Trip Report California Dreaming on such a winter's day (Tahoe)

rime noreason

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With the snow falling on our Aussie mountains at the moment I'm wondering if I've made an error of judgment to ski in the USA.

Na, only joking. I'm having such a great time that I might as well go the whole hog and do another trip report.

Landslides and heavy snow resulted in roadblocks that almost prevented me getting here, but I made it to South Lake Tahoe last week nevertheless.

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The snow is excellent and the total snowfall depth is excellent. The skiing isn't too bad either.
I've been here quite a few times and quite a few consecutive years, but I've never seen this much snow even at lake level. It's terrific to see. Local business owners are smiling too, at last.

Skiing at Heavenly these past few days, Friday was whiteout, Saturday really good with views to the lake, although the mountains across the lake were in cloud. Sunday wasn't bad either.

Yesterday began with rain, but turned to snow before 9am and snowed all day. I went to Northstar today with concerns for windhold at Heavenly, and a good decision as many runs are protected at Northstar. It was a brilliant day, rate it in my top 10 with waist deep powder. I sunk my pole in on run just to check the depth, and as shown in the photo, it was up to the handle and still hadn't hit the base.

Hoping to ski at Heavenly again tomorrow, we'll see how the legs pull up in the morning!

These are from Northstar today

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rime noreason

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Thanks @Snowy Joey, it's the deepest I've ever skied.

@absentskier, it's been a phenomenal season, I hope it keeps this up!

It snowed all day yesterday, and from the looks of things this morning, it didn't stop all night either. Below are some photos of the village which is at lake level.

Did I say that yesterday is in my top 10? I think we might have to scrap that and replace it with today. Heavenly lived up to its name with deep powder and bluebird skies this morning. It stayed that way until around 2pm when heavy cloud quickly came in. By 3pm, low light made it difficult to see the terrain under your skis, but it also brought snow flurries, so all good.

It also turned VERY cold and the snow was literally squeaking under my skis and poles.

The mountain finally opened a few more lifts at around the same time, which spread the load. Until then, the Dipper lift was the only high one open on the Nevada side, with a 20 minute or more wait, similar with the California side with no way to return once there, except bus at the base. Once more lifts opened, it was straight onto the Dipper Lift.

It was snowing once back in the village later afternoon but it seems to have stopped for now.

I rented some powder skis today and will get even fatter ones tomorrow. Wow, what a difference it made in the powder. It looks like my quiver is about to expand :D



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Oh right, now I know where I'm going

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Today's polometer reading
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rime noreason

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Another day, another dump. We had a few more inches of fresh through the night and the same thing the night before. We had blue skies alternating with light flurries yesterday, snow in the evening. Today we had blue skies in the morning and then high cloud.

All but a couple of minor lifts were turning the last two days, so I was surprised how busy they've been. I assumed it was because of the great snow. Yesterday I learned that it's ski week, which means kids have the week off school to inundate Tahoe :confused:

Hopefully the crowds have reduced by next week.

It's been very cold which has kept the snow in great shape. I stopped for a drink of water at lunchtime today and after a few minutes I got a mouthful of crunch! What the hell is crunchy stuff doing in my clean water? Turned out to be ice. It was actually freezing before I could drink it!

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Today's polometer

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absentskier

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Another day, another dump. We had a few more inches of fresh through the night and the same thing the night before. We had blue skies alternating with light flurries yesterday, snow in the evening. Today we had blue skies in the morning and then high cloud.

All but a couple of minor lifts were turning the last two days, so I was surprised how busy they've been. I assumed it was because of the great snow. Yesterday I learned that it's ski week, which means kids have the week off school to inundate Tahoe :confused:

Hopefully the crowds have reduced by next week.

It's been very cold which has kept the snow in great shape. I stopped for a drink of water at lunchtime today and after a few minutes I got a mouthful of crunch! What the hell is crunchy stuff doing in my clean water? Turned out to be ice. It was actually freezing before I could drink it!

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Today's polometer

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Looks exceptionally good.
 

rime noreason

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We've had an amazing few days here. The snowfalls have been terrific and it's still exceptionally cold. The last few days have been around 15 - 18F. The couple of feet of snow that fell over the weekend and another foot last night is incredibly light and fluffy. I don't think there has been a night and new morning without fresh snow even at lake level since I've been here. Last night same story. So many locals who ski here regularly have said it's all time.

