This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big run in the mountains or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on bike or splitboard, he’s training clients at the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports
Each season, all of California’s ski mountaineering community comes together in a gathering only equaled by Islam’s annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Tioga Pass Road hosted this little get-together this weekend, and there was enough corn to satisfy everyone’s hearty appetite.
The gate at Highway 120, off of 395, heading up to the Eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park is OPEN, and you should probably go skiing this weekend. The ability to drive up to nearly 10,000 feet opens up a ton of ski descent possibilities. Coverage is good, and you can ski to your car at Tioga Lake or Ellery Lake. All of the south facing stuff is getting manky by the afternoon, but boot-deep perfect corn snow can be found on a ton of east and west-facing aspects. We skied the Solstice Couloir (the entrance was guarded by a sizable cornice but the skiing below was fantastic), the Banana Chute into Ellery Bowl (best turns of the trip!) and the North Couloir on North Peak (we were either an hour late or a week early – the snow is still a little firm in there!). The road to Saddlebag Lake is clear but not open (why plow it and not open the gate, Mono County?), so if you’re interested in skiing Conness or North Peak be prepared to walk a few miles on the road. False White was seeing a ton of traffic, but looks to be holding enough snow to be skiing well into late June.
It was great seeing so many familiar faces out there this weekend. Make sure to grab a few friends and go catch the party wave on Tioga Pass while the getting’s good!