We need more snow. The little bits that we've gotten over the last couple of weeks has been very welcomed, but it's not added up to much. A healthy snow pack is important for winter recreation and for water for the rest of the year.
The resorts continue to make snow when the conditions are right for it. It's an art that requires perfect timing and low over night temperatures.
In the back country, the only snow making machine is the one up in the sky. If the storms that roll in don't drop the fluffy white stuff on us, there's not much to be done about it.
Multiple feet of snow isn't necessary for great xc skiing though. A trip to Hope Valley two days ago made that very clear.
The floor of Hope Valley is covered with snow. There are some places where the ground is showing through. These spots are on the southern exposure of the hills, and along the banks of the West Fork of the Carson River.
The business of kicking and gliding while xc skiing isn't always easy. In deep snow, the person who is first out, laying down the tracks, works much harder than those who follow. Kicking and gliding in deep, soft snow, doesn't really work all that well.
Once the tracks are laid down the skiing is better, and the glide that follows the kick can be good.
Snow that is packed down and icy isn't easy to ski on either. This is true for both Nordic and Alpine skiing.
Snow that is packed but a bit lose on top is very nice to ski on. That's whats on the floor of Hope Valley right now. It may be measured in inches instead of feet, but those inches are perfect for cross country skiers.
Starting on Highway 89, just before Picketts Junction, the snow doesn't look like much. There are multiple tracks leading out from here.
From this spot, all the way to the other end of the valley, to the bridge on Highway 88 that crosses the river, the conditions are consistent and very, very nice.
The glide after the kick on this snow is smooth all the way. This is what xc skiers dream of.
A couple returning from their day skiing through the valley said that it was about the best day they've had here in 35 years of skiing Hope Valley.
The conditions should stay that way through much of next week. Towards the end of the week things could get a bit mushy during the day, which leads to an ice crust the mornings. Take advantage of getting up there early in the week.
Remember to put some maxi-glide on your skis before you head out. Take snacks, water, and put on the sunscreen for the blue sky skiing that's likely.