This weekend I kicked off my Lake Tahoe ski season with a beautiful backcountry hike near Mt. Rose. I’ve been to Mammoth Mountain a bunch already this season (a few hours drive South) but I was stoked to be back in Tahoe where I have a lift pass and a ski lease for the season! It certainly hasn’t snowed a ton here lately, but a few good storms laid down enough coverage for some great skin tracks and fun corn snow. It kind of felt like Spring Skiing! Not the best thing to say in mid-January but I’ll take what I can get.
My buddy Matt and I chose to start off the hike at a trailhead on the Mt. Rose Hwy, but we didn’t really have a set plan for where we wanted to go. Picking the route as we hiked and gaging the areas with the best snow offered a nice sense of freedom and really surfaced that “explorer at heart” excitement each time we discovered another grand view or peaceful meadow.
We hiked for about two hours until we arrived on a ridge line. As we exited the crowded forest we were welcomed by an unbelievable view of Lake Tahoe. There were crazy cloud patterns across the entire sky and the lake looked like a nebula with its unusual swirls. Did you know that Lake Tahoe holds enough water to cover the entire state of California in 14 inches of fluid?! It’s the 2nd deepest alpine lake in the US.
A bit further up the ridge we spotted an interesting rocky peak that looked climbable. We decided to skin up to the top and have a quick lunch break there. We scrambled over these rocks and got even better views of the lake. We had no idea what this spot was called so we decided to give it a name. Since a lot of our friends are in Japan skiing Japowder, we dubbed it “NotJapan Peak”. (We’re not jealous…)
After exploring the peak and getting a bit of a wind chill, I bundled up in my jacket and sat down for my favorite hiking lunch: a Superfood Slam PROBAR Meal Bar. It’s like a little nutritious prize for reaching the top. More importantly, it gives your body the proper fuel to ski back down the mountain with energy and power. I’ve learned from ski touring that it’s a real bummer to hike all the way up a mountain and then not have the energy to properly enjoy the turns you earned!
The ski back down was SO MUCH FUN OMG. The snow was soft and forgiving. Ironically the light coverage allowed for lots of playful boulders and logs to jump off. I watched Matt ski a mini pillow line that will probably be all covered up with snow after the next storm. Lots of “woo’s!!!” (perhaps just from me) and high fives were shared at the bottom. It will never cease to surprise me how fast the ride down is compared to the hike up. But in a way that gets me even more amped for the next outing. And probably a day with chairlifts. Let’s pray for snow, shall we?