The storms of last week, which brought much needed coverage to the high country, didn't do much for the cross country crowd in the back country.
A trip to Hope Valley on Saturday, April 5, illuminated the lack of snow on both sides of SR 88 in Hope Valley. From Pickett's Junction to Blue Lakes Road, it's simple. There isn't any.
Joyce Coker, Hope Valley Outdoors owner, shut down the Yurt at Pickett's Junction about 10 days ago. She said that "...the snow came down, but the ground is just too warm to hold onto it."
Grassy Lake, or Grass Lake, is on Highway 89, which is how you get from Meyer's to Hope Valley. Grassy Lake is about halfway between Meyer's and Hope Valley. It is a large flat area that parallels the highway, and is generally a good place for cross country skiers. While there was snow there, there was open water on the edge, and it looked wet in several spots in the middle.
For the cross country crowd who likes mostly flat territory, with rolling knolls thrown in, the season is effectively over.It's
To get to snow that is OK to ski on, the journey takes you up to Forestdale Creek and over Carson Pass. Kirkwood XC Center is still open if you'd like to xc ski on their groomed trails. If not, there are some spots that, as of Saturday, April 5, had snow to ski on.
Martin Meadows, Woods Lake, the campgrounds at Silver Lake, and Silver Lake, are possibilities. The snow that was there was loose and grabby. The kick and glide factor was poor, at best. Considering that the weather report for the coming week is warm, there really isn't much time left to xc or snowshoe along SR 88.
On the Highway 50 side, there is some snow at Loon Lake, but it is spotty and in the mornings is icy. Echo Lake's has snow, but here again, the road leading to it is icy. Snowshoes would be OK, for a little while longer, for a trip up to Becker Ridge, the ridge to the south of Echo Lake.
For the randonee and Telemark skiers, there is some time left. The snow above 8,000 feet and higher, is still providing good cover for a few more tracks down the mountain sides. As always, checking the Sierra Avalanche Center before heading out is essential. There have been avalanches on Elephant Back and Red Lake Peak.
The downhill resorts are staying open, most to April 20. If you want to be out on the snow, make plans to go now.