The Base Grind: December 30th

Snow, girls, snow

Tahoe Suffers a Dangerous Christmas Eve

KT 22 on December 19th, 2012, the day before it opened. PHOTO: MATT PALMER/SQUAW VALLEY

The intensity of Lake Tahoe's early season storms, which have already soaked most of the lake's resorts with more than 50 percent of their average annual snowpack, reached a head over the Christmas vacation. On Sunday, December 23rd, three snowboarders set off an avalanche above the Fingers at Squaw Valley. The slide came close enough to the KT-22 chair that the avalanche pulled a ski instructor off the chair. The deep slab layer, created from facets earlier in December, ripped out a five-foot crown.

On Christmas Eve, during a period of "considerable" avalanche danger for the region, a patrol avalanche set off on Sherwood Bowl at neighboring Alpine Meadows killed a patroller who was waiting in a traditional safe zone. The slide cracked wider and higher than patrol anticipated, and 28-year veteran patroller Bill Foster died from injuries sustained during the slide. The same day, 49-year old snowboarder Steven Mark Anderson went missing at tiny Donner Ski Ranch, and was found under three to five feet of avalanche debris near the base of the mountain several hours later.

New Girls on the Block
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The women's slope field has been a historically shallow one, but this early season has seen it expand at a quick clip. In November, unknown German Lisa Zimmermann stomped the first double cork 1260 ever by a girl, and now two young Americans, Alex Breda and Alexi Micinski, have dropped an edit featuring huge and smooth spins off the big jumps at Mammoth and Keystone with confident style a la Kaya Turski. Not to mention Alixi throwing flawless 450's out of rails. This year women's slope contest should be interesting…

DYNAMITE Free Full Movie
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While Field Productions and Legs of Steel might be the two most well known Euro crews to North Americans, plenty of others made good use of the stellar season in the Alps last winter. The largely German and plainly named Freeski-Crew put out this 22-minute effort for free a few months ago, and it's worth checking out. Plenty of worthy big-mountain, pow, and park, and the most awesome backyard jib setup south of Andreas Håtveit's house.

A Few Good Edits…

This is what they mean when they refer to your "bag of tricks." Of course, if this is a bag of tricks, then most of us only have a pocketful if we're lucky, a dime bag if we're normal.

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Jack Borland showing why he was one of the best up-and-comers on the scene last winter.

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B-roll my ass…

The Difference a Year Makes


While it's no reason to think climate change is never going to happen, we can all revel this New Year's in the fact that 64 percent of the nation is covered in snow. For math nerds, another five percent and we would have exactly three times the coverage we had on December 29th, 2012.