The crowds left early yesterday, probably concerned about the weather closing their homeward roads so very few people on the mountain.

Yesterday was a bit windy too so by lunchtime a number of the best areas and lifts weren't open. There was still plenty of terrain to ski out of the wind and with deep powder. It also worked in our favour because it was even quieter on the mountain today. With little to no wind the fresh falls combined with the weekend's falls made for an epic day. Another top 10!

The longer term forecast has warmer temperatures and no more fresh for at least a couple of weeks so I've made the most of the last couple of weeks. I was inside the 5th gondola up this mhorning and I skied until they called last lifts at 4.10pm with no-one behind me. I stopped for a half hour at 1pm for 4 glasses of water and some trail mix before this machine was back in action LOL


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@tr+h they've extended the season here until April 30. Regular skiers here say the snow will last until July and August and people will be skinning up. So you have a good chance the snow will last!
 
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rime noreason

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We've had a few consecutive gorgeous blue bird days, While still remaining very cold.

It warmed up a little today and the next few days are forecast to be much the same. The snow is still in excellent condition with the groomers being packed powder and skiing fast, while the snow is still deep and powdery through the trees.

It softened a little this afternoon in heavy traffic areas such as Skyline trail and the chair offload areas, but it was far from being slushy.

There is now talk of extending the season until July 4! A ski patroller I rode a chair up with yesterday said he's been here since the 1970s, and he'd never seen the snow this deep. The news channel says they haven't seen snow this deep and such good quality for decades.

When it's so cold your water turns into ice before you can even drink it.

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In the centre of this photo is a tree with a large hole halfway up the trunk. It is the bear den tree. The den is about 2 metres wide.

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The polometer in between trees
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@Johnb007 , sending PM now
 

rime noreason

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The weather has turned this afternoon, getting ready for the storms. The skies were blue for most of the day with only high, light cloud but it's been very windy and the higher lifts were on windhold. So I took the day off to rest my legs in preparation for this next storm and went for a good walk around the lake.

This afternoon there have been occasional snowflakes fluttering down from the sky and it's turned very cold again. The sky is currently dotted with some puffy clouds above us, while westwards is ominous looking heavy cloud over the mountain ridge. Bring it on.

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rime noreason

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Fantastic
Thanks @benchives

It began snowing yesterday evening and hasn't stopped. It's been blowing hard and snowing hard. Even down in Heavenly village in town it was snowing all day. There was more snow in town than I've ever seen. People who have been here for many years have said the same thing.

I overhead one woman say that it was the worst she's ever seen. I couldn't help it and had to correct her, saying "You mean it's the BEST you've ever seen!" It was for me, anyway.

The gondola was running uphill but no returning, you had to go straight to the California side. In the afternoon when I returned on the bus, there was a very long wait for the bus. It was supposed to be every 10 minutes and we'd been waiting over 40. That was indicative of the snow on the roads. Ploughs had given up being a lost cause, the snow was falling faster than they could clear it, it was more like a blizzard. It was nice to be handed complimentary huge chocolate chip cookies by Heavenly staff while waiting though.

It's very cold and even the heated pathways struggled to melt the snow that fell so heavily through the afternoon. It's dark out now, and snowing lightly at 8pm. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, even if the


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I don't have a polometer measurement from today but here's the wineometer from tonight at village (lake) level

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rime noreason

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Kirkwood was the itinerary for today. I love this mountain. It has so much challenging terrain that I wish I could actually ski. It has amazing scenery especially from the back bowls and It has some impressive geographical features of typical US rocky canyons.

I would consider staying here a few days next time because it has so much terrain to cover. The drive in and out is full of beautiful scenery as well.

It is a mountain made for panorama photos.The snowpack here is ridiculous as well. The morning runs were fast with dust on crust. By early afternoon the lower runs were getting a little heavy going after being in the warm sun. There were people wearing T shirts. By later afternoon the runs had iced over and were quite chopped up and hard underfoot. Yesterday would have been fantastic here too but I skied Heavenly and that was absolutely terrific.

I didn't ski The Wall at Kirkwood. I was mighty tempted but eventually decided it was a run for the day when I want to leave this planet. I skied the Wave instead and I'm very satisfied with that.

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rime noreason

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Skiing Heavenly yesterday was another massive day. I have never seen so much snow in the Carson Valley. The skiing was excellent on both Nevada and California sides.

