A day on the slopes
Dec. 26 2011
Rather than sitting around waiting for snow, we decided to spend Christmas morning on the snow, or what passes for it these days in Tahoe. We spent the morning at Sugar Bowl.
We bought discount tickets at REI — for $68. That is still a steep price to pay for mostly manmade snow — and with less than half the mountain’s groomed runs open. But it was Christmas, and we wanted to try out some new gear before hitting the backcountry, so we swallowed hard and forked over the cash.
We started the day on Jerome hill out of the Judah Lodge, and it wasn’t bad. The groomed runs were completely covered. I saw one tiny twig sticking up on one run. And there were a few loose pebbles here and there that had probably been kicked up by the grooming machines. But really, these runs skied the same in these conditions as they would have with 10 feet of snow on either side of them. We skied two runs around Jerome hill and two more that we could reach from there via a short path over to the Judah area and the Switching Yard terrain park. The park even had a jump or two and several features set up. There was almost nobody there.
Next we headed over to the Lincoln Chair and spent the rest of the morning doing laps there. The top was kind of sketchy. To get to the good snow you had to navigate a path to the right toward Silver Belt and then do a U-turn and come back along a path under the chair. Or you could go left off the chair and then down toward California street. That wind blown route included the rockiest section we suffered all day, and both of us were left with a nice little gouge on the bottom of our skies.
Once through that unpleasantness, though, we enjoyed the long, intermediate runs to the bottom. With so few skiers there, we were able to open and it up and ski as fast as we liked. And there were no lines.
We skied through lunch and by 1 p.m. we were getting a little bored, and our quads were starting to burn from all the laps we had done on our first day on skies this year. So we called it a day and headed home.
It was better skiing than I expected, even with a few rocks at the top of Lincoln.
I still thought the price was a little high. But at least it kept the crowds away.