Skiing a gem on Rubicon Peak

On Wednesday, Lake Tahoe received 3-6 inches of snow at the Lake - incredibly cold, light snow, as close to the champagne powder of the Wasatch and Rockies that the Sierra Nevada can ever receive.  Ski areas reported 20-30 inches on the mountains.  It was the kind of day that ended on an even better note than it began, as the snow fell faster than it could be skied and the stars came out that evening, lighting the new blanket covering the trees.

Getting ready / Looking up at Rubicon

Sander, Lucy, Charlie and I wanted something fast, straightforward, and easy to evaluate for avalanche hazard, so on Thursday we headed for the North Slopes of Rubicon Peak.  We weren't alone - we passed the team responsible for setting the new skin track (thanks again!) and made quick work of the 2200-foot climb.

Rubicon Peak is locally famous for its tree skiing and access.  It is the "go-to" peak for quick dawn patrols, low-angle slopes on the high-hazard days, and a fantastic view.  It stands 3000 feet over the lake, though the trailhead parking is at 7000 feet elevation.  Looking west into the Desolation Wilderness reveals a lifetime of backcountry potential.

Sander and I scrambled to the very summit rocks while the dogs waited below, then we stripped the skis and headed down.  Amongst the trees the snow was just deep enough to reach the shoulder, but not so deep to require goggles.  Charlie and Lucy had an excellent time keeping up with us, and the trees were perfectly spaced.  It was hero-snow all the way to the cars.

Sander and Lucy / Charlie and Chris

Blue skies.  Sunglasses.  Tree skiing.  Fantastic pitch.  Shoulder-deep snow.  Dogs.  Good friends.  Perfect Day.

Looking north from the summit.

Statistics:  Rubicon Peak, 9280'.  North Slopes, 2280' climbed, 2260' skied.

All photos courtesy of Sander and used with permission.  I'll add my own later this weekend.