The precipitation in the first half of December has been disappointing to say the least. This time last year, I think I already had 10 powder days. At this point, I have 14 groomer days and 3 thin backcountry days. People are going a little stir crazy. It’s not uncommon to see posts on Facebook inquiring where the snow is and proclaiming “seriously, I’ll get in a car right now, where is the snow?!?” I’ve felt the same way and actually planned a trip to Baker last weekend… then it stopped snowing there. I was talking to a girl about the 10 day forecast last week and she started crying out of shear frustration. Some long time locals like to say things like “this is normal.” Weather variation is normal, but I think the reason it has been so hard to accept this year is because of all the early storms that hit the Sierras – we literally felt like we were going to have the same exact start to winter as last year. The guy over at Tahoe Weather Discussion even pointed this out. I think he’s going a little crazy too. And who wouldn’t when the models show this:
nothing to do but laugh
A giant snowless hole over Tahoe.
The lack of snow is a “First World” skier problem and I often have to remind myself how great I have it – I live in a beautiful place, I have a job, no one shot me in the head during a meeting with my constituents (did anyone hear Mark Kelly on NPR today? It was amazing), but this blog is about skiing, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I’m doing to pass the time during this drought.
A few weekends ago, I headed down to Sly Park to ride my mountain bike. The trails are packed, well-labeled, and fun and there are a good number of options. The 17 mile ride I did took me around Jenkinson Lake and through Fleming Meadows via trail 8. It’s definitely worth the 45 min drive from Tahoe.
packed singletrack in fleming meadows
We cut down a Christmas Tree in our neighborhood and put up some lights on the new house.
um, kind of super easy to cut down a tree this year with no snow
I helped start up an adult gymnastics program at Tahoe Gymnastics. Darryl Fergus, a former acrobat and one of the original ski hot-doggers has been coaching me for the past year. With his coaching I went from someone with a suspect cartwheel to an athlete with solid front and backflips, round offs, cartwheels (I now know the difference), and some less than solid off-axis tricks. He is a phenomenal person and coach with an infectious love for gymnastics, really all sports, and I knew so many people could benefit from working with him. So, we started up this program
The free day was incredibly well attended and my friend Lauren, fresh off a marathon, took some great photos.
Darryl working with students
some mini-tramp flipping action
some big tramp flipping action
Speaking of which, we also traveled down to Sacramento to cheer on Lauren to a successful first marathon completion. She definitely beat Oprah, even though she was under-trained and Oprah was in her heyday and had trainers and nutritionists, I’m sure. On the way back to Tahoe, we took advantage of the valley warmth and rode the Salmon Falls mountain bike trail along Folsom Lake. I had heard about this trail and it lived up to its reputation – rolling, packed, fun singletrack, and a scenic course along Folsom Lake.
Pat biking among the oak and grass
sunset over the american river
As part of SheJumps I also put on an incredibly successful all women’s ski tuning clinic and wine night, but that deserves a post of its own.
Finally, last weekend, PK and I traveled to the Bay Area for our dear friends’ baby shower and wound up going on an epic full moon hike, eating delicious food, riding road bikes on car-less hilly roads with stunning natural and city viewscapes, and helping our friend Jake edit this inspiring video.
There is always something to do in Tahoe and truthfully, we are all probably a lot more productive without skiing our brains out in never ending powder. A powder day is true escapism and maybe these dry days are time for us to connect to the rest of the world, or maybe they just remind us that we should cherish those deep snow days.
Still, one of the best things about Tahoe is its California location, close to so many different climate zones and a world class city like San Francisco. And even though the 10 day continues to look dry, I’m looking forward to new adventures this weekend, we’ll just have to be a little more creative.