Conditions: Packed Powder
A bluebird powder day at Kirkwood can make your entire ski season. Today was one of those days. We caught 3rd chair (thanks two snowboarders who cut at the last second) and hit some cord before lapping chair 11 for some fast groomers to warm up.
Before too long, we took the traverse to the backside and found awesome snow and no lines. Kirkwood's backside is a mini-resort to itself with 4 lifts, including Vista which just recently opened for the season. After a shot at launching off the cornice and a punch save,wWe opted for the other surface lift, Covered Wagon, which opens up a large section of the Wave and Fawn Ridge.
Fawn Ridge held the best snow of the day. Plenty of powder lasted in the trees from the several feet that fell at the 'Wood over the past 10 days or so. With a low to moderate avalanche danger, and plenty of company, we ventured into side-country territory.
View Track 7 in a larger map
After a quick break, we went to Cornice Express, the entire other side of the 2300 acre resort. Again, there was some great snow in the gullies off Sentinel Bowl, thought the slope itself was fairly firm.
We made one more pass at the backside to hit the Wave again and then started the long journey back to Timber Creek to meet up with the Bay Area Ski Bus for our return trip home.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Location: Sierra at Tahoe
Conditions: Blower Pow
Today we got a chance to try out Jodi's new skis: Dynastar Exclusive Legend Eden 152. She liked them from their first turns. It didn't hurt that the mountain was blanketed in 6ft of new snow.
We started out in the West Bowl on some groomers. I couldn't help but explore the powder-laden trees along the sides of the runs. We found some of the best snow on the mountain in the trees between Dogwood and Upper Sleigh Ride.
View Track 6 in a larger map
After it got crowded in the West Bowl we headed over to Grandview. Preacher's Passion had amazing snow. Pillows all over the place!
After that, we hit Jackrabbit for more awesome pow. It was complete blower and I mowed it down.
We hit the backside a little as Jodi got more adventorous and started hitting the trees on her own.
I think Sierra was the best place to ski that day, perfect snow, not too busy, and plenty of untracked to whet your pow appetite.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Location: Alpine Meadows
Conditions: Pow pow
Special live blog brought to you from the Bus somewhere near Danville, CA.
With the biggest storm of the season rolling and trips planned p to Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe already on deck I had the last minute opprutunity to ski the pow pow at Alpine. Of course, I jumped.
We arrived at Alpine after a hectic ride involving snow chains, traffic, and ski videos.
The view was worth it:
I literally bolted out of the bus with my boots under my arm and my balaclava and helmet on my head. I was greeted by the BASB coordinator (Hi Tammy). I took Subway up and went directly to Hot Wheels for some early pow.
I headed over to Scott chair and poached the Promised Land. Face shots!
I hit the front bowls, I hit the back bowls, I wiped out, ALOT. The fabled double eject yardsale was a common occurrence. Early that morning I wondered why all the loc's were rocking streamers behind their skis. After 4 times trying to dig out my Mantras from the fluff I started to piece it together.
Another first for today? GPS tracking of all my runs. Top speed?
Max Grade: 45 %
The snow was DEEP. You think you've got what it takes to ski 48" of fresh? See me tomorrow at Kirkwood.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Introducing the newest member of the Juhn family, Hana May Juhn, born today in Chicago.
I'd also like to wish a very happy birthday to Jodi, just a few years older than Hana. Now we have two reasons to celebrate January 20.
Friday, January 15, 2010
On Sunday, we were joined by Laura who was out for her first day since a nasty spill at Heavenly last year. Again, we hit the gondy first thing in the morning. This time, however, we needed to pull some shady steps to cash in two more Warren Miller Dynasty vouchers she had scored on Craigslist. Since we had already used ours, we neede two straw men to complete the transaction. Enter Michelle and Jimmy. We dragged them out to the mountain that morning but we faced on additional problem: no printer access at the cabin. A few well-placed phone calls later and we found ourselves at the Harrah's business center paying $1.50 per page to print the vouchers plus a $10 minimum usage charge. Oh well. Still saved a ton of money in the process. More on the money aspect later, this is South Lake Tahoe and we're at a casino after all.
Like Day 5, we spent most of our time on the Nevada side cruising blue groomies. The place was much less crowded giving us a greater chance to lap runs.
We also checked out Perimeter which was in pretty bad shape. There was a nice flyover by some fighter jets as we dipped lower down the mountain and found bare spots and exposed gravel. Having thoroughly explored the Nevada side, we headed back to California for Sky Express laps. The snow was in decent shape and I finally found my turning groove. It feels weird to make progress on an off day just goofing around but I'll take what I can get. I found that by turning my hips and really letting the skis whip around I was able to get a better carve with less energy. Who knew?
As the day wound down we connected with our snowboarding brethren and headed back down the gondy. In the ride down, the bets placed that morning during the printer expedition came to light. Our group had put down a significant series of bets on the Green Bay Packers. Growing up in Chicago a rival of the Chedheads, I kept quiet. As we returned to Fire and Ice, I whispered to Jodi that I was not rooting for the Packers.
