I’m Your Huckleberry - Ski Mag

I’m Your Huckleberry

Sierra-at-Tahoe opens backcountry terrain to the masses.
Jamie Burge stuffs herself full of huckleberries.

Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Huckleberry Canyon—a 320-acre bowl littered with pillow lines, 30-foot granite cliffs, and 50-degree spines—used to be out-of-bounds terrain limited to avalanche-savvy skiers. But last winter, ski patrol at Sierra-at-Tahoe, a little-known California resort 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe, decided to conduct avy control in the canyon, opening up the slide-prone steeps to the masses. Reach these 500-foot technical lines by riding Grandview Express and passing through one of five monitored gates. Scope your line from the horseshoe-shaped ridge and then drop the cornice hovering above Huckleberry. You’ll find soft, powdery landings on the sun-shielded, north-facing slope, which gets an average of 480 inches of snow annually. Beacon, shovel, and probe aren’t required, but the resort recommends bringing avy gear anyway and skiing with a buddy. A lift ticket costs $69, and for an additional $49, you can take a two-and-a-half-hour backcountry-skills session, which includes avy-gear rental and tips on route selection and snowpack. [sierraattahoe .com]


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Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.

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Located stumbling distance from the bars, casinos, and the Heavenly gondola.

Trip Ideas: Kirkwood, California tout

Trip Ideas: Kirkwood, California

This off-the- beaten-path Tahoe resort offers the most reliably abundant snowfall in a region that can be feast or famine.

Sierra 2011


Fun cliff drops, chutes, open bowls, and pillow lines. And tons of snow.