy 50/89/88, which is a 45mn detour at best.

    When I left, my car claimed I'd arrive with 20%, which I knew was likely optimistic:



    Strangely just 9 miles into my drive, it then said I'd arrive with 22%, but it soon adjusted to 17%:



    By the time I was climbing 88, my forecast was 16%. Probably because I was driving 70 to 75mph on the freeways:



    However, by the time I reached lower temperatures, and then hit the snow, this dropped like a stone. Good thing I gave myself a reserve:

    13%
    13%

    11%
    11%

    then it dropped and stayed at 9%
    then it dropped and stayed at 9%

    finally arrived safe and sound with 9%, happy to have made it in just 3h11 even with the snow at the top
    finally arrived safe and sound with 9%, happy to have made it in just 3h11 even with the snow at the top

    notice the big drop compared to the predicted range
    notice the big drop compared to the predicted range

    I could have saved maybe a few percents by driving even slower, but ultimately the lower temps and the rolling resistance from the snow definitely harmed the range by a lot in just the last 30mn of driving. Be prepared for that.

    Now, I was curious of whether I could get anywhere if I hadn't been able to recharge. Allegedly I could make it barely to stateline or folsom SCs but honestly with no margin and with snow resistance, I would likely not have made it to either of the 2:

    stateline with 6% used
    stateline with 6% used

    folsom with 7% used
    folsom with 7% used

    Now, Kirkwood nicely installed chargers last year, and keeps the spots empty of non electric cars (at least I'm told they do):


    their Tesla charger is good, 10kW/48A. I didn't even know my M3 AWD could charge at 48A
    their Tesla charger is good, 10kW/48A. I didn't even know my M3 AWD could charge at 48A

    otherwise, in an underground lot, charging from 110V is much slower :)
    otherwise, in an underground lot, charging from 110V is much slower :)

    Important notes:

  • The fact that I made it was definitely based on the conditions of the day. On a colder day with a lower snowline, my 9% could have turned into -3% or somesuch (i.e. not making it). Please plane accordingly.
  • The chargers at kirkwood are a very nice addition. You only pay the premium parking fee, but they are too close to one another, so it's unlikely that 6 teslas will fit. On a busy weekend, be ready for the fact that the chargers may be full and you might have to park by the lodge and steal a nearby 110V plug if you are desperate
  • In case of emergency, the Folsom and Stateline Superchargers are far in time (1H), but you should be able to get there witth just 10% as long as you are not in a snowstorm.
  • Do not park your car overnight unplugged into anything or be ready to lose a lot of battery if it's cold
  • Understand that you should however not plug into the few building plugs that you can find without getting permission. Those are typically paid for by the HOA at the rate of 66c/Kwh.
  • Fun facts:

  • It took me 91% to drive to KW, but the drive back was predicted to only be 35%
  • My car showed it drove 184 miles at 356Wh/mi average, or 65.5Kwh used for 91%.
  • As a consequence of the above, 100% usable battery capacity should be 72Kwh (and the pack 75Kwh if you add a 3Kwh buffer).
  • I had no idea my car could charge as fast as 48A from an AC charger, faster than my Model S I believe.
  • 2019/03/27 2 Powder Days at Kirkwood
    π 2019-03-27 01:01 in Snow
    After my last Tesla Model 3 drive to Kirkwood, I figured out that I should be able to make the trip in one shot, so I tried it this time and made it with 9% left when I arrived in just over 3h10



    thankfully Kirkwood has a row of chargers
    thankfully Kirkwood has a row of chargers

    I charged at higher rate (10Kw) a bit while the snow wasn't too bad
    I charged at higher rate (10Kw) a bit while the snow wasn't too bad

    Day #1 was a bit wet, but still pretty good powder that was mostly bottomless. The conditions were tough though, bad viz, high winds and wet:


    ski patrol was testing the wall for slide activity
    ski patrol was testing the wall for slide activity

    high snow levels this year
    high snow levels this year

    Day #2 was much nicer, an extra foot and almost bluebird:




    nice slide from the wall
    nice slide from the wall


    After multiple runs on Cornice, I got one of the first chairs on the wall, nice runs down:









