Tahoe Sets Record

For driest three-month spell in last century

Skiers in the Tahoe region were optimistic about this winter. After last season—when the big storms didn’t come until March and everybody was skiing man-made groomers well into January—it seemed like winter had hit rock bottom. Any season would be better than last year’s, right? But coming out of a three-month dry spell, Tahoe just hit a new low.

According to the National Weather Service, this past January, February and March set a record in Tahoe City for being the driest first quarter in the last century. The precipitation Tahoe City usually gets in those same three months, based on a 30-year average from 1980 to 2010, is more than 16 inches. This year, only 2.68 inches of precipitation fell in Tahoe City. The previous record, set in 1976, saw almost an inch more of liquid.

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Junior Freeride World Tour Championships

Today and tomorrow at Snowbird

Want to feel mediocre about your high school years? Watch the best teenage big mountain skiers in the country compete on Silver Fox at Snowbird in the Junior Freeride World Championships. The five-year-old JFT is responsible for giving skiers like Johnny Collinson their start, and according to organizers the level of skiing is only getting higher.

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Troubling Trends: The Rise of Fireball

The tragedy of whisky liqueur replacing bourbon in ski towns

The saddest part of my ski season happened in Montana. Now, Montana is my third favorite state in the Union—I appreciate the long straight highways, very large skies, and the ability to fit in while skiing in Carhartt coveralls. The Treasure State, I always assumed, represented the last vestiges of American ski town grit.

So you’ll understand my confusion, sorrow, and general life demoralization when I attended a ski patrol party in Montana (Montana ski patrollers being, like, the bedrock of the ski town crust) and a red-cheeked patrolman passed me a bottle of nearly empty Fireball. The bottle of Maker’s on the kitchen counter? Untouched.

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Afternoon Delights: Mammoth in the Spring

Parker White, Cole Drexler, and Will Wesson in the Sierra

Spring has sprung and we’ll be posting afternoon edits from around the ski world for your enjoyment. Think of it as an after-dinner mint for the ski season. Today, we have action from Mammoth.

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Frame of Mind, a Chris Benchetler Video Edit

Dragon releases webisode series

Creating a collection of short films starring its snow team riders, Dragon has released another installment of its revealing Frame of Mind webisode series, this time starring Chris Benchetler.

Shining a spotlight on the multi-talented skier, the film short follows Benchetler through powder fields and steep rock climbing ascents as he describes what drives him to achieve his goals.

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All-Time: Italian Couloirs

Following Chris Davenport toward the light

As I went toward the light, it felt like I was emerging from the womb. Eventually, I came out of the huge, tight walls of the 750-vertical-foot couloir and entered a wide-open world of powder. A born-again skier.

It had pissed rain all day in Asolo in northern Italy the day before, and as we loaded vans at the SCARPA factory for the drive to the mountains that night, we learned the pass closed due to a fresh meter of snow and high avalanche danger.

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The 2013 Pain McShlonkey

The world's preeminent small mountain competition

The Pain McShlonkey Classic saw its third iteration go down at a very springy Squaw Valley this Saturday, and it marked the only time of the year where people can snowlerblade down KT-22 without getting ruthlessly heckled, and can celebrate said snowlerblading by slurping from a giant bottle of Jack Daniels at the base area sans problem. Two separate events made up the meat of this contest/drunken costume party for adult skiers/memorial for Shane McConkey: the top-to-bottom Chinese Downhill off KT-22 at the burly and boilerplate hour of 9 AM, and the Extreme Small Mountain Invitational through the moguls and double stage “cliffs” of Enchanted Forest.

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Week in Review: March 31

Talisker is claiming that it has no plans to develop anything else along the route of the proposed Canyons-Solitude gondola, with The Canyons Managing Director reasserting that there will be “No residential, no commercial, and no ski infrastructure beyond the lift towers.” The contentious project still needs the approval of the federal government, as the planned route cuts through 30 acres of Forest Service land.

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Voice: David Wise

Embrace the opportunity

Just after his daughter Nayeli was born, David Wise started a season that would take him from relative obscurity to established pro. The Reno, Nevada, native became the first father to win Ski SuperPipe gold at Winter X. Then, Wise, 22, went on a roll, winning men’s halfpipe at the Snowbasin stop of the Winter Dew Tour and the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth, and finishing third at European Winter X in Tignes, France. Wise’s U.S. Freeskiing Halfpipe Coach Andy Woods saw his rise coming. “It was a bit of a pleasant surprise that he figured it out so quickly and suddenly, but the talent was always there,” says Woods of the skier who, in 2008, was the first to throw a double cork 1260 in the pipe. “He was one of the big reasons I took this job.”

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This Must Be The Place: Boreal

A skate park for skiers

At 500 vertical feet, Boreal, at the peak of Donner Pass on I-80, would be a mere blip, literally and figuratively, on the radar as readers of this magazine power toward Lake Tahoe resorts with bigger terrain and several times more vert. But the 380-acre ski area deserves some attention for two reasons. The first is the outrageously fun skatepark-style terrain park that can be lapped off the high-speed quad, 22-foot pipe run included, in well under 10 minutes. The second is that Boreal has established itself as a legitimate and affordable beginner breeding ground—an unappreciated phenomenon in an industry with anemic growth.

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