Where: Frog Lake Huts Backcountry Skiing Zone (Truckee, CA)
When: March 5, 2022
What: Peak 8,428 just above the huts
Snow Surface: Powder!
All smiles backcountry skiing fresh powder near the Frog Lake Huts just after a snow storm! Photo: Ali Agee
The stars aligned and we got to spend a few days at the Frog Lake Backcountry Skiing Huts smack dab in the middle of a snow storm! Conditions were variable the first couple of days, only to be replaced with three to seven inches of fresh powder on the third day! As you can tell, we were very excited about the new snow!
The crew on the top of our first summit for the day, about to drop in to ski the fresh untracked snow! Photo: Ali Agee
The Frog Lake zone in Truckee, CA is awesome because there are so many different options as to where you can ski, and the descents can be up to 2,000’ long! That’s pretty long for the Tahoe area, but the descent flies by as you navigate steep cliffs, poppy pillow lines, smooth gullies, perfectly spaced trees, and wide open pow runs. Make your ski as steep or as low angle as you want, but try to keep your eyes on where you’re going - the old growth, mossy trees and beauty of Carpenter Valley below can be pretty distracting!
Nearing the summit, getting excited about skiing this untracked run down to Carpenter Valley below. Photo: Ali Agee
We get that the terrain is awesome, but what was the snow like!?
We started all of our ski descents at about 8,400’ on North/Northeast facing aspects and the snow was deep up top! We didn’t see any signs of snowpack instability and chose to ski together as a group. The sounds of fresh turns in the light, fluffy powder were only muffled by the hooting and hollering of all our friends. Stoke levels were high!
As we lost elevation and the new snow became less deep, we could start to hear and feel the firm snow from the previous dry spell under our skis, but if you were light on your feet you could still enjoy the shallow powder turns as we continued to drop further down toward the valley. Once we hit about 7,000’, the trees got thicker and the new snow got thinner, so we decided to head back up to the summit for three more laps of the deep stuff up top. As we kept skiing, our faces began to feel as fatigued as our legs from smiling too much. Darkness was just around the corner and we reluctantly began our return to the huts.
The return back to the huts consists of a few hundred feet of skiing on a South facing aspect, and this was the only skiing we had all day that was less than five stars (out of five). The Southwest winds from the storm had blown all the new snow to other parts of the mountain and exposed the firm conditions from the previous dry spell. It didn’t bug us too much though, as we were looking forward to a delicious meal of tacos and tequila back at the cozy huts. Now if only we could find a way to stay at The Frog Lake Huts every time it stormed in the Tahoe/Truckee area…
Skiing the new storm snow! Blower! Photo: Ali Agee
Psyched on an epic day skiing out of the Frog Lake Backcountry Ski Huts in Truckee, CA! High fives! Photo: Ali Agee
**This was not a guided Blackbird trip, it was a trip with a local group of backcountry skiing buddies!**