Sun Cup City

Carson Trail Hope Valley Summer Snowboarding Skiing

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

It’s mid-June and in the west there’s still good snow. Being snowboarders, the logical choice is to ride it. After all we have been complaining the last several years about the lack thereof, so it seemed almost sacrilege not to partake! Luckily, we know a crew just like us from the North Shore. A few texts go back and forth and Carson Pass on Highway 88 in California is the destination.

Carson Luther Pass 1200x900

Plans were made to be at the cross-roads of the Carson and Luther Pass Trails the following morning.

Freezing in June?

Carson Pass Jeep 1_cropped
Mountain Man waiting

Wanting to time the snow perfectly we arrive at the junction a few minutes early. It was a lot colder than expected. You could even use the term “freezing.” At the rendezvous location we look towards the mountains. In the distance the snow is gleaming in the sun.

What building?

Photo courtesy Deckerra L to R: Sara BC, DCSkate, Zack.Holm, Mountain Man, and Chitown Hoodie
Photo courtesy Ryan Decker L to R: Sara BC, DCSkate, Zack.Holm, Mountain Man, and Chitown Hoodie

When Zack arrives we get a quick intro to Sara, husband Doug (dog Kelly) and Ryan. Shaking hands we talk about our season and the all the adventures. The conversation then jumps to the destination of the day. The verdict is to park at Carson Pass sno-park. Then, dry hike from there to the snow and eventually climb Roundtop Peak. Hopping back into our ride we get back on the road. Pulling up, we notice the parking lot is full of hikers. We are one of the few groups that have skis and boards strapped on our backs. Gearing up we look over towards the entrance of this section of the Pacific Crest Trail and are shocked to see a building. In mid-winter that structure is buried under ten feet of snow, but at this time of year it’s open for business.

On the trail

Carson Pass Hike 5 1200x900
Mountain Man and Deckerra

Finally, the trek begins. On the trail small patches of snow hideout in the shade, but the path is open and clear. Short day trippers looking for photo ops pass in the opposite direction giving us questioning glances. A few even ask “Is there even snow?” We grin and nod. Further along we cross paths with a hiker that has a larger backpack as well as a sleeping pad. Shane asks, “Are you hiking the Pacific Crest Trail?” He confirms and talks about the journey. There is a mutual respect between us because it’s evident; we are all following our passions.


Carson Pass Snow 1

Talking while hiking time seems to pass fairly quickly and before we know it the canopy of trees begins to disappear and we start to break through the treeline. Standing there for a few minutes we survey the mountains surrounding us. Seems like today will be worth it as we notice there are a number of lines still to choose from. Onward…as we arrive at Lake Winnemucca Sara makes a comment about pond skimming. We didn’t give it much credence and continue to traverse. Looking at our watches we notice that it’s already noon. Today we had a tight schedule. Needing to be home meant a quick scramble up the snow to get a few turns in. Snow conditions were physically perfect, but the sun cups are more like sun buckets!

Photo Courtesy Ryan Decker


…down goes Frazier!!

Making it to our drop, we strap in. The top part of the snow is nice, but as we get closer to the lake the sun cups get bigger and more pronounced. My board gets hooked into one of these craters and I catch an edge and slam forward. The snow is harder than expected as I bite it. Shaking out the cobwebs I get up and finished the run. Finally making it to the bottom we laugh at how difficult the snow is to ride. The consensus…who cares! It’s mid-June and we are still snowboarding. Was it the best snow of the year? Nope. But, it was an amazing adventure with tons of excitement.

Oh and Sara wasn’t BSing!

Carson Pass Pond Skim 1
Photo Courtesy Ryan Decker of SaraBC



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *