Marc's Public Blog - Skiing / Snowboarding / Snow


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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:

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2009/02/28 Mixed Snow weekend at Heavenly and Kirkwood
π 2009-02-28 00:00 in Snow
On saturday morning, on the way up, we were pondering whether we should go for Kirkwood first or Heavenly first. Because by then the weather was forecast to have more snow on sunday while being nicer on saturday, I offered to go to Heavenly saturday to enjoy the nicer views, and hope for the K-factor to do its job on sunday.

Saturday ended up being downgraded from a foot of snow to none at all, so it was a good idea to be at Heavenly as we got to enjoy the lake views and rode in pretty good weather. I still hate heavenly for all its flat (or uphill) spots, but a couple of rides in Mott Canyon were decent, and the later part of the day, rides from sky express dropping in random places from the traverse to Nevada, were actually pretty good.

Looks like I had a bit too much fun with my board last time
Looks like I had a bit too much fun with my board last time







Sunday morning was disappointing because we had gotten 0 snow still, but we headed to kirkwood, as planned. The first rides were a bit crunchy and whatever powder was left has a crusty top, making turns fairly hard. To make things worse, the back side was closed, and even corniche was closed (they claimed wind hold, but wind was not that bad at the top).
So, we were left with riding the wall, which they could not fill to capacity due to it being half broken, which soon gave for long lines.
Luckily, it started snowing soon after the lifts opened, and by noon, it was snowing pretty hard. By then Corniche has finally opened (about freaking time), and the afternoon made for much better riding in pretty wet, but still fresh snow. For the last hour, we had enough new snow that it felt like a powder day :) That's a good thing since Jennifer was here for her first time this year, and the weekend wsa worthy enough :)
I also found out after the day was over, was that Heavenly apparently had many of its lifts closed for winds while they barely got any snow while Kirkwood got enough powder by the end of the day that it was fairly nice to ride.


Beautiful weather at kirkwood :)
Beautiful weather at kirkwood :)


and here's the track & stats of the day at heavenly
and here's the track & stats of the day at kirkwood.

2009/02/18 Ridiculous Snow Day at Kirkwood
π 2009-02-18 00:00 in Snow
After spending the day looking through the window at the crapload of rain we got at home. I was watching the status on nexrad and could tell that the precipitation was barely crossing the Sierras. As a result, kirkwood on the west side of the mountains got dumped on while other resorts in Tahoe got some snow, but not huge amounts, and overall bad weather (high winds, lift closures, etc...).
Yet, even with the lift closures and bad weather, I was kind of wishing that I had been to kirkwood when I was at work on tuesday, and that's when I looked at the weather report and realized that not only kirkwood had gotten another 2ft since everyone left monday evening (president's day 3 day weekend), but it was due to have another foot tuesday and nice sunny weather wednesday.
3ft of fresh powder in sunny non windy weather was not something one could pass up, so I asked around and found a coworker who agreed with me :) as well as my snowboarding buddy Bob. As a result, I got up at 03:50 and by 04:30 the three of us were on our way to kirkwood to get there in time for first lift. We may have overdone it a bit, but we were there by 08:10, with plenty of time to spare.

What can I saw about the day? It was more then epic: I had never experienced over 3ft of fresh powder (in spots that had been closed and just got opened back today), and while I thought I was a decent powder snowboarder, today I realized that 3 ft of fresh powder is actually too much for me: despite having my binding stance as far back as they'd go, and knowing the basics of powder: keep your speed and lean back, it was too easy to just sink in deep powder and eventually have my weight shift forward, my nose dive in, and then either lose balance or just get stuck with my feet and board very well stuck under 3 ft of snow :)
Getting out of that situation is no fun, your hands are useless since you can't push against powder, so I basically had to throw my body (and basically face) forward, and roll so that I could eventually lift my board out of the very heavy powder that was keeping it down. I had to do this a few times, it was very straineous, and a good lesson that there can be too much of a good thing :)

But when I stuck to more reasonable 1ft powder stashes, it was a lot easier :)
I also got lucky today by managing close enough to first lift on Corniche, Wall, Eagle Bowl, and then Sunrise, giving nice powder runs each time :)



You might think this looks cool until you realize I had my board on and had to get out of this :)
You might think this looks cool until you realize I had my board on and had to get out of this :)



Looking back at the day, it was both serious fun and very challenging, even if I didn't have the equipment or skill to make the best of them, the conditions were truly incredible: the best I have seen in 10 years of snowboarding.
It is however a bummer that because we had such a great day today, the snow will be mostly crap tomorrow because it was warm enough that it melted, and by the end of the day as the sun set, I could already tell that it was icing and crusting up on top. That's a shame for those who'll be there tomorrow :(

and here's the track & stats of the day.

See more images for Ridiculous Snow Day at Kirkwood
2009/02/08 Stupid Cop
π 2009-02-08 00:00 in Snow
When driving saturday, they had chain control on 88 around 8 (past Cook's station) when quite frankly the road conditions were fairly good by then (ice apparently had mostly melted by that time).

The chain control guy was stopping every car to say be careful because of ice and earlier cars that lost it (probably over an hour ago) and the chain control had a 25mph sign.

15mn down the road, after passing over a crest, we get flagged by some pissed off CHP who was yelling at us for doing an estimated 40 (he had no radar, he just eyed it) when quite frankly we weren't pushing it at all and the road was actually fairly good.
While we got ticketed, he started stopping and yelling at other cars all doing over 25 too, and stopped the next car he could get after "taking care of us".

When we drove 25 for the rest of the road to kirkwood, it just enticed pissed off traffic behind us to do dodgy passes, creating more harm and danger than allowing people to drive a more reasonable speed.

In the meantime, the ticket is of course there, and I'm guessing they'll be there next weekend too, so if the conditions are similar, you get the choice between not risking a ticket too much and risking to create accidents while blocking traffic, or going a more reasonable speed and risking a ticket.

Good luck :-//

2009/02/07 Tahoe Weekend with Bill, Johannes & Arturo
π 2009-02-07 00:00 in Snow
As sad as it is to say, this was probably the 3rd fresh snow weekend of the season. The snowpack was worringly low (90" at the top for kirkwood, a mere 48" at the top for Heavenly (!), for that matter Heavenly was still making snow at higher elevations and had some top trails closed due to coverage issues). For comparison, a top year for kirkwood has brought 804", or about 7 times more when we're already half way through the season

Anyway, snow fell, so we had to be there. It's true that there was a lot of uncovered or badly covered terrain, one could not even drop safely from the wall, due to lack of coverage still, but there were enough covered spots with enough snow to still have a good time. We also got to try the "new" tow rope at the top of the wave, and got way way out of bounds as a result :) This was the first time I actually used my GPS at kirkwood to find out if we were hiking back towards the lift, or not.




Arturo, stuck over rocks
Arturo, stuck over rocks

kite surfing on an ice lake
kite surfing on an ice lake

Here's a track of my day at kirkwood.

That night, we stayed at the very nice Alpenrose Inn, walking distance from the Heavenly Gondola.
Day 2, we went to Heavenly. It only got a few inches of fresh snow, but by skiing Mott Canyon and trees (and Heavenly does have a lot of tree terrain), it was actually quite good despite the fairly windy and cold weather.


this was as nice as the weather ever got
this was as nice as the weather ever got


I can't believe that heavenly was still making snow
I can't believe that heavenly was still making snow




snow coverage was borderline coverage for february
snow coverage was borderline coverage for february

pretty sights though
pretty sights though



and here's a track of my day at heavenly.

Thanks much to Arturo for getting our butts there, and back.


More pages: 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