Plumas Ski Club: Longboard races are go this weekend, 2/21/2016!

Ever want to give the kind of longboard skis Snowshoe Thompson used a try?  You can this weekend on Sunday at the Plumas Ski Club’s annual longboard ski races at the Plumas Eureka Ski Bowl just above Johnsville, California, near Graegle.    Check out the action:




Boards are available for the brave to rent and try out.  Leather boots and semi-period attire required, the definition appears to be pretty broad.  More info at The Plumas Ski Club.


Mt. Lion vs. Buck – graphic video

This dramatic  episode just took place over about 15 minutes San Antonio Regional Park near Silicon Valley;

The prequel.

The kill.

This is along a very popular running trail.   I think I’m going to start packing a bigger folding knife.


Tahoe Snow: Mt. Rose, Mammoth open 11/05/2015, Boreal on Friday

Tahoe Donner got 6″ of snow on Sunday and it’s actually sticking fairly well despite sunshine.  Mt. Rose and Mammoth open Thursday 11/05/2015, Boreal  on Friday, 11/06/2015, so Boreal loses bragging rights as first to open this season.

Note these early openings are typically just one beginner run.

Bear Follies: Check out the bear stuck in a cat door!?

Well, you don’t see this every day.   A bear tried to come in the house through the cat door:


Note this was in a second floor condo which the bear had previously broken into.   This is the first time I’ve heard of bears persistently operating as second-story men, which is a little alarming.  Especially since the bear persisted after it was evident the condo was occupied.

I think almost beats the time a bear miraculously got trapped high underneath Rainbow Bridge in Donner Pass.


Tahoe Donner XC 1/3/2015 – Open to the summit!

Tahoe Donner XC is open with 35km of trails, including several beginner-intermediate loops in the ”Home Range as well as the intermediate-advanced routes to the viewful Hawk’s Peak-Ridge area.

Coverage and surface quality in the upper areas  from the recent snow sprinkle is still good and the telemarkers are having a blast in Sunrise Bowl.    The Glacier Way trailhead is plowed and there’s free, viewful snowshowing until you reach the groomed TD trails.   A few bare spots are starting to peek through near the base elevation but snow farming should take care of that through next weekend.

Here’s a map of what’s open:

Tahoe Donner SC - 1/3/2015 - Click to enlarge

Tahoe Donner SC – 1/3/2015 – Click to enlarge


Tahoe June Update: NOW is the time to paddle Emerald Bay or Truckee River

Lots of people assume that as of Memorial Day Lake Tahoe is already filled to the brim with tourists and outdoor recreationists.   Actually the real  rush doesn’t come until the high country melts out about the week before July 4.   So now’s the time to do two paddling trips that can be seriously impacted by crowding when they do arrive in force.

Floating the Truckee River:  The float trip operators ARE renting and midweek a few people were floating down despite the drought and somewhat low water levels.   I doubt sufficent water levels  will persist past 4th of July so now’s the time.

Paddling Emerald Bay: Only about a third of the Lake Tahoe  buoys have boats attached so the likelihood  of dealing with a huge power boat armada is sharply reduced.   Stilll plan on an early morning departure from Baldwin Beach SP  or Bliss SP to avoid the wind and the power boat crush.  They usually start to kick up just before noon.   Note that while leaving from Bliss means a longer trip there’s a bald eagle nesting atop a very prominent dead tree near the Rubicon lighthouse to check out.

Tahoe Donner: Tahoe’s easiest ridge/summit hike or bike ride is snow-free.

Tahoe Donner XC  features the Northern Sierra’s easiest hike or bike with panoramic views the entire way along Donner Ridge to Hawks Peak.  It’s about 6 miles out and back with minimal elevation gains on smooth dirt roads and trails.  Make your way to the Glacier Way parking lot off Skislope way.   Pick up a trail map at the kiosk as there are a LOT of trails, roads and junctions on the Tahoe Donner trail system and it’s easy to get confused as to if you’re going exactly the way you want.  Follow the heavy orange line.


Note that at trail marker 21 you have the option to veer onto a section of the Donner Lake Rim Trail (dotted line) which will save a little uphill hiking or provide some variety on the return.

Cyclists who want more of a workout can easily turn this into a loop with a good descent on the return by starting at trailhead 4 and heading up Skislope to Glacier Way and then after reaching Hawk’s Peak come down the single-track connecting trail markers 17,17a, and 38.

By John Reece


Lake Tahoe ballooning – one way to escape the madding crowds.

There’s now a very new and novel way to see Lake Tahoe sights: by a water-launched hot-air balloon.  According to this SF Chronicle piece, Lake Tahoe – far from the crowded shore,  Lake Tahoe is home to the world’s only water-borne balloon launching operation, Lake Tahoe Balloons, and ballon-launching aircraft carrier:



Departing from Tahoe Keys Marina the tethered balloon ride rises to an altitude of 10,000 feet, about 4000 feet above the lake surface.   Cost is $295 per person.



Is KSL really going to pave over Squaw Valley?

I’ve been skiing  Squaw skier since 1980.  I was not at all happy about the original development plan which pretty much eliminated day-use parking and some historical Olympic buildings. However, the revised plan eliminated about 1/3 of the development and is probably what they were shootinfor anyway and looks ok to me.  In fact, if the new retail included, say, a Trader Joes’s (hint,hint) I might even get enthusiastic.   However,  anticipating the usual overblown rhetoric about “development filling the valley” or “paving over the valley” I though a cartographic overview would put things in better perspective.   This is a topo of all of Squaw Valley overlayed with the a map of the proposed new construction overlayed with the new structures in orange:



Note that very little of it is on virgin ground but is essentially redevelopment of the existing, and quite ugly parking lot.

April XC skiing: Royal Gorge, Tahoe Donner open

Update: Tahoe Donner XC is now closed for the season, Royal Gorge is open only for passholders from Sugar Bowl’s Mt. Juday parking lot.

Both Royal Gorge and Tahoe Donner have reopened after the latest series of storms.

Tahoe Donner has several snowmobile-groomed loops in the “Home Range” at the base elevation, and fully snow-cat groomed trails out to the views of Donner Ridge/Drifter Hut/The Far Side for decent day’s worth of skiing.

Royal Gorge has the main loops around Van Norden open, as well as trails to Lola’s Lookout atop Roynton Peak and connecting to Sugar Bowl.