News from the snow
Sierra - at - Tahoe USA
"Everybody, just chill" is the most succinct and accurate description of Sierra-at-Tahoe. It's pretty impressive their marketing department has got it down to three words, but we're supposed to have more here. So this is a medium sized mountain with good uplift and whilst dubbed "a good intermediate mountain" by those needing a blanket qualification, there are great things for experts whop bother to look to do here. The atmosphere is, well, chilled, on and off the lifts. Enjoy.
One of the closest ski areas to the major West Coast conurbations with no mountain passes to negotiate to reach it (San Francisco 3.5 hours, Sacramento 83 miles). A free bus service operates from the lakeside.
Sierra operates five magical "Backcountry Gates" passing through which takes you from the world of conventional skiing and in to a land containing some of the best tree skiing in Tahoe and the biggest steeps Sierra has to offer, all within the gorgeous solitude of the Sierra Nevada. Backcountry tours are available for only $25 (About £15) and include three and a half hours of emergency training and breath-taking, thigh-burning jaunts through the best of the hidden Sierra. All guides are professional patrollers and are Level 1 avalanche certified. Group sizes are minimum two, maximum six people, all of whom must be advanced or expert level (You'll be tested on that before you're allowed through the gate).