    I took Eagle Bowl as soon as it opened and went to chair 2 that had just opened and got fresh tracks to chair 4, which I hadn't been able to go to at all this year yet:



    chair 4 wasn't quite open yet, I did have to wait 10-15mn
    chair 4 wasn't quite open yet, I did have to wait 10-15mn

    the wave
    the wave

    this year, it has a crevasse in it, so it's closed
    this year, it has a crevasse in it, so it's closed

    a lot of it was ropped off
    a lot of it was ropped off

    they do warn you :)
    they do warn you :)

    apparently someone fell in a crevasse there and had to be ropped out
    apparently someone fell in a crevasse there and had to be ropped out

    you can tell a good piece could break off
    you can tell a good piece could break off



    lots of fresh tracks
    lots of fresh tracks


    After many runs on chair 4, I took one last run on chair #2 and ran whiskey, which I hadn't done in forever:





    To finish the day, I went up the wall and took sisters chute, which was tricky to go down but had plenty of snow after that:


    entering the chutes was a big drop
    entering the chutes was a big drop

    After one last run at palisades, the bottom was starting to be a bit crusty, I could barely turn, so I called it a day and went home around 16:00 before the next storm got too bad:


    carson Spur is very carved up
    carson Spur is very carved up

    even much lower down, still high snow walls
    even much lower down, still high snow walls

    See more images for 2 Powder Days at Kirkwood
    2019/03/12 5 Snow Days in Canada: Sunshine, Revelstoke, and Lake Louise
    π 2019-03-12 01:01 in Snow

    I flew to Calgary to go meet Arturo in Sunshine, 1.5h from Calgary. Day #1 was ok enough snow, but while looking for more snow, ended up some snow waves where I missed one and ended up scraping the slope down with my goggles and nose:







    my snowboard goggles pressed hard on my nose and ripped out my skin
    my snowboard goggles pressed hard on my nose and ripped out my skin

    Arturo took us big hot tub :)


    Day #2 was supposed to be Lake Louise, but they got no new snow while Sunshine got another 4" or so, so we went back there:






    I ended up on top of this cornice, and couldn't quite see down, but ended up painfully hiking back up. Good choice I guess
    I ended up on top of this cornice, and couldn't quite see down, but ended up painfully hiking back up. Good choice I guess




    After that, we drove to Revelstoke for the next 2 days. No fresh snow on the first day, but the snow was cold and stayd in good shape:









    open creek, sign me up
    open creek, sign me up

    nice pretty birdies
    nice pretty birdies


    we then went to hike up the top
    we then went to hike up the top

    took a little while to the top, and was only partially worth it
    took a little while to the top, and was only partially worth it


    Day #4, revelstoke got a small dusting of a few cm, which made things a bit better:


    I did some nice side country and they had helpful signs making sure I didn't get too far off track
    I did some nice side country and they had helpful signs making sure I didn't get too far off track



    After day #4, I had to leave Arturo there, and drove back to Lake Louise for the next day:





    No fresh snow the next day, but Lake Louise was still good:


    long ass line for the bottom lifts, happy I never went back down
    long ass line for the bottom lifts, happy I never went back down




    a nice bra tree
    a nice bra tree

    a great run on the edge of the resort, except for the super flat section at the bottom. Thank got for poles.
    a great run on the edge of the resort, except for the super flat section at the bottom. Thank got for poles.

    by the end of the day, the crowds were a bit better
    by the end of the day, the crowds were a bit better

    looks like they air lifted someone
    looks like they air lifted someone


    After that, it was time to drive back to Calgary for a short city visit before flying home the next day.

    2019/02/25 Catching a 4 day Storm at Kirkwood and Heavenly
    π 2019-02-25 01:01 in Snow
    I got a new model 3 to replace last year's model S and it hadn't gone to the snow yet, so this week's storm was a great time to take it there. I drove monday in time to beat the storm rolling in and literally beat the chain control by 15 minutes. The road closed a few hours later and stayed closed for 3 days...
    I figured that the car might make it to kirkwood in one shot, but it wasn't too clear if it would and it would be pretty miserable if I started running short and had to drive back or ended up getting stuck, so I stopped at the Manteca supercharger for just 15mn, which gave me an extra 10% of battery and I arrived with 20% left, so in the end it wasn't needed:

    my car predicted it would arrive with 14% left, that was very close, I would have had 10% left if I hadn't stopped to recharge
    my car predicted it would arrive with 14% left, that was very close, I would have had 10% left if I hadn't stopped to recharge


