Snow Reporter's Blog

04/01/2012 | By Leslie
April Fools POW POW!!

The joke is on you if you missed out on the 18” of light n' fluffy deliciousness today! April Fools Day conditions were absolutely amazing, no joke!

We kicked off the day by hooking up all of our season pass holders with early access to all the untouched goods. Since I take my job as a snow reporter very seriously, you know I was in line by 7:50 with all the stoked out pass holders!

The snow was so amazing that I actually reported all the snow conditions on Lake Tahoe TV today straight from the mountain, in between pow turns! These two little ones were especially excited to spend their morning in a foot and a half of fresh pow!

Throughout the day, you could hear loud screams of joy and laughter as my fellow powder hounds raced through the stealth powder stashes along 40 trails of unbeatable terrain! It’s no surprise to me when I hear these joyous screams….it’s likely to occur because their day is going a little something like this!

The terrain park crew had their work cut out for them this morning! The 18” of fresh pow buried the course set up on Bashful for the Billabong Flaunt It Finals (which was rescheduled for today). As the park crew began digging out from under all the snow, the sun came out of the clouds and set up the Billabong Girls with a perfect day to “Flaunt It!”

With such amazing pow to shred, it’s important to educate yourself on powder safety tips! I know the off piste skiing and riding is oh so tempting right now, so if you choose to go into the trees – just make sure to always ride with a buddy and keep them in your sights at ALL TIMES as you carve up the pow!

Buddy up, stay safe, and have a BLAST in 18” of fresh POW!!

03/30/2012 | By Leslie
Spotted At Sierra

Earlier this week, Sierra had the pleasure of hosting the world-famous “Roaming Gnome” from Travelocity!

I was lucky enough to be his host for the day, and I made sure he experienced all the amazing things Sierra has to offer! We started the tour at the coolest new park on the mountain, “Yoda’s Riglet Park!” While the Roaming Gnome was intimidated by the large storm troopers at first, he decided to help them watch over all the younglings and padawans as they learn to snowboard using the ways of the force!

Then, of course, he was greeted by Chewbacca with a loud, “Gnoooooooooooommmmmmeeee.” After these two shared a few tips on growing their large beards, it was time to show off our amazing mountain!

The Roaming Gnome cruised down Sugar & Spice like a pro on our way over to West Bowl. We had to stop for a photo opp as the Gnome pointed out the seamless corduroy that Sierra is so well known for!

We ran into some trouble while trying to go through the lift line at the bottom of West Bowl. It seems that it’s difficult to scan a lift ticket when it’s attached to your head. Thankfully, this nice chap figured it out!

The Roaming Gnome kept boasting about his park skills so I took him to our advanced signature terrain park on Bashful so he could throw down and prove himself. Once he saw the LARGE jumps in the park, he became a little bashful, but stomped it like a pro!

While you’re at Sierra – it’s vital to the experience that you check out the breath-taking views of the lake and surrounding mountains from the roof-top of the 360 smokehouse. The Roaming Gnome became a little frightened by the sight of the storm rolling in so we moved on to the après portion of the day!

The après scene might just be the Roaming Gnome’s favorite part of the day, but he may have enjoyed the perks of the Pub Club just a little too much!

Overall, the Travelocity Roaming Gnome had a smashing good time at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort!! We look forward to his return!!

03/27/2012 | By Leslie
Sierra's Spring Fiesta is in Full Effect!

Sierra’s Spring Fiesta is in full effect, with every weekend jam-packed full of sweet activities and events! With so much going on all over the mountain this past weekend, I’m gonna break it all down to give you every juicy detail!

The weekend started off with a completely fresh terrain park on Bashful! Park crew worked their magic all week long to premier 12 brand new features including a couple LARGE jumps, just in time to practice your skills for the upcoming competitions!

Vans and Pro Tec Present Hi-Standard

A bunch of talented riders took part in the Vans and Pro Tec Hi-standard this Saturday, and I was stoked to spend part of my work day watching it all go down. This Double Big Air comp took place in our freshly rebuilt, signature terrain park on Broadway!

Each rider got 2 jumps and couldn't spin more than 540 on each jump. In a world chocked full of double and triple corks, it was refreshing to see a comp that truly focused on style and creativity!

Live Music from California Repercussions

At the base lodge this Saturday, everyone was enjoying the live music from California Repercussions AKA The Reapers! This 45-70 piece marching band is a melting pot of alumni from Northern California collegiate marching bands (UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and Standford).

