I’m racing to catch Brendan, Jeff and Derrick even though I have already watched them drop in. Skins get ripped, boots get buckled, and I’m ready to go. But I stop to wait. My dogs, Olas and Nieve, are lying peacefully. Fresh snow envelops their coats. I stop rushing. All I can hear are falling snowflakes. No matter the time of the season, it’s a special moment, when you catch yourself listening to the sound of falling snow. I’m at the top of Alpine Meadows ski area, and everything is covered in snow. It’s only October 23, and I am so fired up!
My moment of Zen retreats. The dogs know what time it is, and I push off. I follow where my friends disappeared and slide in cautiously. Thirty or so hours ago this exact slope held zero inches of snow. After my first turn I realize the gulley is blown deep with several additional inches of snow. I dig in a little harder on my next turn and snow explodes into my face. I can’t help but accept an overwhelming sense of joy, something that would last for several more days through the end of the month in the Lake Tahoe area.
Backcountry skiers and riders are elated with our early-season gift—almost four feet of new snow at high elevation. It may be the middle of fall, but for the winter tribe, it feels like the middle of our favorite season. After working with nothing last season, what more could we ask for?
Jeff Dostie and Derrick Scott on the shoulder of Castle Peak, Calif. [Photo] Brennan Lagasse
Jillian Raymond over Lake Tahoe. [Photo] Brennan Lagasse
Toby Schwindt drops into December-like conditions in October. [Photo] Brennan Lagasse
A nice north-facing playground any time of year, even on October 25. [Photo] Brennan Lagasse
Castle Peak Oct.2012 Pow Chute from Brennan Lagasse on Vimeo.
In Brennan Lagasse’s essay, “Working with Nothing,” he shares his experience making the best of an off winter in Lake Tahoe. “Working with Nothing” is featured in the November 2012 issue of Backcountry, now available on the iTunes newsstand.