    Carson Spur is looking interesting now, it closes almost as soon as snow starts falling
    Carson Spur is looking interesting now, it closes almost as soon as snow starts falling


    Got a nicely priced unit from Pyramid Peak properties and let the car charge slowly over the next 3 days
    Got a nicely priced unit from Pyramid Peak properties and let the car charge slowly over the next 3 days

    it was snowing nicely soon after I arrived
    it was snowing nicely soon after I arrived

    The next morning was sadly too windy, so as expected KW opened very late (11:30) and only a couple of boring lifts. I did do a few runs on chair5 until I got bored and confirmed chair6 was not going to open for the day, and went back to my condo to get some work done:




    sigh, no chair6 for us :(
    sigh, no chair6 for us :(

    Day #2 had another foot+ of new snow, and the roads were still closed. I was hopeful for a great day, but chair6 only opened close to noon (i.e. very late) and only a very narrow band of it (even access to chamoix was closed, and the drain on the other side was closed too of course):


    opening the door was interesting
    opening the door was interesting

    some other doors couldn't be open at all :)
    some other doors couldn't be open at all :)

    chair6 being readied, finally...
    chair6 being readied, finally...

    nice warning, I'd rather that they tell us that than stay closed because of limited medical help being available
    nice warning, I'd rather that they tell us that than stay closed because of limited medical help being available

    the runs I was able to do from chair6 didn't suck
    the runs I was able to do from chair6 didn't suck


    Day #3 sadly had the road open from Carson Pass, so people showed up :) More of chair6 got opened:


    more snow falling throughout the day
    more snow falling throughout the day

    I got to meet Ricky, the head of ski patrol of nicely gave me a tour and showed me the challenges they deal with
    I got to meet Ricky, the head of ski patrol of nicely gave me a tour and showed me the challenges they deal with



    eventually the wall opened and that was quite good, I lapped it for the rest of the day :)
    eventually the wall opened and that was quite good, I lapped it for the rest of the day :)


    Day #4, I stupidly slept at kirkwood due to poor planning on my part, but drove to heavenly to meet my friend Ovidiu to do some powder runs on firebreak and palisades:

    nice snow accumulation of the last days
    nice snow accumulation of the last days

    my car was all nice and clean and came out when the sun did :)
    my car was all nice and clean and came out when the sun did :)

    obligatory kirkwood sign picture
    obligatory kirkwood sign picture

    drove to harrah's parking and joined Ovidiu in the long friday morning gondola line
    drove to harrah's parking and joined Ovidiu in the long friday morning gondola line


    I noticed that, nice tires on that stretcher
    I noticed that, nice tires on that stretcher

    we walked to the first backcountry gate as the lifts weren't running yet (!)
    we walked to the first backcountry gate as the lifts weren't running yet (!)



    back down to the road
    back down to the road

    big easy was open, so we took it to the fire break gate to run palisades
    big easy was open, so we took it to the fire break gate to run palisades

    We got 3 nice runs on Palisades until heavenly closed the gondola for wind :(


    nice runs to burnt forest (2000ft vertical), the rest was more crappy snow
    nice runs to burnt forest (2000ft vertical), the rest was more crappy snow

    back up for more
    back up for more

    nice lenticular cloud that came from the pretty heavy wind
    nice lenticular cloud that came from the pretty heavy wind

    bridge back to firebreak and the bottom of the gondola
    bridge back to firebreak and the bottom of the gondola


    And after those 3 nice runs, sadly half of heavenly closed and despite it being barely 13:30, we decided that the rest of heavenly wasn't worth it, so we both went home. Thanks Ovidiu for being my guide for the half day :)

    2019/02/12 First Snowmobile Trip around Mt Tremblant, Canada
    π 2019-02-12 01:01 in Cars, Snow
    After arriving in Mt Tremblant, and snowboarding a few hours, I confirmed that anything not groomed was sheer ice, so I figured I might as well try some snowmobiling instead while waiting for the incoming ft+ storm.