When a snow storm blew in around midday most people went home and I skied until last lifts yet again. It was great to have the lifts and runs almost to myself. It sure was windy though. You might be able to see the clouds of snow being blown up and forming snow devils. It was a perfect morning for gorgeous cloud formations too.

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rime noreason

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Sensational!
You have delivered some great photos. Awesome!
Thankyou @chunky and @Jacko4650

This Machine continues to put in long hours each day Although I took today off anticipating Saturday crowds. Judging by the webcams it was a wise decision. The last few days have been cruisey skiing on groomers and after around 10.30am the trees have been fun when the snow softens adequately.

We had warm sunshine on Thursday and overcast with high cloud cover on Friday with clear visibility. Then some light high cloud blew over on Friday afternoon that briefly dropped a few snowflakes and it turmed chilly for awhile.

Thursday's sunshine caused a lot of waterfalls from all the rooftops in the village and lots of lake level melting but the snow on the mountain remains excellent.

The mornings are skiing fast on breakfast cereal. ie, crusty crunch. The lower runs become a little sugary at lunchtime although not slushy by any means. From mid morning the conditions were fun for skiing between trees. By early afternoon yesterday it seemed to turn colder for awhile and I was skiing packed powder again.

I've skied until last lifts each day. Yesterday the clouds cleared from the west side of the lake to reveal the sun kissed peaks across the lake, shown in the photos below, along with one of Mt Rose from the Nevada side. I really enjoy the later afternoon runs when the snow firms up and turns powdery and there are no human obstacles because they've gone home.You can put in some terrific fast runs.


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Great photos of the clouds.
Thankyou @Johnb007 This might be of interest. It's how the streets looked a few days ago
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Johnb007

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You are a MACHINE. We are leaving San Fran tomorrow at 10am, so ETA Tahoe around early arvo. I will give you a call to see if we can catch up. Hopefully dinner or at least a beer or 3. Enjoy ya lucky duck.
 
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rime noreason

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The Machine went to the afternoon shift today. With the smell of sunblock strong in the air, I decided to forego the morning ice, especially with daylight savings brining an extra hour of it. A good decision as those up there from the start said the morning was very icy and solid.

The afternoon was ideal for hero laps. I skied until the lifts closed yet again, skiing,without a break from midday. That was an ideal way to do it in these conditions which are a few inches of chopped powder on a very solid base. The snow got soft and a little sugary the lower you went. Lots of fast and fun runs through the afternoon under clear blue skies and no wind. The lake was like a blue mirror again today too.

There werr plenty of T shirts worn today and even I dropped the thermals for a long sleeve T shirt under a light jacket with armpit vents open. I also ditched the goggles for sunglasses because it was too warm for goggles. Tomorrow will be rinse and repeat.

The snow is too solid for polometer measurements now so here's one I made earlier. There is no more snow in the trees now either but I'll post this photo at the bottom because it looked so beautiful at the time with everything covered in white.

It looks like there will be some working bees over the summer for repairs. A few days ago, you could see the frame poking out a little from this enormous wall of snow which was 3 times higher than the top beam. Ski Patrol were sloughing off the loose stuff to avoid a collapse. Today, more of the signpost is visible but Vail will be looking at it and thinking, yes, there IS such a thing as too much snow LOL
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rime noreason

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Br
You are a MACHINE. We are leaving San Fran tomorrow at 10am, so ETA Tahoe around early arvo. I will give you a call to see if we can catch up. Hopefully dinner or at least a beer or 3. Enjoy ya lucky duck.
ing shorts!

Saturday around the lake was the beginning of warm and sunny weather. It's almost summery. I packed a picnic lunch and walked around the lake, then sat on the end of a pier looking at the mountains mirrored in the perfectly still lake. I ended up peeling off the layers and sitting in short sleeves.

I returned in the late afternoon to watch the sunset. It was a beauty.
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It was a whole different picture a week before when a couple of feet of light, dry snow fell down at lake level. These photos were taken then.
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rime noreason

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Another day of warm sunshine and hero laps ripping down the mountain. The raucous chatter of Steller's Jays is heard all around town. Birds are flittering around the fir trees on the mountain. Spring is in the air. I can't believe the change in only 1 week. This time last week I was skiing deep deep powder. Today it's sunblock slathered on and still getting burned while skiing spring snow. It was a good day to go out to the observatory and take a couple of pano shots.