As fate would have it, the game went into overtime after a flurry of lead changes during the apparent defensive-less fourth quarter. On the fist drive, the Green Bay Quarterback threw a partially blocked pass which he then kicked into the hands of a defensive lineman who returned it for a touchdown. What a bizarre play.
We headed back to the Tahoe Keys for a scrumptious dinner followed by the possibly the worst board game play in the history of board games. Cards were literally thrown into the fireplace. For those of you considering a harmless game of Taboo, get the anniversary edition please.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Sphere: Related Content
This was my first trip to Heavenly in two seasons. Some friends organized a birthday cabin trip to South Lake Tahoe for a long weekend. We loaded up our car and headed to Oakland to head up Friday afternoon. Our two friends board while we both ski. That made for an interesting packing process with five Dakine bags, boots, food, and games. Our hosts wanted to strap our gear to the roof of their VW Toureg. I was not having it. We folded down the seat to save our gear from getting ripped off the roof through the mountain pass.
We got the the Tahoe Keys Friday night and discovered an awesome rental cabin right on the waterfront. We hit the Fire and Ice at Heavenly village for dinner. The place is a ton of fun. Drinks were 22 OZ's. After three of these, I spilled raw fish into the buffet line's Alfredo sauce bin.
The next morning we headed out by 9 AM. We scored some free lift tickets from Warren Miller's Dynasty premiere.
The place was jammed. All the lines were long. Skiers and boarders dotted the slopes like human pylons. One of our skiers got separated from the group after missing a turn, a common problem at Heavenly.
We managed to get some great runs in over on the Nevada side including laps on Orion. Lunch was at the East Peak Lodge. After chowing down we lapped the blues on the Neavada side before taking the California Trial back to the Gondola.
After a trip back to the Keys, a quick shower, and wolfing down some pasta, Jodi and I headed back to South Lake to the Harrah's Casino where MC Hammer was scheduled to perform at 7:30.
Yes, MC Hammer, as in U Can't Touch This. You may not know MC Hammer is a social media expert. He gave the keynote speech at the Snowcial conference on snow sports and social media. We arrived to learn the concert was sold out. I had 6 extra tickets which I sold to the first 6 people in line.
The show was an absolute blast. Let me say this, MC Hammer still has all the moves and stage presence to rock the party. By the end of the show, Hammer had come out down the isle spitting rhymes right in front of us. He had over 100 people up on stage dancing and showing their moves for U Can't Touch This. My favorite performance of the night was Turn This Mother Out.
After the show, we headed back to the Tahoe Keys for some R&R. I was so excited about my MC Hammer photos I couldn't wait to get them uploaded.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sphere: Related Content
Location: Alpine Meadows
Conditions: Packed Powder
We headed up to Lake Tahoe Friday, New Years Day, for a long weekend at the new Bay Area Ski Bus cabin. After chowing on some lunch at ToGo's our host and BASB owner Brian picked us up in Sunnyvale in a converted 15 passenger van. We loaded up my trusty Volkl Mantra 184s on the roof rack and met up with 4 boarders who were going up with us, Gary, Justin, Kosgey, and Emily. We chatted with Brian as we headed to SF to pick up Diane, the 8th member for the inaugural cabin trip.
We got news of the the Kirkwood Fire some tasty margaritas at Truckee's La Bamba. To avoid the disaster, Brian wisely re-routed his 6 buses scheduled to hit the fire-damaaged resort over to Alpine where we would ski the next morning. We came back to the cabin where a wood-burning stove warmed the entrance and a heated hot tub waited for us on the back deck.
Saturday morning, we were up and atem by 7:00 AM. A quick breakfast and we loaded up the van to hit Alpine Meadows for our first trip of the new year. Alpine has definitely upped their customer service game. Before we even got out of the van we had lift tickets in hand and a mountain host offering to carry our skis to the mountain. I took a few warm up laps on Hot Wheels while Jodi sorted out her rental skis. She got some nice Volkl all-mountain skis and we quickly headed to Alpine's back side to enjoy the sunshine.
On the way back to the front side, I had a minor slip that almost cost me dearly on Expert Shortcut. I caught an edge about 10 feet above a large exposed rock cliff and lost a ski. Luckily, I knew the boulder was there so I dug my ski poles into the ground to arrest my slide over the face. It took a long while to click back in but I skied down to the base where Jodi was waiting with a quizzical look wondering what took so long and how she managed to beat me down.
After a quick noon break we hooked up with Brian for some turns in Alpine Bowl, where the photo of Jodi and me above was taken. Brian rips, so any of you who want to try to keep up with him, I suggest you sharpen skis and prepare for an all-out assault on the mountain. We also met up with host Mario and Sliding on the Cheap creator Daryl.
We skied the rest of the afternoon with Brian and Diane and tackled some mogul runs as well as some easier stuff before wrapping up for the day. On the last run of the day we ran into David who runs the Alpine website and saw him shooting his little ripper kids in the terrain park.
Alpine is a fantastic mountain. If you make it there, be sure to find your way to the backside and explore Sherwood. I'm still looking for fabled Munchkins. Next time I'll track down one of the locals to show me the way.