    I had to drive 20mn to a nearby town and rent for a local store. They just gave me a 2mn briefing on what button does what, a crappy map showing me where to go (this included crossing multiple roads). Sadly, I ended up missing a turn that was not obvious at all and had to ride on the street only to figure out that a snowmobile cannot turn at all on asphalt, making things very hard.
    Eventually I got help and directions back towards the trail and had a great 70km 2h30 ride across cold canadian wilderness.
    I could have flipped the thing multiple times and hurt myself easily. I did top out at 100kph and caught air at least once, as well as scared myself a few times but managed not to understeer into a river or a half frozen lake :)

    This probably wouldn't last more than a few days if they allowed americans to rent those things with no guidance, or a proper map (I had to use my GPS more than once to find breadcrumbs back), or over drive off the trail into a tree, or a lake :)

    Either way, definitely had fun, and this probably beat any speed limited guided tour available anywhere else.






    yeah, the planes were unexpected
    yeah, the planes were unexpected



    I eventually reached a place that had dog sleigh rides, and turned back there
    I eventually reached a place that had dog sleigh rides, and turned back there


    Covered wooden bridge, very nice
    Covered wooden bridge, very nice







    2019/02/12 2.5 days at Mt Tremblant
    π 2019-02-12 01:01 in Snow
    Because I happened to be nearby for the Porsche ice driving school, I figured I might as well go check out Mt Tremblant, especially as I went to its racetrack in the summer 8 years ago and while we were there, they nicely gave us a ride to the ski resort during the summer.

    It almost looked the same :)


    Anyway, I left my previous hotel bright and early for the 1h drive to Mt Tremblant. A big storm was coming in later that day, so it was great to have a room at the Marriott with underground parking and walking to the slopes:



    the village is cute
    the village is cute


    given that it was a weekday without new snow, no lines
    given that it was a weekday without new snow, no lines

    this was a summary of the resort: ice city...
    this was a summary of the resort: ice city...



    Sadly, the first day was cold (-18C) and no new snow. Due to freezing rain the week prior, the entire place was covered with ice outside of trails that were groomed, but the grooming only lasted so long:

    going down to soleil was a big mistake, sun facing slopes were of course sheer ice
    going down to soleil was a big mistake, sun facing slopes were of course sheer ice


    After a few hours or doing mostly boring groomers and hating my life the moment I left groomers, so I left the slopes by noon and went snowmobiling instead.


    Thankfully the next morning we got over 30cm of new snow, which fixed a lot of things:



    my hotel gave me an early tracks pass, was able to up 45mn earlier, score
    my hotel gave me an early tracks pass, was able to up 45mn earlier, score

    it snowed most of the day, so we got more
    it snowed most of the day, so we got more


    it didn't suck, but the snow was barely enough to cover the ice in places
    it didn't suck, but the snow was barely enough to cover the ice in places



    not a big sign
    not a big sign

    wait, I'm out of bounds? Since when?
    wait, I'm out of bounds? Since when?

    the village was more snowy by the end of the day :)
    the village was more snowy by the end of the day :)




    hot tubs were missing an Arturo :)
    hot tubs were missing an Arturo :)

    Day 3 got another 15 to 20cm, which helped refill the tracks somewhat from the previous day:



    haha, great that they tell you
    haha, great that they tell you

    oh boy, some of the translations were wrong. This one actually said the opposite...
    oh boy, some of the translations were wrong. This one actually said the opposite...

    a bit of a line, but I was almost first to go up
    a bit of a line, but I was almost first to go up

    not so warm either, but good to keep the snow
    not so warm either, but good to keep the snow

    the north facing side had 3 good high speed chairs and better snow
    the north facing side had 3 good high speed chairs and better snow

    more snow
    more snow

    pseudo side-country was pretty good
    pseudo side-country was pretty good


    'le edge', haha
    'le edge', haha

    short moment of sun
    short moment of sun

    other side country
    other side country

    By 12:30 I got off the slopes to get back to the airport, but had yummy of poutine (with chicken and bacon) for the drive back :)


    See more images for 2.5 days at Mt Tremblant
    2019/01/31 Company Outing at Northstar
    π 2019-01-31 01:01 in Snow
    This was my 2nd outing to Northstar with my group. This year we had snow at least, unfortunately it was mostly freeze/thaw snow, but Northstar did a good job grooming it so that the trails were ok enough to ride. Anyting outside of that was sheer misery and ice, though.

