Unofficial Alpine Archives

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Alpine Meadows: Making Some Very Smart Decisions

by Mark

There’s going to be some very happy college students this season at Alpine Meadows. It appears as if mountain managers are listening. Last year’s college passes really made no sense, since they blacked out larger blocks of time where college students were on break.  That is no longer a problem, not in the least.

Alpine (and Squaw) removed all blackout dates for college passes this season, and with a price of  $389, it’s a great deal. Along with the announcement of a “mile long” terrain park last week, management is clearly making a move to attract a younger crowd. These types of moves are smart because you create lifelong customers.

The College Rep Program will make it even cheaper for some students. Apply to be a rep at you college and your pass could be free. All you have to do is convince 20 people to buy an Alpine/Squaw pass and your pass is free. It’s another great move to help bring back skiers and boarders after last year’s lackluster season. We applaud the efforts!

All of the details are here at the Alpine Meadows site. It’s a good this this program wasn’t around back in 1984. I might still be in college!

Now if we can just get the same love for the Alpine Meadows development teams….





Chasing Snow Is Getting Tougher Every Month

by Mark

We knew that finding snow to make September turns was going to be a challenge. Doing a quick recon view from Mount Rose last weekend revealed a very brown scene around Tahoe. One tiny patch was visible, on the north slope of what is presumably Dick’s Peak. That is one tough approach hike! So instead, we headed south, where the Eastern Sierra had a banner year in 2010-11 winter.

Call it crazy, but I was looking to make it month 24 in a row, while my friend Vets was looking for month 107. Our friend Dooks just loves skiing anything. When the going gets tough, and you can’t get to South America or Mount Hood, a trip to Dunderberg is in order.  Dunderberg is a 12,400 foot peak just sought of Bridgeport, California. Head down 395 south and at the top of Conway Summit, turn right onto Virginia Lakes Road. From there you’re following your guide or your map to Kavanaugh Ridge. A high clearance vehicle with 4WD is a must, unless you want to add in a 4 mile approach hike.

The funny thing is, when we arrived at the ridge, another truck pulled in next us. We met Thomas and Eric, from Mount Rose, that were also on a mission to find snow. Eric was marking off month number 215. Eric and Thomas have been skiing the Dunderberg “glaciers” for more than 10 years. Gear was loaded onto packs and with a 45 minute approach hike, we arrived at the Hidden Samurai glacier, which still offered about 450 feet of vertical.

Conditions were less than perfect. As you can see, the suncups had transformed themselves into moguls and odd little peaklets. Making matters worse, cool temperatures this weekend kept conditions to something like “edgable ice”. If you think about combining the sport of skiing with rodeo, it makes sense to say that it was a reasonable goal to make a few turns and last 8 seconds before needing to stop and regroup. Thomas and Eric managed to even make sunup 8’s – an impressive feat in tele gear.

We hiked back over the ridge to the top of Jack’s glacier, which had an impressive drop-off of up to 35 feet at the end, dropping into a glacial pool. Conditions here were quite a bit better with more sun exposure. The terrain was slightly smoother, and a nice corn surface allowed for skiing that was not just survival skiing. No, we did not build a booter into the water. The depth of the pool is only about 5 feet in the landing zone.

Then it was another slow crawl back down to Highway 395. The town of Bridgeport offers a lot of good post ski food options. The Jolly Kone and The Barn have always been the go to locations. The new “J’s On The Corner” seems to be the place to stop. With Labor Day traffic, we weren’t home until 10pm. It was  long but satisfying day.

Hopefully, we will see some new snowfall in early October, requiring less of a journey, and providing smoother turns next month.

For more go here: more unofficial alpine


High Fives: Making It Fun & Easy To Contribute

by Mark

We’ve always been big supporters of the High Fives Foundation. The foundation works to support athletes recovering from traumatic injuries. If you spend much time in Truckee or North Tahoe, you have probably run across Roy Tuscany, Adam  Baillargeon and other High Fives organizers at any number of local venues and events, with some new event to bring money in to support the cause. High Fives events are always filled with fun and people with a passion for life.

As we turn toward the shoulder season, High Fives has a couple of upcoming events to provide a fun way to contribute:

Monday September 3rd:  7-11 Slurpee Day at the Carnelian Bay location. Enjoy a cold Slurpee on the last day of summer vacation and the proceeds go to the High Fives Foundation. So grab your paddleboard, kayak, beach towel and sunscreen for Labor Day and finish off with a Slurpee at the Carnelian Bay 7-11.