As beautiful as blue bird days are I still prefer the white on silver days, so I'll add a few more of those photos too.

The base is still extremely deep. Snowdepth isn't always easy to gauge but these signposts which ski patrol stated are 20 feet high give you some idea. The one in the middle is the one that is now revealed as broken. The last one is just the very tip of a signpost sticking out. I think it would be directing to East Peak Lodge, the gondola and Tamarack Lodge.



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rime noreason

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As the sun sets over Lake Tahoe, so it also sets on my ski holiday. It's been a terrific season and I've had 3 1/2 weeks with so much amazing powder, and a few days blue skies and sunshine. It doesn't get much better than this.

This season will rate amongst the best Tahoe has had at least in living memory, if not since records began. I'm really fortunate to have enjoyed the best of it.



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Johnb007

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We had a few good days skiing 2 weeks ago. Went up again for a few days and just got back to SF. Northstar and Heavenly had a top up of about 20cm the day before we arrived. On pissed skiing is still fabulous. You can still easily ski right to the bottom of both resorts and the snow is only slighty sorbetish, and still plenty of it. No rocks or vegetation visible. What an epic season.
 

rime noreason

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We had a few good days skiing 2 weeks ago. Went up again for a few days and just got back to SF. Northstar and Heavenly had a top up of about 20cm the day before we arrived. On pissed skiing is still fabulous. You can still easily ski right to the bottom of both resorts and the snow is only slighty sorbetish, and still plenty of it. No rocks or vegetation visible. What an epic season.

I'm so glad you got some nice freshies! But so damn jealous of you still so close to it!

Just how much had you been drinking? :)
LOLWhen I left, they were drinking champagne in the hot tub, so make of that what you will!

I should tie up the loose ends of this thread so I’ll put up a couple more posts about the tail end of my trip. Leaving is always the hard part especially when ski buddies are enjoying champers in a hot tub! However the clear skies and terrific views from the plane made the trip a little more palatable.

For the AGOGs (Aviation-Geographically Obsessive Geeks) like myself, most of the ski resorts were clearly visible and breathtakingly gorgeous. I’ll caption each one for identification.

On my last weekend, I walked out around the lake again at sunset. On the way back, I also caught the moon rising over the mountains.

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This is Lake Tahoe flying out from Reno Airport


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Mt Rose resort

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Northstar is just left of centre in the background



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Heavenly resort



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Kirkwood is to the right of centre in the background. Caples Lake is just in front of it, on the right hand edge of the photo, covered by snow
 
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rime noreason

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I made it home to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and with the unusually humid weather here I was very rapidly missing Lake Tahoe’s climate. I leave Melbourne in February to get away from that unpleasant heat and humidity! Thankfully the humidity seems to have disappeared these last couple of days and we have the more usual and beautiful Autumn weather now.

For anyone thinking of going to South Lake Tahoe, I stayed at the Stardust Lodge which is terrific. I keep returning because there doesn’t seem anything else to beat it for value and location and it has a lot of extra useful amenities. Even parts of the Marriott would be further from the gondola and are a lot more expensive. I hope to return again next year as they’ve always been great. I’m happy to give more info in a PM if anyone wants it.

Before coming home I took a drive along the California coastline and stayed a couple of nights in Monterey. The Monterey Aquarium has some extraordinary creatures. The giant octopus kept following me back and forth along its tank so I must have looked like a tasty morsel or something. The bioluminous jellyfish were a highlight and I found Nemo. I also took far too many fish photos!

The Aquarium entry isn’t cheap at $US50 so if anyone is considering visiting, make sure you spend a full day inside. I thought the price also included dinner but I ended up having to buy some food along Fisherman’s Wharf instead. I’d have to say I thought it was pretty rude when the aquarium staff asked me to leave and told me to remove my fishing rod and take it with me!

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The above is called an Eggyolk Jellyfish which was an amazing mass of tangles


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Johnb007

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Fabulous Nemo photo. Can you email me (Yahoo) a high res copy? I will send you some champagne hot tub action photos in return! :eek::p

We were camping on the shores of New Melones lake in the Sierra foothills on the weekend. It was 30+C during the day and 5C at night. (Very clear sky) Anyway the temps at Tahoe must have been 10+C so lots of very slushy snow. They will need some new snow otherwise it will be ice skating for the rest of the season.
 

absentskier

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I'm so glad you got some nice freshies! But so damn jealous of you still so close to it!


