Dan's 2005/2006 Ski Journal

December 6, 2005:  Squaw Valley USA
Due to limited snow fall, we began our ski season exactly one month later than last year.  It was a sunny day at Squaw with a few high clouds.  Karen skied well on Gold Coast.  Shirley Lake was strange due to the limited snow; a creek was visible and I skied across a snow bridge to get past it.  I took the cable car down at the end of the day because I erroneously didn't think the Mountain Trail was open.
This season I continued to use my K2 Apache Recon 168 cm skis, Marker Piston bindings, and Salomon X-Wave 7 boots.  Karen continued with her K2 Sweet Luv T-Nine 146 cm skis with integrated Marker Mod 10 bindings.  The skis have been great and we enjoyed 12 day trips this season as follows:
- January 5, 2006:  Sugar Bowl
It was fairly crowded because it was New Year's week.  It was mostly sunny and confortable.  The snow was excellent.  Karen skied Jerome Hill lift only.
- January 10, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
It was a sunny day until the afternoon.  Karen skied well:  she went up Hot Wheels and then used Yellow chair and Roundhouse chair.  She successfully took a steep intermediate run, Yellow Trail, by accident.
- January 19, 2006:  Sugar Bowl
We had to have chains put on and therefore stopped at Sugar Bowl rather than going on to Squaw as intended.  The morning was cloudy and cold, and the afternoon was clear, sunny, and cold.  I took Karen over to Nob Hill and back via Christmas Tree; however, she didn't like the 3"-plus of loose snow, was psych'ed out, and quit early.  I skied all three mountains until 3:40 P.M.
- January 24, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
We didn't get on the slopes until 9:40 A.M.  It was mostly sunny and the snow was excellent and well groomed.  Karen did very good and took Ladies Slalom and Yellow Tail intermediate runs — as well as Red Trail and Weasel Run many times.  I skied until 2:50 P.M. — stopping following a crash coming off a jump at Kangaroo Arena.
- February 14, 2006:  Squaw Valley USA
We arrived at 8:30 A.M. on Valentine's Day and got Karen a Squaw Club card.  It was sunny in the A.M. and cloudy in the P.M.  We had a photo taken of us at the top of Gold Coast, but didn't buy it because of the reflections in Karen's sun glasses.  I took her down Shirley Lake trail 5 for the first time.  Later I took Solitude several times — the first in many decades.  I also took Granite Chief — since it had been groomed in the A.M.  I did not attempt Headwall because the wind had blown the soft snow off and left only slippery hard pack.  At the end of the day I came down the North side to the Mountain Run; that was a mistake as the snow was very bad.  Then I took Red Dog the easy way; with the poor light the face looked too difficult.  Karen bought a Squaw Valley black hat to shade her eyes on the drive home.
- February 22, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
There were lots of people at Alpine since it was Washington's Birthday.  It was sunny all day and the snow was good.  Karen skied well and took the Weasel, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Ladies Slalom runs.  I took the Summit Six Chair many times; the wind was heavy at the top.  I bombed the Scott runs, Yellow trail, and Ladies Slalom several times each.  I skied the trail over to Sherwood and decided I could take Karen there on a future trip.  I quit at 3:30 P.M.
- March 8, 2006:  Squaw Valley USA
Click to enlarge The trees were covered with about 6" of new snow, the scenery was beautiful, and Interstate 80 was clear.  It was fairly crowded when we arrived at 9:00 A.M. — since this was the only day during the last 10 days that it hadn't been stormy in the Sierras.  The temperature was comfortably cold, wind was minimal, and the snow was light, dry, and somewhat slow.  It was sunny in the A.M. but progressively more cloudy in the P.M.  Numerous extreme skiers were coming down the cliffs of the Palisades.  Karen skied all three runs down Gold Coast (see photo) and two trips down Shirley Lake trail 5 with me, but didn't like the small moguls and build-ups of soft powder.  She especially enjoyed the upper part of East Broadway, but stopped when her fingers got too cold.  I found the face of Siberia to be difficult due to its soft moguls.  I didn't try Headwall because of its heavy moguls.  I got plenty of exercise and leg burn on the Shirley Lake runs.  The Mountain Run and Red Dog trails were good.  It began snowing lightly as we left and was snowing harder as we passed Donner summit.
- March 22, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
We were on the first chair by 9:30 A.M. and found there to be very few skiers today.  It was sunny all day, cool but comfortable, the groomed trails were great, and the snow was light and soft.  New snow, left over from a late-March storm, was falling from the trees.  Karen skied surprisingly well when she followed me down fast and relatively steep runs on Robin Hood, Sherwood, Ladies Slalom, Red, and Red Green trails.  She also took Weasel and Ladies Slalom many times on her own.  I took the Summit Six Chair three times and found negligible wind at the top.  But in the afternoon I was disappointed with the buildup of crud and my difficulty in handling the relatively small moguls on Alpine Bowl, Blue, Scott, Lakeview, and Yellow (bigger moguls there).  I quit at 3:15 P.M.
- March 30, 2006:  Squaw Valley USA
We were on the slopes at 9:15 A.M.  The temperature was cool and brisk, wind at High Camp was minimal, and some trees still had about 3" of new snow.  It was sunny in the A.M. with intermittent clouds.  Karen skied all three runs down Gold Coast, did two runs down Shirley Lake with me, and handled small moguls and crud without trouble.  After lunch darker clouds came in and made for periodic white-out conditions.  Siberia was widely groomed and fast.  I skied two trails down Granite Chief and all of the Shirley Lake runs.  Mountain Run was fairly crowded.  My last run was the face of Red Dog.  A few snow flakes fell as we were leaving.  It began raining heavily about half way back to Auburn.
- April 6, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
On the slopes at 9:05 A.M., our day began cold and clear.  The trees had 4" to 10" of snow on them.  The trails were mostly well groomed and the snow was light and soft.  Yellow chair was closed.  Karen and I skied Weasel, Sherwood, Ladies Slalom, Red, and Red Green trails.  She was unhappy that the top of Sherwood was not groomed and that we had to briefly traverse across 6" deep new snow.  Karen had a mild headache and quit soon after lunch.  There was negligible wind at the top of Summit Chair.  In the P.M. I worked on trying to better handle the crud and small moguls on Alpine Bowl, Red, Scott, and Yellow.  The P.M. was definitely Spring skiing.  I got too hot and quit at 2:30 P.M.
- April 20, 2006:  Alpine Meadows
On the slopes at 9:00 A.M., our day began cool, clear, and with plenty of snow.  The trails were groomed, but the snow was very hard, crunchy, with some small popcorn.  Yellow chair was closed.  Karen and I skied Weasel, Red, and Red Green trails.  Fortunately, the snow softened nicely by about 10:30 A.M. and we then had some good snow for an hour.  I skied the Alpine Bowl and the second Scott run.  We noticed that there were numerous young kids on the slopes and in classes; undoubtedly on Easter vacation.  By 11:30 A.M. we ran into some spots of wet and slow slush — especially at the top of Weasel and the bottom run into RoundHouse.  Karen wasn't happy with her skiing and we took an early break.  I skied one run with her after the break.  Storm clouds were then rapidly coming in.  Karen then quit for the day.  I got a workout trying to handle the crud and small moguls on Alpine Bowl, Blue, Red, Red Green, and Ladies Slalom.  There was no wind at the top of Summit Chair.  I got hot and tired and quit at 1:15 P.M.  Even though Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are remaining open in May, this ends our 2005/2006 ski season.
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Copyright © 2006 by Daniel W. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.