The band brought in some killer energy to the base and inspired many guests to join in on the fun as they rocked the mountain with tunes including “American Idiot,” “Love Shack,” and “Original Prankster.”

Women’s Camp Presented by GNU Snowboards

This season’s final round of Women’s Camp went down on Sunday, and overall, the camp was a big hit!  12 ladies spent a super fun day on the mountain improving their skills with our top female instructors! This really is such a fantastic program and we’re stoked to keep it going next season!

Alright boys, I know what you are thinking….what about us?! Where is our Men’s camp? Well, instead of getting jealous, think of it this way – the more women we can help to improve their skiing/riding skills, the more beautiful snow bunnies you will see on the slopes! The way I see it, it’s totally a win, win!

Sierra’s Spring Fiesta Keeps Rollin’

Get stoked for an unforgettable up-coming weekend, as Sierra hosts the Billabong Flaunt It Finals! This TTR 4-Star event  will bring some of the most talented women in snowboarding to Sierra as they throw down their best tricks all day to "flaunt it!" Sierra’s own snowboarding superstar, Jamie Anderson will be in attendance as a guest MC as the ladies compete for a $10,000 cash purse and tons of other sweet prizes!

Photo Credit Kyle McCoy

We’re ready to enjoy the good life that is spring at Sierra-at-Tahoe, come join us – you’ll be stoked you did!

03/21/2012 | By Leslie
St. Powder's Day Weekend Recap

As the storms dumped multiple feet of snow on us last weekend, Sierra hosted a few unforgettable events to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – AKA St. Powder’s Day! In case you missed out on all the fun – I’m here to bring you a recap of everything that went down!

We started Saturday off with some killer energy at the resort! Our snow removal crew had their work cut out for them with the 2+ feet of new snow that fell Friday night, but it was nothing they couldn’t handle!

I’m proud to report that not only did we open on time, when other resorts were unable to; we even pulled off the early load into West Bowl, as promised to Sierra Season Pass Holders!

Scout Day

Local Boy Scouts joined us for this unforgettable weekend to earn a Snowsports Merit Badge as they learned about on mountain safety straight from our ski patrol staff!  To earn this merit badge each scout had to demonstrate their skiing/riding abilities and knowledge of snowsport safety.

GNU Greenhorn Games

That same day, 16 little groms signed up for the coolest 13 & under snowboarding competition in the world – The GNU Greenhorn Games!

These little ones spent the day learning new tricks, making new friends, and having a super fun day in our signature terrain park on Upper Main! GNU hooked all these youngsters up with tons of free shwag and lunch which consisted of hot dogs, pickle dogs, and some brave kiddos went for it with the double dog!

College Shred Fest Presented by popchips

At the base of the mountain – College Shred Fest presented by popchips was in full swing with tons of exciting activities going down! Popchips hosted potato sack races at the bottom of Broadway, bringing a lot of great energy to the mountain!

Meanwhile, a party was going down in the Sierra Pub with St. Patty’s Day drink specials and a live DJ! Contests were hosted inside the Pub as the lucky winner of our Frozen T-shirt Contest scored a month supply of popchips! The big giveaway of the day was the 2012-13 Sierra Season Pass, but we definitely made contestants work for it! To win the Sierra Season Pass, contestants entered the Shred Fest Taco Eating Contest and stuffed down some super spicy tacos in record time! This contest was both really fun and really disgusting at the same time!

The contest came down to the wire and tension was high! In the end though, it seems the winner  of the 2012-13 Sierra Season Pass is either in shock or beyond stuffed!

If you missed out on all the fun, there’s no need to get bummed out! We’re gearing up for another weekend chocked full of sweet events as we continue Sierra’s Spring Fiesta! On Saturday, the California Repercussions is bringing you live music to groove to as you slide down Broadway!

Also this Saturday, Vans and Pro Tec are bringing style to the slopes of Sierra Resort! The Hi-Standard Double Big Air brings snowboarding “back to the basics” by limiting riders to spinning 540’s or less – this comp is strictly based on style and creativity. And with a $2,100 cash purse up for grabs – this is one event you don’t want to miss out on!!