Sunday September 23rd: The Fourth Annual High Fives Bocce Ball Tournament returns to the Truckee River Winery. Teams of 2 compete for some awesome prizes, and also get a great lunch from the Full Belly Deli. There’s plenty of cool swag and a fun crowd. Registration is $100 per team and as of today, there are 8 spots left in the tourney. More information on the tourney is here.

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People & Bears

by Mark

Hello friends,

Before I launch into a lesson on existing with bears in Tahoe, let me say that the weather up this way is fantastic.  We have cool breezes and super clear air. Last night was the final concert in the Village at Squaw Valley.  The Blues Monsters played to a large crowd that soaked up every minute of the concert.  We are all sad that the music and dancing is over at Squaw for the summer.

A lot of controversy has been swirling around the past couple of years with respect to our black bear population.  Lovers of mountain terrain have populated bear country creating a friction between the bears and those who live and vacation in Tahoe. People love bears and fear them at the same time.  Some want to feed them and take photos of them to hang on the wall or send home to friends and family.  The problem for the bears is that our wish to attract them and interact with them in a fearless and friendly way causes them to change their habits.  We leave trash out in cans, or in large unlocked bins, baiting them to take the easy eats instead of moving on and eating roots, leaves, small animals, bird eggs, and berries (depending on the time of year). Evidently, the more human food and trash they eat, the more cubs a mother produces.  Of course, this increases the population in an un-natural way and causes additional problems between the two parties.

In an effort to stop bears from eating our trash, locks have been installed on garbage bins (it only works if people lock the bins), steel, bear resistant, trash enclosures are now mandated for all new construction and used by many local homeowners to keep bears from getting into their trash.   The bears have grown accustomed to eating our food.  Therein lies the problem.  Bears are not dumb.  They have learned that houses contain food and breaking into a house to obtain food is generally pretty easy.  Some bears are gentle and enter a home through an window or door. They may leave without creating a huge mess.  Other bears break into homes by pushing in sliding doors or wood front doors (easy for a large strong bear) or just breaking a window and crawling into the house.  One of the worst things that can happen when a bear enters a home is that a door closes behind them trapping the bear in a space.  This freaks out the bear who tends to go nuts trying to exit and in the process, destroys property.  Of course, one does not want to stand between a cub and its mother, inside or outside a property,  as the mother will defend the cub, even if you are not interested in harming either.  A bear will not harm a person who is not attacking it, or teasing it.  They are not really interested in harming human beings.

Unfortunately, many of us do not take the maximum precautions necessary to protect our property from the bear population.  Even taking all the precautions suggested might not prevent a bear from entering your property, but it should limit your exposure. Obviously, closing and locking doors (a dead bolt on an exterior door helps) is a start. Closing window coverings so bear cannot see into the house also helps.  Leaving any type of food or garbage outside of the home when it is not in a bear resistant enclosure is just dumb.  I have been told that a bear can smell food that has been sitting (perhaps spilled) on a deck or other surface weeks or months after it has been cleaned up.  Bears seem to be able to overcome some of the preventative measures that have been suggested in the past.  We put Pine Sol out in front of doors or washed down doors and trim with this substance for awhile, but the bears seem to have figured that smell out and just walk through it.  We have put out nail boards (plywood boards filled with nails poking through the surface) in front of low windows and doors.  This may detour them, but I think they just learn to stand on the nails with time.   Motion activated barking dog devices or loud alarms seem to work to an extent, but they are not fool proof.  Again, a bear may learn the sound and just put up with it while it is eating your leftovers. Some people have air horns they use to scare off the bears (this works when you are home and a bear is looking through your window or scratching at a door), but you have to be home.

Currently, the most effective way of turning bears away from your property is to install an electric fence around the house.  Some people are trying electrified mats placed in front of exterior doors to deter the animals.  I think these may work as long as the bear cannot jump over the mat.  People can walk over the mats with rubber shoes so they can stay electrified while you are home.

I am not recommending any company, as I have not used them in the past, but other people in the area have hired them to install electric fences.  If you are interested in trying the most current preventative measure for your property, then you may want to contact.

  • DS Construction 530-448-9127 (Dan Sheehan)
  • Bear Busters 530-592-9844
  • The Bear League 530-525-7297

For more information on bears check out the Bear League’s website:

It is never too late for all of us to be responsible and make every effort to allow both our bears and our people to live together.

Enjoy your day.



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