Skiing Stoke from Lake Tahoe

Month: February 2008

Off to Hawaii

After our recent storm and all the ones that hit in January, the snow levels in the mountains are high (a friends’ 7-year-old skied Squaw’s Main chute yesterday) and I’m off to the tropics! I leave for Hawaii tomorrow for some diving, snorkeling, surfing and general beach loungery. Sadly, I won’t be skiing or writing during the week I’m there. But you can ski on Hawaii. Mauna Kea on the Big Island is almost 14,000 feet and covered with snow. You can drive to the top and the 360-degree view from the summit is spectacular. I’ll try to grab some photos of it while I’m there. Aloha!

Skiing the Truckee Ski Hill

truckee ski hillI’ve eyed the north-facing gladded lines just south of West River Street for years. Recently, tracks have been laid down after big storms. On the drive back to Sierra Meadows, after a crowded day at Squaw, I think about taking a day to ski those lines myself. Yesterday we got eight inches and the time was right. I started from the top of Rainbow Street in Sierra Meadows. The summit terminal of the old Poma lift (the oldest ski lift in California) is located next to a water tank at the top of an access road above Rainbow. The Poma lift line down to the Cottonwood restaurant is not that steep (but pointing it on old wooden skis with no edges probably felt like it!), so I navigated skiers left across a meadow to access the steeper terrain facing West River Street. Here the slope steepens to around 34-degrees. Looking down at the Truckee River and West River Street, I dropped into the fresh eight inches. Though I could still feel the scratch below, the turns were fresh and the total vertical – from the top of the Poma to the Meadow by the Truckee River – was 400 feet. From there it’s a short skin or hike back to the Cottonwood. Laps here should be even better after the next big storm. -Rob McCormick

See photos here >>

Video from Squaw Freeskiing Comp

squaw freeskiing compDespite icy conditions, skiers hucked huge cliffs — and stuck the landings fluidly — at Squaw’s freeskiing competition last week. The performances were amazing. One after another, skiers dropped big air onto hardpack and skied away. It left me wondering whether improvements in equipment had anything to do with the performances. Fat skis and dampening boots and bindings may help, but most of the credit goes to the competitors. “It’s the skiers” says Shane McConkey, “The level of skiing is much higher than it used to be when I was competing.”

See the videos here >>

Off to the Benson Hut!

benson hutYesterday I went to Squaw to check out the 48Straight events. While the competition was exciting, the slopes were wall to wall with people. Today, I’m getting away from the crowds and heading out on an overnight trip to the Benson Hut. The Sierra Club hut sits on Anderson Ridge above Truckee, between Squaw and Sugar Bowl. Our group of eight will head out from the top of Sugar Bowl’s Lincoln Chair this morning. The skin to the hut along the ridge takes around two hours. Then it’ll be time to drop our stuff, settle in and make some ski laps. Tomorrow morning we’ll have time for some more laps, before skiing down into Coldstream Canyon. On our way out, we’ll pass the Lost Trail Lodge and then return to Truckee. The weather is supposed to be warm (highs in the low 50’s and relatively calm and clear) so hopefully we’ll get some corn. I’ll post a trip report when I return.

Watch the Squallywood Clinic Movie

squaw valleyAfter six consecutive days of snow, the skies cleared and the sun illuminated six feet of powder last Saturday. The conditions were perfect for Robb Gaffney’s first Squallywood clinic. The six participants were filmed as they hucked cliffs and skied classic lines with Robb. Shane McConkey and Scott Gaffney skied with the group in the afternoon. Some of the participants called it the most memorable ski day of their lives.
Watch the movie >>