Why does Sierra have such amazing trees?
At the end of the 1800's, when Tahoe was being clear cut by lumber companies to support the silver mines in Nevada (you've heard of the Flume trail, right?), the loggers were taking out every Pine and Spruce tree they could find. Sierra's Red Fir trees were left behind because the water-logged trees made notoriously poor lumber, thereby creating today's perfectly spaced old-growth forests for skiing/riding. Because they are so water-logged, moss grows abundantly all along the trunks and branches.
Things to know about skiing/riding in trees!
Going into forested areas around the resort can be the most thrilling part of your day, but it is also dangerous and appropriate for those experienced in off-piste terrain at an expert level of skiing/riding. You must know your ability level and enter at your own risk. Here are a few safety things to keep in mind:
- obey signs and closures.
- always look to and aim for the spaces between the trees.
- always have a good idea of where you are and where you can exit the trees back onto a groomed trail. If you don't know exactly where you are, don't be greedy for fresh tracks.
- always keep your skiing/riding partner in sight! It's fun to say there are "no friends on a powder day", but when you venture into deep snow areas and/or forested areas, there is nothing more important than having a partner who sticks with you. Leap frogging is a technique where each partner takes turns skiing/riding, while the other watches. Sound does not carry well through snow, so stay in visual contact.
- don't ski/ride close to the trees. Tree wells are areas right up against the trees where the snow is deep and not packed down, meaning you can fall into it and not be able to get yourself out. Read more about tree well and deep snow safety before your first powder day.
- respect Mother Nature.