Snow experience questions

Old Mar 17th, 2024, 01:14 PM
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Snow experience questions

We've seen snow for the first time in our lives this weekend near Pinecrest CA (Leland snow play + Dodge Ridge). We're 2 adults and 2 elementary school kids. I have two questions:

1. The snow felt like ice. Is this how snow feels? Is it because we came a week after the last snow storm? Are there places where we can feel soft snow even a few days after a storm? (we're hesitate to drive during a storm).

2. We're not very active so our focus was on tubing + snow play (not ski). It was fun but I can see it getting boring after multiple visits. In this category of experience (non-ski), are there any fancy places that offer a variety of activities? maybe multiple lanes for tubing (not necessarily faster / higher just different experience), and other non-Ski fun activity for a not-very-active family. It's ok even if we need to take a short flight from California.

Thank you!
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 01:28 PM
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No, not all snow feels like ice. Freshly fallen snow is powder, and a favorite amongst skiers. Icy snow forms when snow has melted and refrozen. It can make a poor skiing or sledding surface. Old snow tends to feel icy, as it's been there awhile and has gone through temperature changes.

I live in the mountains of Colorado and we've had snow on the ground for weeks, so it's pretty crunchy now. Even the two feet of snow we got a few days ago already feels hard as it's started to melt, and then refreezes over night.

Have you ever considered snow-shoeing or winter hiking?

Are you asking about current conditions or planning for a future trip?
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 01:44 PM
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Thanks, we are planing for a future trip. I'm looking for a place (ideally a resort) which caters also for people like us, where we can rent most stuff there and it feels organized, with variety of activities they offer (not us going on our own for a forest hike).

As for snow, sounds like most people that ski would also face this icy snow, since it is hard to schedule up front their dates directly to after a storm?
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 01:52 PM
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All ski resorts rent skis and various equipment, some rent snowshoes, etc. Ski resorts are everywhere, which state are you considering?

Yes, planning a winter trip can be challenging as one never knows what the conditions will be like - unless of course the person in question lives very near a ski area and can just go on a whim. That's just the nature of snow and winter activities.
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 02:37 PM
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Since you went up Hwy 108 for the weekend, I'm pretty sure you are based somewhere in the Central Valley or elsewhere in Northern California.

You can't really book a resort (whether in CA or another state) much ahead hoping to have new fallen (powder) snow. If it has been a few days/weeks since the last snowfall you would likely face the same 'Sierra cement' you encountered at Dodge Ridge. If you ARE in NorCal -- just wait for a nice snow storm, then wait for the roads to be cleared and head up the hill (I-80, Hwy 50, Hwy 108, Hwy 4 - whatever).
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 03:48 PM
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You are more likely to find softer snow in Utah and Colorado. In the Lake Tahoe area, even fresh snow can feel wet rather than powdery if it falls when the temperature hovers around freezing.
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 03:49 PM
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Ditto what Mel and janis say: it's impossible to plan for conditions in advance but if you are within driving distance and have the flexibility you can go when you know things will be good.

Snow-shoeing is not difficult, only slightly harder than just walking on a trail ... depending on conditions ...

Yes, skiers and others who play in the snow face numerous types of snow. For example, google "sastrugi".
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 07:02 PM
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Thanks everyone, I got good answers on the snow types. What about a concrete fancy resort or location with a good variety of tubing lanes (not just 1-2)? especially for young kids. Or other organized "non-ski" snow activity. Anywhere from 4 hour drive to 2 hour flight from San Jose CA.
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 07:35 PM
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OK - most of the big 'Ski resorts' in the Sierra give short shrift to tubing/low key family activities. They all have those sorts of things of course, but they are really geared to skiers and snow boarders. The smaller 'low key' ski areas and snow/sledding/tubing parks are more what you are looking for. So instead of staying at a resort -- you could stay anywhere at North Shore or South Shore and visit the 'snow hills'/tubing locations.

