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(Written by Sam Cox - January 15, 2016)

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Anticipation is high as winter starts, you spend excessive amounts of time obsessing about weather predictions and before you know it, you’re firmly entrenched in the routine at the home hill and the majority of the season has passed you by. Venturing out on the road can require overcoming a significant amount of inertia. However, skiing is a tool for exploration, and once beyond the familiar confines of your local area, you’ll find spaces, places and like-minded individuals that will enrich your existence. Meaningful connections with these people you meet are established in a more rapid fashion than those with the general populace around you, and you quickly find yourself with an ever expanding network of friends and storm-chasing destinations.

As a young skier in the 1980′s, two films stood out and had a profound impact on me - Ski Time and Blizzard of AAHHH’s. The skiing around Tahoe (and of course Scot Schmidt) plays a major role in both titles, consequently I’ve always held the area in the highest regard and envisioned skiing there with good coverage during a storm cycle.

I’ve made the trek to ski in California on two prior occasions, but unfortunately the region had been almost completely lacking anything resembling a snowpack during both outings. I knew I had to get back when things were optimum, but this has been a difficult proposition the last four winters due to meager precip and abnormally warm temps.

During December I’d been keeping tabs on snowfall totals in Tahoe with a watchful eye, and on the 30th the time was right. Early that morning I made a spur of the moment decision to make the journey south.

Initially I roughed out an itinerary and was planning on spending 4-5 days cramming in as much skiing as possible before I sailed north again. When it was all said and done, I stayed for two weeks.

Thanks to the graciousness of my hosts, several newfound skiing partners and an abundance of enthusiastic locals, I explored both sides of the lake and as far south as Mammoth.

We used every means of uphill conveyance at our disposal (sleds, skins, lifts and a less than friendly bootpack or two) to access the massive amounts of terrain that beckoned to us. Everybody I met during my stay was genuinely interested in showing me the intricacies of their area and ensuring I had the best skiing possible.

Though I returned home physically beaten down by an abundance of good snow and a liver taxed into poverty, I ended up a wealthier man, having solidified old acquaintances and forged new ones. California lived up to all of my expectations and I’m looking forward to returning on a more consistent basis. A trip like this absolutely would not have been possible without several key players. I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to

the Junkshow Media House, Geneva Bisel, Kirkwood Ski Patrol, Rob McCormick, Robb Gaffney and the Jaded Local.

I brought the camera out for a few days as well, enjoy, and if you find yourself with the opportunity to take a trip but you’re unsure, take the trip. You won’t regret it.

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