Lake Tahoe Ski Trip – Part 5: Alpine Meadows

As you may recall from my post about Squaw Valley, the weather was less than optimal for skiing.  We even considered heading back to the car and driving over to Squaw’s sister resort, Alpine Meadows.  As it turns out, we didn’t end up doing that, but a couple of days later, we decided to go give the Meadows a shot.

I fully anticipated Alpine Meadows to be Squaw’s ugly sister.  Sure, she’d have her fun moments, but you’d always find yourself gazing over at her superior sibling.  I was wrong.  It’s a great ski mountain, and while it lacks the sheer scale of Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows should definitely be on your list of Tahoe resorts to try.

In truth, I’m writing this post about 3 months after I visited, so my recollection is not as sharp as it could be.  I’m a victim of my own procrastination.  But looking at some of the pictures has brought parts of it back.  Including the fact that it was a ridiculously warm day.  Enough that most of us dropped off our jackets at lunch because it was just too darn hot.  It was like early April conditions…in the beginning of February!

Anyway, the front side of the mountain is full of cruisers.  Nice slopes that let you lazily carve your way from top to bottom.  And of course, the lack of crowds made that part even more enjoyable.  We also ventured off skier’s left to some of the more challenging terrain, and to reiterate the mantra, it really could be fun with some more snow.  In fact, when it had softened up a little, it was pretty fun, but you would still hit patches of ice and that would throw off your whole groove.

After a few run on the front, we dropped over to the backside, which reminds me of a smaller version of the back bowls at Vail.  We traversed over to the bowl area, and just did laps through Sherwood and South Face.  With our legs burning, and sweating under our jackets, we headed for lunch at the base.

Alpine Meadows - BaseDidn’t I say it was a nice day?

After lunch, we skied by the “Hey, we haven’t tried that lift yet” mantra.  The front side, with all the cruisers, is reminiscent of Purgatory, although a bit more open.  Not the most technically challenging area, but just a lot of fun to go bombing around for a day.

Alpine Meadows - Alpine Bowl IMG_0035_2Looking down over Alpine Bowl with Lake Tahoe in the background.  Yeah, getting really sick of that view.

This was the last of the five different resorts we visited.  The next day we returned to Squaw so we could experience some of what it had to offer without the 60 mph winds.  Turned out to be another great day, and also rather memorable as my sister got engaged on the mountain.  Of course, being the younger brother, I had to complain about how long it took for her to say yes, take her pictures, and then get down to the lift so we could get some more runs in.  Some people are just so selfish.

That visit to Lake Tahoe certainly shook some of the “Colorado Ski Snob” out of me.  Not entirely, but I now realize that there is some world-class skiing outside of the Centennial State.  And now that I’ve gotten a taste, I want more.  I’d certainly go back to Tahoe, but I’d also like to visit Wyoming and British Columbia.  I also hear that Montana can be pretty epic, but that one might take a bit more planning.  It’s a very big state.  But I can say that this definitely will not be my last ski trip, and I hope to write about a new one next season.