Tahoe Blues: The Best Intermediate Runs
When I think of great intermediate
runs I think of the long and smooth, with enough rolls and terrain variations
to keep my interest. Not too steep, but not too flat either. Perhaps a few bumps
off to the side, but mostly corduroy with enough pitch to keep my turns in rhythm.
The type of run you want if you are trying new skis or had a killer workout the
day before or if you just prefer those zoomed grooms. Trails with the blue squares
come in all shapes and sizes. And Tahoe has plenty.
for more and more terrain variations on intermediate slopes. Gone are the "flat
as a pancake" groomed trails of the '80s. For the new millenium look for more
dips and doodles, skier terrain parks and just good old-fashioned rolls to keep
you addicted to fun. More and more skiers are whooping and hollering and improving
their skiing to boot.
At Squaw Valley the mountain
host will send you to Shirley Lake for intermediate skiing. There are plenty of
trails to choose from, but on a busy weekend there are plenty of skiers as well.
Head over to Solitude for more terrain variation, a little skiing in the trees,
and a little more challenge. My favorite intermediate at Squaw is skiing off the
Newport lift. Natural terrain takes you over knolls and into a great gully for
some banked turns. From the bottom of the mountain check out Squaw Creek, the
run is long and incredibly beautiful.
At Alpine Meadows intermediate
skiers get the benefit of the Family Ski Zone off of the new Hot Wheels Chair.
There you will have
to slow down and enjoy the buffed carpet they call grooming. For more variety
in intermediate terrain take the Roundhouse Chair and head down Red Ridge to Red
Trail, weaving among the trees. Alpine is experimenting with skier terrain parks,
what's that giant snow sculpture? Check it out. In
spring, Sherwood is the ultimate in corn snow cruising, wide open and smooth.
to be the queen of the blue square. They've added more black diamonds, but their
intermediate runs are plentiful and buffed. From the Vista Express Chair take
Logger's Loop into The Woods for a long, uncrowded run. Or look for the yellow
happy faces that point out man made terrain features. Rest up on the Lookout Chair
then take The Gully, Klondike or Hoot Owl for the terrain feature "du jour".
One of the most scenic intermediate
runs in the Tahoe region or the world for that matter has got to be Crystal Ridge
off of the Crystal Quad at Diamond Peak. It's like skiing right into Lake Tahoe.
At the top of the world, with wide-open space to make big sweeping turns, it connects
into Sunnyside to the bottom of the mountain. There are lots of intermediate choices
off of the Red Fox lift, test the terrain features on Lower Show-Off.
The views from Mt. Rose
are of a different sort. Lake and desert views, with lots of vertical, make for
some great cruising. The Slide side has the most intermediates, with the Silver
Dollar one of my favorites. When the sun hits Sunrise Bowl or Outlaw, look out,
you'll be in heaven.
On the South Shore, intermediates
flock to Heavenly. For good reason. The place is almost too big. Choose the California
or the Nevada side. Don't waste time trying to do it all in one day. For intermediate
skiing I prefer the Nevada side. It is less crowded and has plenty of terrain
to keep you interested all week. Let's see, there's the Olympic Downhill, Stagecoach,
Perimeter,… Galaxy…. Lots of terrain, lots of quads. Bring a Power Bar. On the
California side, runs off of the Ridge Chair are beautiful. Liz's gets high ranks
as does Ridge Run. Bring your camera.
Sierra-at-Tahoe there's abundant intermediate terrain with the added plus of lots
of vertical. That makes for long, cruising runs. The West Bowl area is accessed
by a high-speed lift and has lots to choose from. Try Powder Horn, the last one
over on skier's left, for a long, rolly non-stop cruise. Sierra-at-Tahoe has added
lots of snow toys for a "high thrill, low skill" experience. Check out the snobikes,
ski boards and ski foxes at Sierra's Hill Thrill Center. The snow toys are currently
sliding on Broadway Run and Sugar n' Spice.
Combine the blue of Lake
Tahoe with the blues on the slopes - and it will keep you cruising for a couple
of weeks. Kirkwood, Tahoe Donner, Sugar Bowl, Donner Ski Ranch, Boreal, Homewood,
so many blues - so little time.