Location: Peavine Mtn. and Dogskin Mtn.
Conditions: Filled in and supportable snow to 5,000 feet. Mix of blower pow, windbuff, punchy crusts.
Hazards: Wind loaded pockets
Wow, what an awesome two days its been in Nevada! Our low elevation snowpack is abnormally filled in, and nearly all of the local peaks are skiable. We took advantage of this by getting an (unusually good) descent off Peavine, and skiing a possible first descent on Dogskin Mountain. Lets hope the storms keep rolling, because Nevada rarely (if ever) looks like this! Above 5,000 ft. there is a legitimate snowpack forming, which pretty much never happens. Get it while you can.
A very snowy Peavine, February 22nd, 2019.
Day 1: Peavine
Since the Peavine trailhead is a short 12 minute drive from my house, our plan was to meet at 5:30 AM for a dawn patrol mission, then head to work. Four people, four separate after ski destinations, four cars, you get the picture. Not exactly efficient carpooling, but hey its close!
Four cars also means four times the chances of getting stuck on the road, which we immediately did. Pretty quickly we had two cars stuck, and at one point I think we even had three simultaneously parked in the roadside snowbanks.
Dawn Patrol quickly turned into Dig Patrol, but we still enjoyed a beautiful sunrise.
Finally Dan pulled us all out with a tow strap (big thanks Dan -our hero!), but by that time it was nearly 9:00. Dan and Peter had to go to work (so much for that morning mission), but Colin had no obligations until 12. We decided that we'd put in so much effort that we might as well go skiing for a bit. And so we did...which was definitely the right call!
Never thought I'd get blower POW on Peavine, but we did! It kicked ass.
Details about Peavine: Best parking is off Peavine Road, in Stead. People typically ski up the road to the north or northeast aspect, were some gullies get filled in by the wind. This year however, you can ski just about anywhere. Most of the faces and hillsides are filled in enough for turns, the limiting factor is just finding a trailhead. In general, Peavine Rd. offers good access to all the lines on the Peak though.
Day 2: Dogskin Mtn
With our success on Peavine, Colin wanted to ski another nearby Nevada Peak -which happens to be a geology fieldsite of his. After looking at Dogskin Mtn on Google Earth, I was skeptical to say the least. Located near Pyramid Lake, its summit is a long craggy ridge which barely crests 7,500 ft. But, the Northeast Aspect looked to be long and potentially fun. I decided if it was a no-go that we could always go back to Peavine.
Driving out to Dogskin, it looked bleak. We were staring at its lower elevations and southern side, so there wasn't much snow. But the closer we got, the better it got! We drove past Moonrocks up Winnemucca Ranch Road, and into a narrow valley where we were dwarfed by the mountains northeast side. There were a lot of boulders and exposed rocks, and Bob joked that we could name a new line the "coreshot couloir". I wasn't sure we were going skiing.
Finally we got to the northeast side, and it looked ok. Sure, lets go skiing!
We skinned up through the boulders, and the snow got deeper. Soon we found ourselves looking up the gut of two long chutes, "gunbarrels". We knew we'd have to ski them, and set those as goal #1.
But first, we decided to take a warm up run on the North bowl. Conditions turned out to be pretty decent too! Not the blower Pow from Peavine, but still nice in spots.
We ended up skiing to the summit, and then down the gunbarrel line (later named "The Biggest Little Chute"). We think that our descent may have been the first ever for skis, but who knows!
After two laps, we decided to take a final run through the mahogany "Japanevada" forest. Our last run had us hooting and hollering down the beautiful mahogany covered ridge, and all the way back to the car. The snow had melted out a bit at the bottom, and we were left taking our final turns on grass.
All-in-all a fantastic day, which far exceeded expectations! If we ever get snow like this again I will certainly return to Dogskin Mountain for a rip.
Go ski someplace new, and make sure to have fun with it.
Peace, love, and powshredding,