Besides last October, the Lake Tahoe ski season normally starts slow and on a ribbon of manmade snow. But as they say, records are made to be broken. The beginning of the 2022-23 winter all across the Western United States & Canada has bucked that trend which included our own homebase Lake Tahoe! Mt Rose Opening Day 2022 was set and so my good friend Aaron and I decided to head north to see how good it was.
Snow-vember Is Here!
Reading the snow report from BA at OpenSnow, November has provided Mt Rose with almost three FEET of snow. This set them in at a whopping 133% above average season-to-date snowfall. Even if it was fully groomed, the excitement to ski REAL snow on opening day made us giddy like kids on Christmas.
Relax Theo It’s Christmas
And just like Christmas, I woke up before the alarm excited for what the day would bring. The temperature on our thermostat read a frigid 6 degrees. Forecasters were saying it was going to be a high of 33 so I assumed it would warm up fast. The question was how quick. So, I decided to rock the mid-winter gear since we’d be done early.
Cubby Bear Don’t Care
Aaron pulled up and I hopped in the truck. And I yelled to him, “Yo holmes to Mt Rose!” We were chillin’ out, maxin, relaxin’, all cool through the quiet streets of South Tahoe. Suddenly a cubby bear who was up to no good hopped in a car in my neighborhood. We begged and pleaded, honked and shouted but the bear (yes, a real one) didn’t care. He grabbed a granola bar and ran down the street. Alas with a big sigh we said, “We might as well head on out.”
Sand Harbor Beauty
One of the great things about heading this early to Mt Rose was that we could enjoy the views of the East Shore of Lake Tahoe without the summer crowds. The sun shined brightly on the crystal-like waters of Big Blue as we zipped by Sand Harbor and into Incline Village. Ascending over Mt Rose summit, we make the final turn into the Mt Rose parking lot. The thermostat in the truck already reads 30 degrees! I should’ve guessed it… an inversion. That means the lower elevations have colder air and it gets warmer the higher you climb.
Reno Shows Up
The parking lot is nearly full and yet the energy is positive. Suddenly I realize this is due to all the kids in Reno having off for Veterans Day. And yet everywhere you look, you’re greeted by people smiling and glowing faces of excitement. Each person knows to be skiing on November 11th is a rare treat, and with fresh snow, it’s the frosting on an award-winning cupcake.
Not Your Normal Opening Day
In past winters, Mt Rose Opening Day usually included only the Wizard lift which accesses their low-angle terrain within the valley. Not this year. Yet another reason there were so many folks at the Mt Rose Opening Day 2022 is because they opened and ran the Northwest Magnum six-person chair. This one gives you access to their summit and more than 1,300 vertical feet. Although the lift lines were long, they were orderly and went pretty fast.
Finally, It’s Our Turn
Shooting out of the lift, we pull over to the side and strap in. Grinning ear-to-ear, Aaron and I slap high fives. Ski season is finally here! The first few turns are a little rusty, but like a good friend, the technique slowly starts to come back. Each vertical foot gets faster, and we gain confidence.
Smooth Vanilla Goodness
The conditions are way above my expectations. The snow is carve-able and soft. What you’d expect to find mid-winter and not opening day. The only inkling that it is early season is the steeper terrain is closed and looks like chocolate chip ice cream. After a few more runs, sadly it’s time to head home. With Mt Rose in the rearview mirror, our hope is this is but a small sampling of a great 2022-23 ski season.