Local snowboarders always wait impatiently for the awesome powder days on the West Shore at Homewood Mountain Resort. All the spots I mention can be found on their trail map.
Anywhere on the mountain is a good place for powder days because a week after fresh snowfall, Homewood still has lots of powder, where all the other resorts have been tracked out. Some of my favorite runs are:
- Hobbit Land - a tree run with lots of natural jumps
- Quail Face - always good because you have to hike in and out (so no one goes). This is only for experts and it's really steep with lots of cliffs.
- Ivory Face is good because its not usually crowded (people miss the sign off Rainbow Ridge) and its a big open face.
Boring spring days
Lombard Street is fun because you can build jumps on the walls or launch off the cat track. Rainbow Ridge and Orcar are fun to bomb down at full speed.
Beyond the resort, to Ellis Peak (8,640ft)
My personal favorite is Ellis Peak. It is medium difficulty with some steep areas. It's about an hour hike on snowshoes from the top of Homewood. Take the Madden Chair from the bottom, ride down a ways to catch the the Quad chair to get to the top of Homewood. Check in with ski patrol and ask them where the trail is. It is a 25-30 minute ride back down from the top of Ellis to lake level. Make sure to take healthy snacks and lots of water with you.
Other advantages to Homewood:
Though the lifts are slow, the tickets are reasonable, it has great views, and it's really quiet. They have 2 on-hill dining areas - one with a warming area to thaw out. They finally got a pipe dragon for the terrain park - the park itself varies from year to year depending on who is in charge. And, on windy days, Homewood is the last resort in the basin to go on wind-hold.
There are great views all over the resort, but to really enjoy them and take pictures, download the Madden Chair. Last but not least, on cold days - stop in for a beer and some cheese chili fries at the warming hut!
Some, like myself, do overnight camping trips to Ellis Peak (mentionned above) to watch the sunrise over the entire lake basin. This is on Forest Service land but is not a part of Desolation Wilderness so you do not need a permit. But, be sure to check in with the Homewood Mountain Resort ski patrol before heading up so they know someone is up there. There is a Forest Service permit required for camp fires, but it's really too windy and not recommended.
Story and photo by Justin Beede (November 99)
Homewood Mountain Resort's web site (will open in a "new window")
If you have some stories or photos of boarding around Tahoe you'd like to share, e-mail the Tahoe Country editor.