First Snowshoe of the Season

We first got our snowshoes in early December of 2011, hoping to diversify our wintertime activities. The snow never came, so we put them under the Christmas tree. The snow still refused to fall, and so the snowshoes sat by the front door for yet another month. A few pathetic winter storms finally blew through the Sierras by the end of January. We were finally able to get out on the snowshoes, but with only a couple inches of snow at some of the places we went, we probably could have gotten away with snow boots. Still, it was enough experience to figure out that we liked it.

Snowshoeing at Carson Pass
Meiss Trailhead at Carson Pass

I had never really considered snowshoes until recently, always hanging on to the idea of being able to coast down the hill. I grew up cross country skiing, and have always liked the go-anywhere style of touring skis. Although there are nice groomed Nordic skiing resorts, there are still plenty of places to ski in the mountains that don’t require an expensive trail pass. What I don’t like about my touring skis, though, is that they’re clumsy…or, rather, that they make me clumsy. Turning around or navigating tight terrain takes a lot of balance and finesse. And descending on touring skis pretty much guarantees a face-plant or some other kind of wipe-out. I’ve found that the older I get, the less I enjoy hitting the ground. During one of last year’s trips to Mount Rose Meadows, I was surprised to see that most of the people were now on snowshoes. Perhaps others share my feelings.

Snowshoeing at Carson Pass
MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes

Although not really significant yet, we’ve started out the 2012-13 snow season a little better than last year. The Carson Pass area seemed to be heavier hit in the last series of storms, so this is where I decided to explore last weekend. I grabbed my California SNO-PARK permit, and drove up Highway 88 to see what I could find. Hope Valley was pretty much all melted, and it wasn’t until a couple miles later I started to see any snow accumulations worthy of strapping on snowshoes. There were a few trucks unloading snowmobiles at Red Lake, and then by the time I reached the top of Carson Pass, there was plenty of snow. The Carson Pass SNO-PARK was open, but I drove just a little further to the Meiss Trailhead SNO-PARK on the north side of the highway.

Snowshoeing at Carson Pass
Getting Started

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