At the southern end of Tahoe places like Adventure Mountain, Hansen's Tube Hill, TubeTahoe, etc, At the north/Tahoe City/Truckee end places like Tahoe Donner, Granlibakken, Tube Town at Soda Springs,

The advantages are generally much cheaper accommodation, lots of restaurants and cafes in both South Lake Tahoe and up at the north end, and being a short drive from a variety of snow play areas.
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Old Mar 17th, 2024, 09:09 PM
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Agree with janis again: avoid the big ski resorts. However, you could stay near the big resorts and get what you are looking for.

If flying to Colorado is OK, then these may not be the exact places, but could be the type of places. The town of Frisco is close to several big ski resorts, but is not itself a ski resort.
https://www.townoffrisco.com/things-.../tubing/#title

Not far from where I live is this little resort that has tubing, snow shoeing, ice skating. It's 2-3 hours from the Denver Airport. Once again could be the type of place, if not the perfect one. There not a whole lot else around it, maybe that appeals to you, maybe not.
https://www.beavermeadows.com/activities/winter

The town of Colorado town of Granby is another option, close to ski resorts and a National Park, but not right there. You can get there by train from Denver.
https://www.destinationgranby.com/th...-and-sledding/

Also, some dude ranches gear up for snow recreation in winter. We've stayed here in winter back when we were doing cross-country skiing. There is certainly tubing nearby.
https://trianglex.com/ranch-vacations/winter/

Once again, you can't plan in advance for travel or snow conditions but these places have groomed trails and hill to try to keep it decent.
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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 07:01 AM
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From central California you can get on the northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight in Sacramento about midnight. You can take the train to Chemult Oregon and ride the small bus from there to Sunriver or Bend arriving by noon. There is a bus that shuttles people and gear up to Mt. Bachelor. Currently the snow base at Mt. Bachelor is close to 100 inches. The lifts are running for downhill skiing and snowboarders. You can also do X-Country skiing, snow tubing and snowshoeing in the Mt. Bachelor area. There are 2 places in Bend that rent skis, snowshoes and other winter gear.
One year recently, Mt. Bachelor had an open day for skiing on July 4. This year they are bringing back a popular sporting event called the Pole, Pedal, Paddle (PPP). which starts with a skiing race at Mt. Bachelor. Taking off the skis in a transition area you get on a bicycle and race back to a Bend park along the Deschutes River. Getting off the bicycle, you (or a partner) put your kayak in the river and paddle downstream to a marker and go around the marker and back upstream to the takeout point where you (or your partner) race to the finish line. Large crowds come to witness the PPP.
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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 08:36 AM
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I only ski and and the better resorts don't have tubing. There are some in the East I know of that do. like Okemo in VT (Stowe does not). Often there may be a tubing hill somewhere near a major resort but not at it. There is one near Deer Valley/Park City, for example, and various ones around Vermont. I know Snowshoe resort in WV has tubing as I do go there sometimes (I live in mid-Atlantic area). There is a tubing place south of Heavenly at Nebelhorn but that road can be tricky (rte 50). It's called Adventure Mtn. I sure wouldn't go all the way there just to tube. I wouldn't go to any fancy resort for tubing myself, but it doesn't interest me at all.

They have something near Big Bear in CA
https://bigbearsnowplay.com/

There appears to be something at Northstar at north Lake Tahoe
https://www.gotahoenorth.com/listing...a-tubing-hill/

As for hard snow, it can get packed/icy if it hasn't snowed in a while and the skiers/snowboarders pack it down. The real problem is if it gets warm later on, then freezes overnight. So you follow the sun, and try to ski in the sunnier areas in the morning and then move on as it loosens up. It isn't often a problem at the higher elevations of Heavenly that much that I've noticed (same at resortsin Colorado. It can be packed powder for a long time. I have no idea about tubing but I imagine it's different as it is not as at high altitude, for one thing. Grooming can help the ski slopes to some extent, also. I was at Stowe VT last week and it wasn't that icy there, but it had snowed a foot or two in the last week and it was fairly cold at night.
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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 08:35 PM
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Thanks everyone for the help!
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