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Tahoe Nugget #30:

Snow Sailing on Mt. Rose

Good news on the weather front! The Tahoe Basin in under a Winter Storm Warning through Sunday (Dec. 18). The National Weather Service is forecasting storm totals of 8 - 16 inches at lake level, with 18 - 30 inches above 7,000 in the snow-prone ski areas. Confident levels are high with the likelihood of significant precipitation at 100%. The excitement is palpable.

Snow had not yet begun in earnest today, so I cruised up to the Mt. Rose meadows for more cross-country skiing. Snow conditions are still good up there, but it was cloudy and cold with a stiff wind — definitely a big change from the sunny weather we've been experiencing here in the mountains. (For the past two weeks there has been a persistent inversion with cold, damp and cloudy conditions in the lower valleys on both sides of the Sierra.)

In the last few years, snow sailing skiers/boarders have become a common sight on the Mt. Rose meadows whenever the wind picks up. I'm sure the sport has a cool, official name, but I don't feel like doing a Google right now. The idea of using wind to propel winter sports enthusiasts is not new. Check out the second photo where adventuresome women in Truckee are preparing to "sail" at the turn of the 20th century.

Today's snow sailors are pulled by high-tech para-sails that really catch the wind. Sliding on skis or snowboards, they rip across open snowfields at high speed and catch Big Air when they hit snowbanks or similar launch features. I get the feeling that these women with what look like modified window shades were taking a more demur approach.
Thanks to the Truckee-Donner Historical Society for use of the photo. All rights reserved.

Snow sailing 1 Mt. Rose ID and resized 12-05Historic snow sailing TDHS ID and resized

 

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