Sierra at Tahoe – Opening Weekend

Driving through the town of South Lake Tahoe it resembled more of a ghost town

Overlooking US-50 from Sierra-at-Tahoe

Overlooking US-50 from Sierra-at-Tahoe

instead of the bustling town it normally is on a powder day. The Gondola sat eerily still due to the major storm that wreaked havoc across the Tahoe basin. Gusts of over 140 mph were felt along the crest of the Sierra Nevada causing down trees and power outages. Unfortunately this large storm only left three inches of snow over South Lake Tahoe. Whisking out of town and into Meyers you could immediately see that this side of the mountains received quite a bit more snow. As the car began to climb to the top of Echo Summit the walls of snow grew even larger. A few miles down the road making the turn into Sierra at Tahoe the entrance looked more like something you would see in Wyoming and less Tahoe. It was peaceful, no cars were seen, and the trees were loaded with snow. Finally approaching the parking lot we were invited to park by the lot attendant almost at the base of lifts. Stepping out of the car with the sun shining you could see that the snow report was true! They had really received 16 inches of fresh snow from the last storm and had power! Today, it was on!!!! A powder day for opening weekend!

Sierra had opened on Friday at noon with epic conditions.

Base of Sierra at Tahoe looking down Lower Main

Base of Sierra at Tahoe looking down Lower Main

Fortunately, there was still fresh snow to be had everywhere on Saturday. With Grandview Express running we headed up to explore what was open. With no one around we began to take laps on Sugar n Spice followed by Hemlock and finishing up on Lower Main. The mountain operations had done a fantastic job grooming the open runs, but made sure to leave the sides ungroomed allowing everyone to find a few powder stashes to slash through. Riding up the lift Upper Dynamite still seemed a little rocky and needed a lot more snow before a person could hit it. Luckily, Castle was open. Our first black diamond of the year!!! We were all amped to hit it!

Castle was ungroomed and technical.

It was filled with little bumps and moguls everywhere forcing you to focus on the activity at hand and choose your lines. With hoots and hollers we enjoyed the peace as everyone else kept on the green runs that were open on the other part of the mountain. At about noon the secret had been released to the masses and everyone began to show up. The lift lines were still small, but the amount of people on the runs began to make it difficult to do any carving. Fortunately, this time of year the sun shines at a low angle leaving all the snow in fantastic shape so you could go back tomorrow.

Looking up Castle

Looking up Castle

In comparison to the other opening weekends, Sierra at Tahoe made sure there’s went off with a bang!!! It had been over 10 years since I’ve been to Sierra and the realization of the size and style of terrain available will definitely make us come back and hit it even harder!

After a good day of riding we hit up the newest brewery in South Lake. You are definitely going to want to check this place out. Stay tuned and look for Local Freshies review of Cold Water Brewing later this week!

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