Listen up ladies – We’ve got another round of Women’s Camp presented by GNU Snowboards comin up this Sunday! Sierra’s best female snowboard instructors will help you attain your goals in an all female environment. Hit the slopes or session the park and then hit Sierra’s Apres scene! You’ll also have a chance to win a brand new GNU snowboard!! Cruise on over to to register today!

With so many awesome events jam-packed into one weekend – lets face it, Sierra is the place to be!!

03/20/2012 | By Leslie
Staying Safe in the Powder

There sure is a lot of excitement that comes along with big snowfalls of over 6 feet; however, there is also a high level of danger involved – especially with this season’s unusual snowfall.The scary truth is that the odds of surviving a deep snow immersion accident are low, only 10%. Don’t worry, your trusty Sierra snow reporter is here to provide you with all the safety tips needed to have fun and stay safe on the mountain!

Understanding the Dangers of Deep Snow

As a snow sports enthusiast, it is vital to understand the dangers of deep snow and know how to prevent accidents such as NARSID (Non-Avalanche-Related Snow Immersion Death). About 65% of NARSID cases occur in tree wells, while the other 35% take place in deep snow. 

You might be asking yourself, what exactly is tree well?! Great question! A tree well is a depression that forms around the base of a tree. These wells are hidden from view by the tree’s low hanging branches and a light blanket of new snow. There is no easy way to identify if a particular tree has a dangerous tree well by sight, so prevention is the best tip I can give you.

The most important prevention step is to remain on groomed trails and resist the urge to ski or ride through the trees during deep powder conditions, no matter how tempting the untouched goods may appear.  Check out the daily mountain conditions report for up-to-date information on groomed and ungroomed terrain at Sierra. 

Skiing or riding in deep powder-filled tree areas is a choice, so if you go that route ALWAYS REMEMBER:

1. Buddy Up & Keep Them In Sight

It is critical to ski or ride with a partner who remains in visual contact at all times.  In many cases, some of the deaths which have occurred due to tree well incidents may have been avoided had:

  1. the person been with a partner
  2. the partner saw the person fall and
  3. the partner was close enough to assist digging the victim out in a timely manner.

It does NO GOOD for your safety if you are under the snow and your partner is waiting for you at the bottom of the lift. If you have any question about what a “timely manner” is to assist someone in a tree well, hold your breath now as you are reading this and the amount of time until you need air is approximately how much time your partner has to help get you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the nature of how you fall into the well may extend this critical timeframe.

VISUAL CONTACT means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. IF YOU LOSE VISUAL SIGHT OF YOUR PARTNER, YOU COULD LOSE YOUR FRIEND.

2. Ski or Ride Defensively

· Choose areas of widely spaced trees. You should be able to ski or ride between the trees so that if you lose control you do not fall into a tree well.

· As you ski or ride, avoid looking at trees, rather look at the areas in between them and your body will usually follow suit.

· If you are a skier, remove your pole straps before heading down a powder slope. Trapped skiers have difficulty removing the pole straps, which can hamper efforts to escape or clear an air space to breathe.

3. Carry Backcountry Gear

Carry the same personal rescue gear as backcountry skiers or snowboarders:

· Transceiver

·  Shovel

·  Probe

·  Whistle 

·  Fully Charged Cell Phone

MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP – What to do if you go down??

· Avoid going down.If you are sliding toward a tree well or a deep snow bank, do everything you can to avoid going down: grab branches, hug the tree, or anything to stay above the surface.

· Resist the urge to struggle violently.The more you struggle, the more snow will fall into the well from the branches and area around the well and compact around you.

· Make a breathing space around your face,instead of panicking. Then move your body carefully in a rocking manner to hollow out the snow and give you space and air.

· Stay calm. Hopefully, your partner will have seen what happened and will come to your rescue within minutes. If not, experts advise staying calm while waiting for assistance. Survival chances are improved if you maintain your air space. Over time, heat generated by your body, combined with your rocking motions, will compact the snow, and you may be able to work your way out


Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and its application on steep, mountainous terrain. 

When skiing and snowboarding you get to decide what level of risk you want to accept. If you do choose to accept the risks of skiing and snowboarding in deep powder snow or in the trees, you can significantly reduce the risk of a tree well or deep snow accident. Awareness is the key to safety on the slopes so pass this on to all of your friends and family!

Stay safe out there and have fun!

Content by Mt. Baker Ski Area, Inc. 2006
Excerpts from article written by Robert Cadman, PhD