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Powder Day on Mt. Tallac, March 2003

(Story by Nate Roth; images by Nate Roth & Chris Gallardo)

Click on any thumbnail for a full size image

Chris Gallardo (aka bcrider) surfs above Lake Tahoe

Freshies on Tallac

Join our roving tbc.net correspondents bcrider and Telenater as they find some nice fresh snow on our favorite local hill.

Some nice photos and a sweet video by bcrider


It was a dark and stormy morning...

Well, not really, but it was pretending to rain in Davis. However, that did mean that somewhere about 80 miles east of me it was snowing. And just to top it off, I was stuck in front of a computer with a full day’s worth of work ahead of me. Could I cut out and go ski powder tomorrow? Nope, got a meeting with the boss to go over the work that was going to keep me employed. Could I cut out on Friday and go ski powder? Again, it’s a negative. I’ve got to prepare gear for fieldwork the following week. Could I ski powder at the resorts on Saturday? Probably, but it just wouldn’t be as good as fresh tracks. So, what can I do to get some freshies? I know, I’ll email Chris (bcrider) and see if he wants to hit the backcountry! I do, and he replies with the words that I’ve been thinking since I suggested a trip.

"Mt. Tallac"

Saturday, I’m up well before the butt crack of dawn… 4am to be exact and driving to meet Chris. We meet right at the agreed time and quickly ditch a car. An hour and twenty later we’re at the trailhead it begins to snow on us. We skin up and head out. It’s still snowing on us and we start to think we might be getting a little more fresh snow than we’d expected. Soon it stops snowing on us and we’re treated to a break in the clouds and a great view of Mt. Tallac with a fresh coat of snow. Very beautiful. We continue climbing and are passed by two skiers who don’t understand that gravity is trying to work against them (We’ve been climbing for two hours. They’ve been climbing for an hour and a quarter). One was on AT and one was on tele. We chat for a few and let them pass. The clouds have come back in, shrouding the top from view in a haze vaguely reminiscent of milk. We find a nice tree well near the base of the north bowl and munch on some snacks while hoping that the clouds would lift. About three suckerholes later, we decide that we’d rather head down to find some good turns than climb and ski blind.  

Big mistake! As soon as we’ve crossed gingerly below the bowl the clouds lift for the remainder of the day. On the positive side, we’re looking down a very attractive chute towards the right arm of the famous “Cross.” Bcrider says he’s done it in the past and has been eyeing it for the past few seasons but can never get anyone to go. A quick recon and a few longing glances up to the summit, all of 200 feet above us and we’ve decided on the chute. Chris wants to film so I go first. The entrance is a little steep with very variable conditions. My first turn is a survival one. So is my second. My third brings me to powder, which I’ve obviously forgotten how to ski (replace your divots?). I pick myself up and ski out of the sluff I was riding and set myself up to shoot some pics of Chris from a safe location. Chris rips it in his usual manner. He makes it look so smooth it almost makes me think about picking up a snowboard again (almost J).

A hasty conference, and we’re headed to the joint section of the “Cross.” As we pass below the cliff band that marks the side of the upper section we can look up and see some other people climbing out of the top following a poor route finding choice, maybe due to the fog. Across a small cirque bcrider and I see a nice little bump which he calls the Fallen Leaf peaklet with a chute that’s begging for some turns to be made. We make a small traverse to the base and boot up a short but steep slope to ski it. The rest of our trip back to the car is unremarkable, assuming that a foot of powder is unremarkable to you. It isn’t to us.

A quick bushwhack and we’re at the car grinning because we know that today we were in the right place at the right time.










Click on the link below to see the BC Productions video of the trip. 





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