Skiers: Alex, Andrew & Nick
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Location: Alpine Meadows, CA
Synopsis: Last week, the Tahoe basin was blessed with an early season storm that 2-3 feet of powder along the upper reaches of the Sierra Crest. Therefore, Alex, Andrew and I headed up to Alpine Meadows for some early season skinning and skiing. In the afternoon once the weather got too warm and the snow conditions too sticky, we got in some good practice on our avalanche rescue scenarios in a mock debris field we created near the base of the mountain. Generally, I tend to shy away from early season skiing in the backcountry as I get concerned about thin coverage and getting hurt. Alpine Meadows seemed like a good bet on both coverage and being familiar with the underlined terrain if we stayed closed to historically groomed areas. Although it was definitely pre-season conditions and AM is not yet open for about month – so we took it easy.
Unfortunately, the weather has since warmed significantly and a rain event up to approximately 7,000 ft. is occurring later in the week, so this good “base” may in fact melt away down low.
I would note that none of us had a camera, so these are all from my iPhone (which is the first time I have ever tried to shoot actual skiing pictures with it). Worse, we accidentally had it in video mode most of the time, so these are mostly screen stills from one second videos. Hence, took a good amount in time in Lightroom to be able to get these to a post-able form. But regardless…
Alex on the skin up to the AM Summit:
Andrew working up with parts of Keyhole off in the upper left – coverage looked thin in there:
Nick and Andrew on the approach. It was a great day and didn’t get too warm until around 10 AM.
The snow up top was still soft and not too sticky, although the lower mountain by 10AM was getting pretty heavy. Andrew at the summit:
Alex measuring the snow depth up high in the quick, informal test. On a serious note, I measured it “officially” with a probe at 100cm in a slightly wind-loaded zone on the summit line.
Coverage is not too bad for October 27th:
The snow in the upper bowl was fun and good coverage (even though it looks like I am going right at the only visible rock). Nice and soft and winterish powder, that slowly got stickier as you proceeded to lower elevation.
Andrew dropping in. For what it’s worth, the Sherwood side that is Southernly facing was entirely bare rocks, as expected.
Here I am getting some of the softer turns of the day:
A couple of Andrew in the lower mountain:
All in all, it was a great day with some good friends getting powder skiing in during late October. The snow was surprisingly good and was stable without good coverage. No injuries and no broken/damaged equipment!
After one lap, it was too hot to make it worth going back up, so we dug out a mock avalanche debris field near the base and practiced beacon searches, digging and rescue scenarios for several hours. It is always very important to brush up early season (and frankly throughout the season).
Here’s hoping to a good 2012-2013 season!