    The sad part was leaving just as a storm rolled in, bringing in 2-4ft of snow...











    See more images for Company Outing at Northstar
    2019/01/06 Couple of Powder Days at Kirkwood with Arturo
    π 2019-01-06 01:01 in Snow
    Snow started a bit late this year. The first real snow started when I was leaving for Xmas, so I missed that. As luck would have it during a mere 4 days I was home between a France and New Zealand trip, we got a nice storm system that hit Tahoe. The storm was tricky, changed a lot, initially dumped less snow at Kirkwood than planned, and stranded a lot of people in Lake Tahoe on sunday night as the roads closed for the night.

    Day #1 was a bit busy, but not terribly so. Sadly only 6" in the morning, but more fell during the day:

    we were in line at Cornice
    we were in line at Cornice

    but the wall ended up opening first
    but the wall ended up opening first

    cornice got a bit busy when it opened
    cornice got a bit busy when it opened


    KW tried to stay open as long as they good despite hellish winds and terrible viz at the tops, and eventually had to close around 15:00. Not a big deal, we had had enough fun by then

    Day #2 got a bunch of snow overnight, but it was a bit wet (almost sierra cement), and because both roads to KW were closed. As a result, KW opened very late as the snow was dangerous and they were short staffed since somehow they still let some of their critical staff drive back to South Lake before a storm that is likely to segment KW. In the end, they only opened at 11:30 which was kind of pathetic, but they made up for it by opening Cornice just before noon, and the Wall arount 14:00, which was really good, especially given the very few crowds:



    not really crowded
    not really crowded

    that viz was still better than the viz from the previous afternoon
    that viz was still better than the viz from the previous afternoon

    by 14:30, we finally got to see the sky for a short time, while enjoying 5-6 runs off the wall
    by 14:30, we finally got to see the sky for a short time, while enjoying 5-6 runs off the wall



    Day #2 was definitely good once things opened, especially with so few people on the mountain.

    2018/04/12 Late Season Quick Powder Day at Sugarbowl
    π 2018-04-12 01:01 in Snow
    This year was not the best snow year in Tahoe, it only got good in March, making for a short season. After that, we got warm weather and a lot of melting.
    And out of nowhere, a cold front came. Unfortunately, the initially promised 12 inches for sugarbowl became a mere 5 inches by the time we arrived, so that was a bit of a let down, but eh, it was still snow :)
    This wasn't quite enough to cover the ice underneath and wind blown locations were sheer ice given that the new snow was actually cold and light.

    I hadn't been to Sugarbowl in over 10 years, so it was nice to go back and give it a shot. A big thanks to Marius who was a trooper and drove us there and back when I was clearly not awake.









    By the end of day, clouds came in and it was starting to ice up a bit, so we had enough and went back.

    2018/03/23 Day Trip at Kirkwood with Johannes
    π 2018-03-23 01:01 in Snow
    We left around 05:00 and by the time we crossed 88, Caltrans had no news about them opening, or them even working on it. Sadly they were actually working on it, but failed to say anything about it. After we had well passed the junction point, I got an alert that Carson Spur had opened, so we took a very non obvious (which Johannes described as "scenic" :) ).

    We got to Kirkwood 45mn later than needed due to the long detour, but still made it by 09:15 or so. Because cornice did not open until 10:00 or so, and the Wall not until noon-ish, we did not miss out too much despite arriving later than planned. The snow was packed powder due to the water content, but it was still powder. Better than sierra cement or ice :) Crowds were not terrible, thanks to it being a friday.

    the wall was bombed a lot
    the wall was bombed a lot

    we had a mix of sun, high wind and snow flurries
    we had a mix of sun, high wind and snow flurries




    glad to see another smart snowboarder, with poles :)
    glad to see another smart snowboarder, with poles :)

    Thanks Johannes for getting us there and back!


    More pages: March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 November 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 April 2015 March 2015 December 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 December 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 March 2011 February 2011 December 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 March 2009 February 2009 December 2008 April 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 December 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 November 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004