Too Much Snow at Tahoe 6
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

Connie Lawn with a sledding dog. Photo credit: John E. Bunch II
So far, we have managed a wonderful, two-hour dog sleigh ride through wild, blissful, snow-covered forests near Lake Tahoe. But, after two days here, we have not been able to ski. One foot of wet, driving snow fell overnight. Another two or three feet are expected. This is on top of 9 feet already in place from last week’s storm.

In the wake of the second storm, many of the excellent ski resorts are fully or partially closed. This is due to a combination of strong winds, which make gondolas and high-speed lifts inoperable, and the blinding snow. It is not very cold - in the low 30’s. But it feels colder, as the snow sticks to your body and soaks your gloves and ski clothes.

Some of the major highways leading to the ski areas are closed, and air traffic into the Reno-Tahoe airport is impacted. We have not yet been able to see the legendary Lake Tahoe, although it is right outside our door. Pictures around us reveal a bright blue, magnificent lake surrounded by towering mountains and capped by billowing snow drifts. The snow is certainly there, and I suppose nothing has happened to the Lake. But, I will have to take their word for it.

We will describe more of the trip as it unfolds. But, we can report on the dog sled ride, which is something I have long wanted to do. It is an experience I highly recommend. It is not fast or exciting, and probably not dangerous, as long as you are with a good driver who can stop the dogs. It is a peacful experience, and brings you close to nature. In many ways, it is like cross-country skiing without the effort. It may not have been as enjoyable for my husband Charles as it was for me. Three people cram into a rather small sled - Charles was on the bottom, with me and another lady on his lap. The driver, or “musher,” stands on the back of the sled. With four people and the sled, the dogs must be pulling one thousand pounds. It is hard work, especially uphill in the deep, wet snow. A few times, the sleds got stuck, and the musher had to help push them up the hill. But, the dogs were always eager to run. This team was comprised of a special mixture of huskies bred with hounds. Each dog weighs about 50 pounds, and has shorter hair than average huskies or malamutes. But the owner assures us they stay warm, and says they can run faster than dogs with thicker hair.

Our dog sleigh trip was sponsored by Sierra Dog Sled Adventures, and the cost averages $50 a run for an adult, and $35 for a child. No discounts for seniors, though - they take up as much room as any younger adult.

Our Reno-Tahoe Regional Media tour was sponsored by RKPR Incorporated, an excellent public relations firm headed by Ronele Klingensmith, her husband, Jenny Frederito, and Bethany Drysdale. They have rolled out the red carpet for us - putting us up at the finest hotels and restaurants in the region. They are doing their best to coordinate a large media tour under trying circumstances. They could not prevent an act of nature from interfering with the skiing - we hope that will change.

About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

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DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Reader Comments

JimK
January 9, 2005
Our intrepid Connie Lawn is in the thick of some remarkable winter weather events.
Excerpts from Jan 9 news reports:
Up to 10 feet was expected over the weekend at the Sierra's higher elevations, according to the National Weather Service.
Up to 4.50 feet of snow fell overnight in the Sierra Nevada around Lake Tahoe, ski areas reported Saturday. That came on top of as much as 9 feet of snow in the Sierra and 4 feet in Reno on Dec. 30.
Interstate 80, which crosses the Sierra and links Sacramento, to the Reno-Tahoe, Nev., area, closed Saturday as did two other major Sierra highways U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass.
The storm also delayed Amtrak passengers over the Sierra for up to eight hours and caused dozens of cancellations and delays at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
The wild weather knocked out power for thousands of homes and businesses and blocked mountain roads. One person died in a sailboat smashed by wind and waves, two resort workers in the Sierra were found dead in a snow-covered car.
JohnL
January 9, 2005
I've been around some Tahoe snow dumps, but what JimK described is off the charts.

Connie,
When it stops snowing, be sure to demo some powder skis, get some powder straps and buy a snorkel. And carry a flask of rum or schnapps just in case you get stuck when you venture out.
Connie Lawn
January 10, 2005
Thank you friends for your great comments! Well, it has been an adventure. We managed a good day in powder at Northstar Sunday, which I will write about. Still working on our wipeout experience at Mt. Rose. We hope to try Squaw again, and then limp off to the airport. Lord knows if we will ever get out of here. Conditions should be out of sight, once the storms are over.
Warren
January 10, 2005
Connie,
It looks like it's feast or famine! You're drowning in too much snow and we'd LOVE to have at least SOME of that come our way. It looks like MORE warm temps for most of this week :(

-Warren-
Crush
January 10, 2005
Hey Woman!
Sounds great .. yup we have been gettin' it big-time out here in the West. Cool that you could partake too!

You know what you need to do if you come by my neighborhood ... let me know sweetie!

And my best regards to Charles .. kepp 'em turnin' you two!

The Crush
Connie Lawn
January 11, 2005
Hi Crush - thanks for your comments in both articles. We miss hearing from you - please keep it up.
The West is fabulous! But, this past week, I really missed the East, and would have preferred my favorite areas here. When the West is good, it is very, very good. When it is bad, it is very very bad! Yours, Connie and Charles

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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