For those of us that weren’t lucky enough to be in Tahoe this past week, photographer Ming Poon lets us live vicariously through his lens.
“This storm brought a great cycle but didn’t live up to the hype. Squaw is reporting 64” in the last seven days. That’s a lot of snow, but not the 100” some were hyping. Regardless, it was a great storm and the storm of the year, a classic Sierra monster storm like that one that got the Donner Party,” says Poon.
“We’re now heading back into blue skies, warmer temps, and seemingly no snow for at least 10 days. I bet the powder holds on north faces through Friday, maybe Saturday. Gotta get it while you can!”
Brennan Lagasse skiing Jakes Peak backcountry on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore.
“Brennan is a professor of sustainability at Sierra Nevada University, so conversations on the hill are often focused around sustainable backcountry skiing,” says Poon. “How can we ski safe, have fun, leave no trace and do it sustainably? It’s an ongoing and evolving process but, as you can see, he has the fun part dialed. This images was taken between storm cycles after 4+ feet of snow fell in 48 hours. Sustainability (longevity) was a common theme in our decision making.”
Keeping the speed
“There were two days during the storm cycle that dropped over 4+ feet of snow in a 48 hour time period. When the snow is that deep, it can be an issue to keep speed. Jim Morrison was prepared with his 122cm under foot skis. More surface area and more float are very important for deep days like this.”
With such heavy accumulation in such a short time, even in-bounds terrain poses risk to skiers. “On those deep and stormy days, patrol recommends a buddy system and all skiers wearing avalanche beacons. While it can be scary… these are the days many skiers and riders live for,” says Poon.
Xander Guldman cranking turns in Truckee, Cali.
I had the pleasure of connecting with Xander during the end of the massive January storm cycle… He might be the most talented young skier I’ve seen,” boasts Poon. “Love the skill, professionalism and energy Xander brings to the community. Watch out for this guy.”
“When the skiing is as good as it was during the heart of the cycle, you ski until the lifts close. These guys literally had to stop us from loading, nobody wants to stop despite being tired, wet, fogged lenses or the amassing emails,” says Poon.
Daron Rahlves’ flies high
“Daron Rahlves doesn’t just know how to win world cup and olympic races, he’s also one of the best freeskiers on the planet. Here’s Daron jumping a cliff near his home in Truckee, CA. The massive storm cycle kept us on lower angle terrain, which provided Daron a blank canvas to display his skiing abilities beyond racing. He jumped and slashed the playful terrain freshly sculpted by the massive storm cycle.”
Stormy skies and Olympic history
“Skiers walking next to the Olympic rings on the Squaw Valley funitel while walking away from the infamous KT-22 chair after an epic storm day of skiing. Squaw was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, a large part of the resort’s legacy.”
Brenann Lagasse skis to the shore from Jakes Peak
“You can never have too many blue sky powder days. These are the days photographers dream of. Early season is usually the only time we can get such high quality snow in the sun. Later in the year, snow on aspects like this would be sun effected. As you can see, this snow is nothing but perfection in one of the most beautiful environments.”
Low angle and loving it
“During big storm cycles like we had the last week of January into the first week of February, we often stay on lower angle, supported terrain to avoid avalanche hazards. As you can see, Amie Engerbretson knows how to make the best of any terrain.”