Ok, it started with getting there, we figured leaving at 15:00 would be early enough, but not so much :( When we finally got to South Lake Tahoe, it was too late and there was too much heavy wet snow for even Arturo's subaru to make it up the hill:
we didn't quite make it across i80 before it closed for accidents and cleaning
we almost made it to the chalet, except the snow was too heavy and too wet
We never made it to the chalet, we had to drive back down and abandon the car in a parking lot. Thankfully Karl had a bigger truck with huge tires and was able to drive up there and take us too. Thankfully we found his car in the parking lot the next morning before it got towed:
digging out didn't work, we could only go down with gravity
Next morning wasn't bad. Most resort reported 3ft of fresh snow, or 4ft if you have a "Heavenly ruler".
neighbour clearing the road so that we could get out of the driveway
The next morning, I made the call that Alpine Meadows would likely not be as busy and bad as Squaw. So, we learned one good thing to know: *DO NOT EVER GO TO ALPINE ON A POWDER DAY*. Alpine will close their own access road to the resort for 1.5 to 2H for avalanche control, preventing you from getting to the resort, unless you got in by 07:30.
We eventually got to the lifts by 10:00, but that's pretty pathetic and a lot of good snow had already been tracked by then:
it was St Patrick's day
ridiculous line at Scott Chair
line to hike to the Sherwood back side when it opened.
So, how was Alpine? It wasn't bad obviously, it's difficult for any place to be bad in those conditions, unless they're so low that the snow is rain. The access road closure was pretty pathetic, especially when it's a re-occuring condition, the lifts were actually fairly crowded, and it was hard to find good runs of pristine powder as it got tracked out much quicker than I was hoping for.
That evening, we enjoyed the Chalet that Karl had found for us. It was a nice place.
Arturo hit a branch :)
The next morning, I made the better call to go to Northstar. Turns out it actually plenty of untracked snow, more than we had the previous day at Alpine. We went for the backside right away, and then did lookout mountain in the afternoon. They were both quite good.
Northstar was actually a great day, and we ended around 15:00 after Karl had a (hopefully) minor injury that ended the day, but the rest of us were pretty skied out anyway.
This brings us to the drive home, and how Caltrans and CHP seem to handle Tahoe roads. Roads weren't that bad, but it only take a few drivers to screw it up for everyone else:
road wasn't that bad when we left, this was close to the pass.
Before long, traffic was held on i80, and then it got closed, and we got stuck on 80 for over 4 hours until traffic moved again:
so much for leaving early and getting out of the snowline in daylight...
Long story short, I wasn't impressed with Caltrans/CHP for apparently not doing enough to slow traffic down, yielding to a few unavoidable accidents and spinouts, and then closing it down for over 4H with a lot of people trapped on it (quite bad, because people run out of gas, or cars ice up when they get stopped).
Caltrans, can't you just plow the road and block it at the same time by having plows go down at 20mph or so, forcing cars to go on a freshly plowed road at low speed? I'm dismayed that they look like they almost let accidents happen and then deal with the much harder job of cleaning it up and dealing with stranded people on the road, and a road that isn't being self cleaned by warm cars and tires.
Took 7.5h to get there, and about 8H to get back. I'm just not impressed, I think they can do better considering that the snow storm was actually not _that_ bad.