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:

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



2010/03/31 Powder Day at Heavenly
π 2010-03-31 00:00 in Snow
Snowforecast.com had predicted up to 26 inches at heavenly and up to 30 inches at kirkwood. Arturo and I decided we had to go check it out, but due to past bad experiences with Carson Spur closing during big storms and making it hard to reach Kirkwood, we went for South Lake Tahoe.
Turns out the storm was late and we could actualy have driven to Kirkwood that evening. Bummer...

The next morning, Heavenly reported 18 inches and kirkwood 20 to 24 inches. We figured 18 inches was good enough and we'd be better off skiing the trees at Heavenly than fighting the crowds that were likely to have gone to Kirkwood.
Well, Heavenly was ok but not great or epic unfortunately. The asshole who reported 18 inches probably also told his wife that he was 18 inches... Maybe they put the dipstick sideways at Mott Canyon.

looked promising
looked promising

yes, we're going to ride this today :)
yes, we're going to ride this today :)


In some places under Sky Express, it felt like 6-10 inches with ice under and in others it was maybe a foot.

On one of my first runs, I rode a very big rock, and it put a pretty deep and wide gash in my board. Riding flat sections after that sucked ass due to drag:


Doesn't look like much, but slowed me down a *lot*
Doesn't look like much, but slowed me down a *lot*

The first 2 runs in Mott were pretty nice but not stellar. It was a good day, but disappointing compared to what it could have done in other places like Kirkwood. Bummer...

Waiting for the gate
Waiting for the gate

Mott got tracked out after one run. IT also didn't look so deep
Mott got tracked out after one run. IT also didn't look so deep

At least the view was nice
At least the view was nice

First run down Mott, gold run style:




Nice little run with Arturo down Aries Woods:


At least Heavenly had the nice views going for itself still:






The day wasn't bad, but it just wasn't anywhere close to epic, which was a bit disappointing. Oh well...

Here are the snow days stats for Our Day At Heavenly.

See more images for Powder Day at Heavenly
2010/03/20 Flight and Snowboarding weekend Mammoth
π 2010-03-20 00:00 in Flying, Snow
We had a nice early spring weekend coming up and while I was pissed off for not being at kirkwood enjoying the fresh powder last weekend, I made plans for flying to Mammoth this weekend.
I owed Arturo a flight there since he had never gone, so that was a good time to make good on my promise, and thankfully he was able to come that weekend, so it was a plan.




plane was quite loaded, getting the snowboards in was 'fun' :)
plane was quite loaded, getting the snowboards in was 'fun' :)

Mammoth 1
Mammoth 1

Mammoth 2
Mammoth 2

Mammoth 3
Mammoth 3

Mammoth 4
Mammoth 4

Mammoth 5
Mammoth 5



The conditions at Mammoth were typical spring: a mix of icy, corn, and slush. The second day was actually pretty icy due to some pretty strong winds which kept the temperatures low and prevented much the ice from melting.

Honestly, the conditions weren't great and Mammoth would totally rock on a powder day. It's however unlikely that I could fly there just around a storm without getting stuck there, but I plan to try one day :)

Anyway, Arturo had a great time discovering Mammoth with snow, and as a piece of advise don't play the "name this peak" game with him: you will lose flat out :)

We covered most of the mountain, except some really boring/icy parts (although we did do some other very icy parts too :) ).


All pictures are georeferrenced. You can just click on them to see their location on a map.


we saw the Mammoth skiing later :)
we saw the Mammoth skiing later :)












nice view, but a sucky icy ride down
nice view, but a sucky icy ride down

Cloud 9 Express was shut down but we got on top of it
Cloud 9 Express was shut down but we got on top of it

Here are the snow days stats for Day1 and Day2.

Here are a couple of runs off chair 23:




The flight back was interesting: we had 50mph winds on the peak of Mammoth and wind was due east, which meant potentially sizeable mountain waves over the Sierras and we were on the wrong side of them (mountain waves can smack your plane down much faster than you can fly out of them).
Mountain Waves, how to recognize and deal with them are subjects of entire books, but on that day they were hard to see due to low moisture (no clouds to give clues) and the wind was strong enough that they could potentially cause up and downdrafts of 1000fpm or more (note that in our case we were flying against the wind, which is much harder).

Anyway, I called the FSS folks (flight weather forecast), and watched a few planes crossing the Sierras without being smacked on the ground, so I felt confident enough to go up and try crossing back to go home (with a backup plan of coming back if things looked bad).
We first headed north towards Mono lake for a scenic flight and so that we could come back via Yosemite and lose the "name the peak" game with Arturo :)
I was able to pick up some nice updrafts from the mountain wave while flying up hwy 395 and with 15,000ft of altitude in the bank, it felt reasonable to start crossing. I basically was pitched up flying at 90kts and the downdraft was gentle enough that it allowed us to mostly maintain altitude (it would go up and down 500ft, which was reasonable).

The flight back made for some nice pictures:



the nice crater by mono lake, much nicer as seen from the sky
the nice crater by mono lake, much nicer as seen from the sky





lenticular/rotor cloud visible on the leeward side of Tahoe
lenticular/rotor cloud visible on the leeward side of Tahoe



not quite maintaining altitude with a good pitch up and 45kt headwind
not quite maintaining altitude with a good pitch up and 45kt headwind





Despite the strong headwind over the Sierras and the scenic detour, the flight was 1h45. It was quite nice to be on my couch, stuff unpacked, having dinner and looking at my pictures a mere 3 hours after we left the slopes.

2010/03/04 Company Ski Trip at Squaw
π 2010-03-04 00:00 in Snow
Day 1 was disappointing. There were 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow and because of poor organization and a stupid bus driver that needlessly stopped us in Auburn for almost 30mn, by the time we got to Squaw there was actually a traffic jam and it took 45mn to drive from hwy 80 to the Squaw entrance (a mere few miles).

It was already 10:30 by the time I made it to the first lift and by the time I got to the top, most powder had been well tracked out by hordes of local who had come that morning. Fairly disappointing :(

The snow was till good, but I sure wasn't swimming in powder like I was hoping. Later that day, the sun got overcast and the melted powder started icing up. Very sad... (and due to the fact that Squaw is way too low altitude-wise).

nice and sunny in the morning, melted the powder
nice and sunny in the morning, melted the powder

even the back was pretty skied out
even the back was pretty skied out



Track for Day 1

The next day, I just used to explore the edges of Squaw had had not gone to, espespecially as the main front sucks anyway since you're funneled back to a bunch of flat sections.

Riding Silverado was interesting: the terrain was very challenging since it was easy to get cliffed out and ski patrol didn't go out of their way to mark that side of the mountain. There lots of spots with slopes beyond 60 degrees but leading down to a mixture of ice and rocks :-/ A couple of times I ended up in a not so good spot and had to carefully get out of it.

Thankfully the snow did not ice up on the second day and I got to see most of the edges of Squaw. The one lowpoint was that the bolt holding the back plate of my NXT flow binding came out again, and I wasted close to 45mn doing a field repair. Thankfully I actually had the right tools and a set of the very special screws and bolts required (so I'm not carrying that heavy backpack for nothing :) ).




I took the line down between the gondola and cable car. A bit low on snow, but more scenic and different
I took the line down between the gondola and cable car. A bit low on snow, but more scenic and different

Track for Day 2

See more images for Company Ski Trip at Squaw

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