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Spring skiing on Mt. Tallac

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Telemarker on Tallac over Tahoe

Earlier this month, the Reno-Tahoe gang got the chance to go Backcountry skiing on Mt. Tallac.

One of Lake Tahoe’s premier backcountry destinations, Tallac offers a strenuous 3,200-foot ascent, epic views of the Lake Tahoe basin and a thrilling descent.

Check out the Reno-Tahoe YouTube channel for other Reno-Tahoe videos.Thanks to photographer Justin Cash (who was on the hill with the editorial team from Backcountry Magazine) for throwing a couple photos our way.

-Jim ScrippsMt. Tallac From Cave Rock

Backcountry ski/board on Mt. Tallac

View from Tallac South to Heavenly
The view from Mt. Tallac looking south toward Lake Tahoe (left) and Fallen Leaf Lake (right). Photo / Jim Scripps

With temperatures in the 60s, spring skiing and boarding is in the air in Reno-Tahoe, a good time for the hardier ski-hikers to make a backcountry trek up Mt. Tallac, one the Sierra’s most accessible routes and home to unrivaled views of Lake Tahoe and the eastern Sierra below.

Although Tallac’s approach may be tough for the “fitness-challenged” – it registers 9,735 feet, a 3,255-foot gain to the summit – it’s high vantage point and open, skiable terrain make it well worth the hike. MiketheBike and I escorted a three-man editorial team from Backcountry Magazine up Mt. Tallac on March 6 to give them a taste of spring corn and clear blue skies.

Chilly morning air gave way to warm temperatures as we started up the trailhead around 10 a.m. Mikethebike, Justin and Justin (keeping names straight was also a little tough) sported randonee skis, Mike skinned a split snowboard, and I snowshoed, carrying my snowboard on my back. While the snow started out bulletproof, by the time we reached about 7,500 feet it started to loosen up, a good time for soft turns. I was the first to bail – tired of lugging my board, I strapped it on and ripped a good long run down the canyon. The others would continue toward the summit.

The snow started to harden up by the time my fellow travelers headed down, give them a bone-jarring ride. It turns out the best time to descend was between 2-3 p.m. And regardless of the snow condition, Tallac on a clear sunny day offers one of the best views available for the backcountry enthusiast.

To get to the (winter) Tallac trailhead (map): From Lake Tahoe’s South Shore take Highway 89 toward Emerald Bay. Turn west on Spring Creek Road, the first road after the Baldwin Beach turnoff. The end of the road is the start of the trail. From the trailhead, the summit is approximately 2.2 miles. Climb time varies based on snow conditions … and be prepared for avalanche danger before attempting any backcountry ski trip.

(Check back for a video of backcountry on Tallac…)

- Jim Scripps

Pregnant skiing

After enjoying a month of summer time down south in Argentina– tele girl is back! It’s so exciting to see (and experience) the powder and new snow in Reno Tahoe! Yeah!!!

Since we got back, we’ve been out a couple of times and it’s been awesome! First we went to Thomas Creek with our 18 month old girl and had a blast.

Family Skiing

But last Sat got even better. My friend asked if we wanted to go out on a date she would watch Cielo, so I said “how about Sat morning so we can go skiing?!” and she agreed. So we went up to the Tahoe Meadows and hiked up and teled down while snowing the entire time. It was like heaven! Even though I am pretty pregnant (due in 4 weeks) I love to get out and earn some curves!
Pregnant skiing

Freshie Friday!!!

Here in Reno-Tahoe we guarantee fresh snow every friday. subject to black out days, some restrictions apply, no purchase necessary, store credit only, no rain checks…)

Freshie Friday!

Here are some photos of a little pre-work backcountry ski session called, in the local vernacular, Dawn Patrol. Little is known about these secretive and elusive backcountry creatures. These photos were obtained by a confidential source who refuses to say where they were taken.

Info on backcountry skiing in and around Tahoe can be found @:

  • The Backcountry: Shops with rental gear in Truckee and Tahoe City.
  • a good mountaineering guide and a very active forum.
  • Alpine Skills International: Classes and trips on all winter backcountry sports. This is a world renowned guide service with certified instructors.
  • Wilderness Press: This publisher has some great books and maps written by Reno Tahoe locals. See the Tahoe Backcountry map, Snowsnow Trails Tahoe, and Afoot and Afield in Reno-Tahoe.
  • Sierra Avalanche Center: The gentlemen in these photos reported seeing several avalanches that could have potentially been dangerous to skiers. NEVER go into the backcountry W/O checking this daily report usually posted by 6:00 AM. Don’t ski alone, and always cary, and know how to use, a shovel, avalanche beacon, and a probe. Cell reception is good in most areas of Tahoe, and could potentially save a life.

Have a HAPPY holiday!!! If you’re visiting Tahoe this week, we’d love to see your photos and hear your stories! Drop us a line and join our Flickr Photo Community.