LOLWhen I left, they were drinking champagne in the hot tub, so make of that what you will!

I should tie up the loose ends of this thread so I’ll put up a couple more posts about the tail end of my trip. Leaving is always the hard part especially when ski buddies are enjoying champers in a hot tub! However the clear skies and terrific views from the plane made the trip a little more palatable.

For the AGOGs (Aviation-Geographically Obsessive Geeks) like myself, most of the ski resorts were clearly visible and breathtakingly gorgeous. I’ll caption each one for identification.

On my last weekend, I walked out around the lake again at sunset. On the way back, I also caught the moon rising over the mountains.

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This is Lake Tahoe flying out from Reno Airport


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Mt Rose resort

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Northstar is just left of centre in the background



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Heavenly resort



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Kirkwood is to the right of centre in the background. Caples Lake is just in front of it, on the right hand edge of the photo, covered by snow
Great photos!
 
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rime noreason

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Fabulous Nemo photo. Can you email me (Yahoo) a high res copy? I will send you some champagne

If only you'd stopped right there!
We were camping on the shores of New Melones lake in the Sierra foothills on the weekend. It was 30+C during the day and 5C at night. (Very clear sky) Anyway the temps at Tahoe must have been 10+C so lots of very slushy snow. They will need some new snow otherwise it will be ice skating for the rest of the season.

Wow things are heating up very quickly. Spring arrived very suddenly and strongly. Looks like we had a record season until mid March though which worked sensationally for my trip. I wonder how the Oroville Dam will fare with the rapid snowmelt.

Great photos!

Thank you @absentskier.

This brings me to the last report post.

The California coast is magnificent so here are a couple of photos of the Monterey coastline

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Then it was time to fly home out of LAX. I was given a warm welcome home when flying into a gorgeous Melbourne sunrise. With that, this year’s trip to the United States draws to an end. Im already working on plans for 2018!


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Ozgirl

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Amazing photos. Is Lake Tahoe any good for 2 weeks of Nordic skiing?. Flights to/ from Reno to SF and LA are easily arranged I assume?
I woudl have thought so.

Lots of tracks around kirkwood. (always see people out and about on the drive)

There would be lots of tracks around lake level, but the snow is hit and miss that low
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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I woudl have thought so.

Lots of tracks around kirkwood. (always see people out and about on the drive)

There would be lots of tracks around lake level, but the snow is hit and miss that low

https://www.royalgorge.com/home
https://www.royalgorge.com/map

I have found this www link about a XC skiing location in the Tahoe area but on the California side.

Their website says that :"
About Royal Gorge
The largest cross-country ski area in North America, Royal Gorge is known for its sweeping views of the Northern Sierra and eight distinct trail systems. Featuring 92 trails with over 140km of groomed, tracked trails for human-powered outdoor recreation spread across 6,000 acres, guests of all ages and ability levels are invited to try classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing.

Eight different warming huts offer respite from the elements and a chance to take a break and soak in the peaceful tranquility of the mountains. Make your way to Royal Gorge this winter to stride through towering pines, expansive meadows, and enjoy stunning vistas that include some of the most majestic peaks in Tahoe."
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Oh ..this looks good .
"
60km of groomed trails at 7,800 feet offer the most spectacular scenery and exciting terrain in the West.

Three interconnected trail systems
Two trailhead facilities with parking areas
Group and private lessons available
Cross country & snowshoe tours
Standard ski, skate ski and snowshoe rentals
Terrain: 20% beginner, 60% intermediate, 20% advanced
Day trail passes and season passes available"

https://www.kirkwood.com/explore-the-resort/activities-a.nd-events/cross-country.aspx
60% intermediate terrain :) …. that is me for sure!
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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I am making up 2021 Itineraries already...…. a week in NYC to visit a girlfriend, A week of XC skiing at Lake Placid / surrounds, and a week at the Tahoe area or some such Northern Sierras XC skiing place and a few days of recovery from XC skiing 20 kms a day for nearly 2 weeks and go down to Mendocino
http://stringbender.com/cottage/hosts.php and
To meet the man who customized my guitar ( ex Byrds drummer Gene Parsons)
http://stringbender.com/
and stay out that way , then spend a few days in SF and then come home.
I am living on reduced rations of daal and rice already ;-P in a belt tightening exercise so I can ski in the USA next year :).
 
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