Winter is just about here.
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From here until the Vernal Equinox in March, the days slowly get just a bit longer. It’s subtle, don’t ditch your flashlights just yet.
What we all hope for is a robust dumping of snow. It’s good for the ski resorts and all kinds of snow sports. The forest does well, so does the economy.
The conditions up at the resorts are best described as early season right now. If you have an older pair of skis, this is the time to use them.
For the cross-country and snowshoe crowds, getting out in the backcountry isn’t happening right now. There’s just not enough snow cover out there. For now, good hiking boots are what you need.
If your dreams of skiing are on hold, the good news is that getting outside is pretty good for other pursuits.
For the cyclists, it’s a great time to ride. Due to the snow that fell all the way to Cameron Park followed by a good cold snap, where it’s a great place to ride is a bit of question. Everywhere east of Placerville, snow and ice may still be on shaded parts of trails and roads.
Apple Hill is a fantastic place to ride. Quite a few of the roads there still have some stretches of ice on them. On the back roads, like Copperton, there’s a lot of it.
In Pollock Pines, you’ll find the same conditions on Blair Road, and in parts of Gold Ridge those icy spots, usually on a nice curve, may be a bit slick. Go any higher up than Pollock Pines, and the conditions rapidly get more dicey.
Doing a bit of hiking is a good choice now, too. Those patches of snow and ice that you wouldn’t ride a bike through are easily walkable. Since there isn’t much snow at lake level in Lake Tahoe, roaming around on the trails by the lake is quite a treat.
The trails around Sly Park are generally OK, as is Ferrari Mill Road. The El Dorado Trail, both ends, are good for walking now.
Heading into the high country on the trails takes more thought and preparation. On any north facing area it could be pretty icy if daytime temps are low and overnight temps high.
With some modicum of luck, the snow will return soon and everyone can get back to skiing and snowshoeing. When that happens, a plan to walk or ride doesn’t take up so much time. Get outside!