Wiping my eyes, I couldn’t believe what I was reading on the weather forecast… not just a few inches but possibly up to a FOOT of new snow in May? A mini-storm cycle?!?! I just didn’t believe it. While most of the resorts had shut down their lifts, three were still running… Heavenly Mountain, Alpine Meadows, & Squaw Valley. The decision for us was should we head to a resort or venture into the backcountry? With only a few lifts operating at Heavenly, the choice was simple… let’s earn our turns. Result: The BEST May Powder Day in Lake Tahoe we’ve EVER had.
California Left High & Dry… Until Now
While Colorado, Utah, and even Arizona were still getting inundated with snow, California was left high and dry. That doesn’t mean the skiing has been bad though. In fact, we finally got a chance to ski the BEST corn snow of the season in Lassen National Park just a few weeks back. The question now was, “Would we get to keep our streak of having a May powder day in Lake Tahoe going?”
Will The Tradition Continue On Skiing Powder In May?
For the past two years, we’ve been able to sniff out one more powder day in May. Last year, we eked out one on May 1st. The year before, it was on May 17th. Heck, we even skied Mt. Tallac one year in May. Compared to years past, this time around the rain had already transitioned to snow all the way down to the Tahoe Basin. The snow danced down to the ground but didn’t stick on warm surfaces like the road.
Mid-Winter Snow… In May!!!
As the alarm rang all too early, we got up to a sight like no other. The newly sprouted trees, flowers, and grasses were all covered in a bright white blanket of snow. It was like Christmas for skiers and snowboarders… one more chance to shred some fresh snow before putting the gear away. Shoveling a bowl of oatmeal into my mouth, we zip out of the house.
Snow Is Deeper Than Expected…
Making a left onto Luther Pass, we ascend out of the basin. Whereas the roads in town were snow-less, the asphalt above 7,000’ was covered in it. And they were slippery as ever with chain controls up too. We arrive at our zone and step out of the truck. Wow, it looks like there is AT LEAST 6 inches of snow… and it’s dry!
Step By Step… We Inch Upwards
Separating our splitboards, we slap on our skins, strap our feet to them and begin climbing. Trudging up the mountain, the cold air feels good on our skin. This late in the year, the snow is holding up well. While we’d love to get to the top, the wind-affected snow looks a bit sketchy and we don’t want to risk it. We decide to keep on the lower angle terrain and just enjoy the bounty safely.
It’s Better Than We Could’ve Imagined
Jaime goes first and drops down onto the run. The snow is the BEST snow we’ve skied in May. Dry and deep… it’s so deep in fact, it feels bottomless. We bounce from turn to turn enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty all the way to the car. Looking up at our handiwork, we grin. Was it the deepest or driest of the season? Nope. But it definitely was the sweetest day of the year.