©2018 by Will Boyer for Nevada Backcountry. 

Something to be Thankful for, Pre-Thanksgiving Snow

November 23, 2017

We were blessed with snow this November.  Tahoe got lucky, and was slammed with an early season storm which plastered the high elevations with a cement-like layer.  A few feet of the deepest densest snow imaginable, with a bit of pow as the cherry on top.  The Nevada ski season went from zero to hero overnight, game off to game on, no shots to face shots.  With resorts open into July last year, it was almost like the ski season never left.

 

After last year's record breaking snowfall, the hype for this season is palpable.  Everyone was fired up, and tracks graced the mountains almost immediately.  With early season conditions, it was best to head somewhere high elevation.  For many, this meant the Mt. Rose zone.  

 

Several groups were particularly fired up, and decided that it would be a good idea to head out in the thick of the blizzard.  They triggered a good sized slide on the hourglass bowl of Tamarack Peak (report here).  Just for the record, the Sierras are usually pretty stable unless you go out after its snowed 2+ feet in 24 hours.

 

We went out the day after the storm, and were treated to some of the best early season turns I've ever had.  The Galena Peaks were particularly tasty.  We dug a pit and determined that snow conditions looked "kinda" stable, then proceeded to ski one of the steepest backcountry lines I've ever skied (hey, above 45 degrees is less likely to slide, right?).  It was awesome!

 

The slide on hourglass.

 

The horse chute was totally rimed, and even featured pillows at the bottom.

 

 Beefcake was stoked for the early season goods!

 

I had the opportunity to get out in the Mt. Rose zone for a few more tours before I got too stuffed with Turkey.  One of those was for a foolish twilight skin in the rain.  We had a warm storm, and I had hoped that it would still be snowing at the higher elevations.  Nope!  Rain to 10,000 feet.  I worked all day, and had to get out for some exercise.  Clynt couldn't find his skins, but found them and showed up at the trailhead around 4:30.  Time to go....wait its raining.

 

We opted to hit the fireplug, which was quite sloppy and wet.  I got to the top and de-skinned in the thickening darkness.  I knew I wanted to ski it while I could still see, and that wasn't going to be much longer.  Clynt was just behind me, and dropped in afterwards.  I couldn't see him, but could occasionally hear some whooping.  It was thick, but still smooth and creamy.

 

The next day I got out for a sunnier ski to Mt Houghton.  The conditions were total slop, but it was nice to be able to see.  Even though it wasn't that far, my legs were torched from a lack of skiing so far this year.  Luckily the rain didn't wreck the snowpack too much, and it was still a good tour.  I feel like I'm at least validated in stockpiling calories during thanksgiving (or at least earned some pie!).

 

The goods that Mt Houghton offers.  Yeah lets ski that

 

View towards Relay from Houghton

 

Tahoe in its Glory

 

The Nevada ski season is off to an excellent start.  Keep those fingers crossed for more snow, and especially some to blanket the Great Basin!

 

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