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About Lake Tahoe - Hiking - Thunder Bowl

Tour from Kirkwood to Silver Lake

2/10/04 Another east wind has scoured the Tahoe Basin which gives us a chance to do some touring on some of the west facing slopes we often avoid. Today we decide to take a run from Kirkwood to Silver Lake via Thunder Bowl. This particular tour is only possible when Kirkwood has their access gates open. We parked our second car at the turnaround located at Oyster Creek. Next we headed back to the wood to hop on Chair 6. From the top you head looker's right to Sentinel bowl, at which point you head left up to the top of Thunder Bowl. For this particular route you can enter the bowl from just about any point since the exit will be toward the bottom left corner of the valley. The further to skiers left you start, the better and longer fall line you will have. The snow as we dropped in was sugar but quickly turned to firm wind buff. We took the main easy route down since none of us had looked in yet this year. Towards the end of the valley you'll want to exit left and stay high to keep above the ridgeline we need to cross to drop down to the car. About half way to the ridgeline we hit our first bit of death crust, which briefly turned to sugar before turning to mank. Actually, that's not being fair to mank. This stuff was ugly with six inch glops sticking to the bottom of bare skis. The final 800 feet of vert started with good corn which quickly turned to 600 feet of mank with six turns of sugar through a natural terrain park at the bottom. Then it's just a quick five minute hike back to the car. The tour takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours from lift to car plus 10-15 minutes driving each way.
Parts of the Thunder Bowl area involve very steep terrain and rollovers to nowhere. Local knowledge is essential. Click here for topo map.

When entering the backcountry, proper precautions should be taken, including avalanche beacon and the know-how to use it, shovel, compass or GPS, friend, weather information, and common sense. Click here for thelatest avalanche advisory info. You can also find more info on our gear pages.

Ride Aware, It's Big out there!

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Last Updated April 22, 2008