Sprinter was prepped for winter running and ski gear loaded. Left Seattle after the holidays for cold Canadian snow. Spent a week in BC skiing Fernie, Kimberly and Red mountains. I was surprised to find that the snowpack was below normal with temps above normal. What should have been a snowy and bitter cold January ski week turned out to be blustery rain/snow mix and temps in the 20s/30s.
I was planning on skiing some more northerly areas like Kicking Horse, Banff and Revelstoke, but with just mediocre snows and moderate temps elected to head south toward the motherland of winter snowfall ….. California Sierras.
We arrived in Truckee (Donner Pass) of Cal and parked the van at NorthStar Ski resort. The snowpack there in the northern Sierras was above normal. days before my arrival they had a number of decent storms march through. Temps were cold, nights in the teens and day skiing @ 20--30 degrees (F). The sun greeted us each morning and warmed us on our ride up first chair. We had thought NorthStar (one of Vail owned resorts) was an intermediate family oriented resort, but were delighted to find some serious steeps and long runs (1+ mile long) on the backside of the area. We skied there for four days loving the mellow California attitudes, great customer service (all employees with upbeat, positive attitudes) and decent snow. The morning hard packed wall to wall corduroy was laid out to greet us each morning.
After four days of getting to know NorthStar and making some awesome new friends, we headed to the south end of the lake to South Lake Tahoe and it's famed resorts of Heavenly and Kirkwood. With a huge storm coming in from the west we arrived in SLT in time to make dinner, top off the Sprinter's water tanks and find a place to park. The weather came in hard, with an inch an hour snowfall and 60+ mph winds the skiing the next day was near epic. The visibility was a bit low and closely tracking your partner was essential to skiing together. The next several days saw overnight snowfall coming in at lest 12+ inches. We skied Heavenly for four days with a spectacular day of skiing spent at Kirkwood, a very alpine terrain based resort about 40 minutes south of SLT.