Yesterday, March 31st, was probably the best day of the season at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Mother Nature graced us with almost 3 feet of light, dry snow that we don't typically get here in the Sierra Nevada. I woke up at 5am to make sure I had enough time to get my gear ready and dig the car out. It wasn't hard to motivate since I was headed out to Kirkwood for what I already knew was going to be an epic day. Even further motivation was provided by the fact that I was going to be able to head up with the RSN (Resort Sports Network) film crew an hour before the lifts were open to the public and photograph all of the RSN athletes!

Kirkwood Skiing deep powder

Many people would claim that this kind of light dry snow only falls in Utah or Colorado – Craig Garbiel takes a face shot for the critics!

Kirkwood skiing deep powder

When I moved out from the east coast 8 years ago I was only planning on staying in Lake Tahoe for a winter. It was Kirkwood, specifically, that changed all that. Days like yesterday are the reason I will continue to make my home here, most likely, for the rest of my life. The photo above says it all.

It looks like we're not done yet either. We've got storms lined up for next week, and after that I'll be headed down to Tioga Pass with a group of great friends to photograph some classic Eastern Sierra big mountain lines. Stay tuned!

Tags: athlete kirkwood lifestyle light mountain powder resort skiing snow storm winter

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The Kirkwood Powder Cat

Posted By: Rachid | 2 Comments | Permalink

Last week I was contacted by Kirkwood Mountain Resort for what turned out to be my best assignment all winter – photographing the Kirkwood Powder Cat and the terrain it accesses. With perfect snow and blue skies I couldn't have asked for a better day. I'd like to give a big thanks to Jon Copeland and his staff for organizing the shoot! As we loaded into the snowcat for the first run everyone was completely stoked!

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Powder Cat

The scenery around Kirkwood is second to none. The snowcat took us all the way up to Martin Point for our first run. The views of the Kirkwood Valley and the Sierra Nevada were absolutely breathtaking. Below, Jon Copeland unloads the gear.

Jon Copeland unloading

As I dropped in to set up the first shot I was greeted with over 2 feet of fresh powder. Here is my friend Alex ripping a turn in my first action shot of the day. It only got better from there.

 snowboarding the Kirkwood backcountry 

Skiing for the camera isn't easy but a seasoned veteran like Jon Copeland makes it look effortless. It took me a few minutes to set up this shot. I explained to Jon exactly where I needed him to make a turn and throw up some spray. He followed through, no problem. It turned out to be my favorite shot of the day.

 Jon Copeland Kirkwood backcountry skiing 

Photographing skiing and snowboarding is tough. It takes a combination of great skiers and snowboarders, great weather, good equipment and of course, a capable photographer. It's all about waiting for that perfect day with perfect light. They don't come around often so you have to watch the weather and have a crew ready to go at a moments notice. I love every minute of it. When you come back with great shots it's always worth the effort.

 Kirkwood backcountry skiing 

Thanks again to Jon Copeland, his awesome staff, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort for making this shoot possible.

Tags: athlete expedition kirkwood jon copeland kirkwood lifestyle light mountain powder resort skiing snow snowboard snowboarding snowcat storm winter

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What an EPIC day! Great weather and even better snow prompted my friend Sean Cronin and I to go ski and snowboard a line we both had been looking at for sometime, Emerald Chute above Emerald Bay. Because of the south facing aspect of the chute it was important we descend it in the early morning before the avalanche danger became too high. It took us about an hour and a half to gain the ridge from the road and about another 45 minutes to negotiate the top of the ridge to the entrance of the chute. The views from the top of the chute are absolutely unreal. It feels like you could just dive right into Emerald Bay. After we were back at the car, all Sean and I could talk about was how privileged we are to call such an amazing place home.

Emerald Chute Lake Tahoe ski

"Sean Cronin skis Emerald Chute with Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe in the background"

Tags: bay california chute emerald lake male man ski skiing snow tahoe usa winter

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Mt. Tallac is simply one of the best backcountry peaks in Lake Tahoe, not to mention the Sierra Nevada. Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding/skiing with some good friends and descending down "The Cross," one of the steepest and most coveted lines on the mountain. We couldn't have asked for a better day. Mild temps, great snow and not a stitch of wind on the peak. I'm sure it won't be the last time I trek up to the summit this season.

skiing Mt Tallac Lake Tahoe

"Sean Cronin skins up the North Bowl of Mt. Tallac"

Once on the summit we took a quick lunch break and descended about 100 ft to the entrance of The Cross. There was a pretty large cornice built up over the drop in. It took us about 20 minutes to break part of it away so we could enter safely. It was all fun from there.

skiing Mt Tallac Lake Tahoe

"Corey Welsh drops into The Cross on Mt. Tallac with Lake Tahoe in the background"

 skiing Mt Tallac Lake Tahoe 

"Cat Keenan smiles after her line through the Elevator Shaft in The Cross on Mt. Tallac"

The entire day was spectacular. Deep powder snow, a great line and good friends. Who could ask for more?

Tags: backcountry blue elevator shaft lake tahoe mount tallac mt tallac powder skiing skinning snow the cross winter

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