Go high young man (or woman)

By Tim Hauserman

This has not exactly been a great winter for Tahoe area cross country skiers and snowshoers. While storms have been bringing snow to the highest elevations, around lake level it’s been pretty much all rain. But there is plenty of snow and plenty of fun to be had for cross country skiers and snowshoers at Tahoe Meadows on the top of the Mt. Rose Highway which sits at 8500 feet.

This past Sunday, with six inches of new snow on top, I headed up to Tahoe Meadows. It’s always a popular spot, but on a weekend, it’s especially popular. The good news is that much of the crowd is interested in snowmobiling and sledding on the north side of the highway. To the south side of Highway 431, snowmobiles are not allowed and skiers and snowshoers can head thorough the trees to Chickadee Ridge or follow Ophir Creek downstream in the open meadow, which gently slopes away from the road.

When I’m on snowshoes, I like to head straight to Chickadee Ridge where beautiful views of Lake Tahoe can be found amongst the whitebark pines and hemlocks, but on touring skis, I feel more comfortable hanging out in the meadows, and eventually making my way up to the top of the Mt. Rose Highway where the campground and Tahoe Rim Trailhead are located.

Heres a few tips and etiquette suggestions for playing in the snow on skis or snowshoes at Tahoe Meadows:

Don’t walk. Bring snowshoes or cross country skis. If you try to walk, once you get away from the most hard packed areas close to the road you will posthole, sink 6 inches or more into the snow, which will not only mess up your day, but your deep foot prints will then mess up the trails for skiers.

If you see a trail that is clearly created by skiers, stay off that trail on your snowshoes and instead create a snowshoe trail or follow an existing snowshoe trail.

Sound travels further than you think in the thin area across the open bowl of the meadows. Your comments can be heard hundreds of yards away by skiers. Be the peace and quiet.

If you bring a dog, be sure and clean up after them, and keep them from bothering other snow users.