Kirkwood delivered a powder day Wed, snowed through the morning before brightening up PM. Blue skies at dawn in South Lake Tahoe, a bluebird powder day awaits at Kirkwood with the Backside and Chair 6 untouched yesterday!

Fire + Ice = Slush

At dawn a layer or inviting looking fresh blanketed everything in view from the window in South Lake Tahoe, but it soon turned soggy at Lake level, but up at the top of Heavenly around 8 to 10 inches had fallen with more coming down through the day.

^Top of Sky Express during a brighter spell on Monday.

^Looking out from the top of the Sky Express.

Snowed on the upper mountain all day, but turned to rain lower down. Snow stayed good high up, started good at most levels, but lower elevations the fresh snow turned to sloppy glue like sludge with the rain. That heavy potentially knee wrenching stuff you get when a reasonable depth of fresh thaws or gets rained on for the first time.

^The impressive newly opened Tamarack Lodge at the Top of the Gondola, opened during this season.

An excursion into the trees near the Powderbowl Express at the close of play wasn’t the best choice of the day, though marginally less endangering to one’s wellbeing then skiers left of the Gunbarrel Chair! Perhaps it was an afternoon for staying high up and retreating gracefully down the Gondola…

Standing in the rain outside California Lodge this afternoon I got a text telling me gleefully that CairnGorm Mountain was the snowiest resort in the world today.

Sierra at Tahoe

A largely overcast day with some blustery snow showers coming through on Sunday. Weekends inevitably bring crowds to Sierra, being the first ski area reached for those heading from the Bay Area on highway 50, but apart from the Grandview Express and despite Sierra being a fairly compact Snowsports Area queues were pretty short and non existent on the older duplicate lifts and over the back.

Mix of slightly firm grippy snow to loose chalky mid winter corduroy on the groomers. More snow expected overnight.

Grandview Express - not so grand a view today

Sierra in Snow

Highway 50: Meyers Grade

Heading down the Meyers Grade on highway 50 at the end of the day, far below highway 89 follows the valley floor before climbing over the Luther Pass, to join highway 88 to Kirkwood. With high snow levels over the next day or so, Kirkwood should be catching fresh at all levels with a 7800ft base vs 6500ft at Heavenly and Sierra. A break in the weather forecast later in the week, so hopefully Kirkwood will come good with a bluebird powder day!

Destination Tahoe: A journey begins

Every journey begins with the first step they say, tonight the first steps were along a windswept River Ness in driving cold sleety rain to catch the late ScotRail train through to Aberdeen.

River Ness on a wild wet night

River Ness on a wild wet night

At a wholly unholy hour on Thursday morning the next hop of the Journey from Aberdeen to London Heathrow will take me South (providing snow doesn’t close Aberdeen Airport…) to join a Virgin Atlantic flight to San Francisco. An hour or so into the Transatlantic flight one can expect to hear the captain say ‘if you look out the left windows you’ll see Loch Ness, the right windows the Cairngorms…..’ Ever get the feeling your going round in circles! ;)

Trains waiting to depart a wet Inverness Station

Trains waiting to depart a wet Inverness Station

It’s just gone half eleven at night, we’re chugging through the Northfield area of Aberdeen. Time to log off, but hopefully lots of posts over the next two weeks. Big storms forecast for Tahoe, perhaps I need wider skis, but for now Goodnight.

Caught in the Act!

Caught in the act putting up a new 8dBi gain external WiFi antenna on the Glencoe Rescue Station at 2800ft for the Webcams to replace an internal antenna. The external attenna should improve strength and thus relability of the wireless link to the top of the Access Chair, over which the mid mountain webcams and SSC weather station connect.

webcam capture

In case anyone is wondering why a spirit level wasn’t used to make sure the antenna was vertical, it’s supposed to be tilted downhill, so the band of strongest signal is aiming at the Top of the Access, not some 1800ft above Rannoch Moor. Higher gain omni directional antennas are only omni directional in the horizontal plane, there’s no free lunch with RF technology, the higher the gain is horizontal plane, the narrower the main beam of the signal becomes. A truly omni directional antenna, the theoretical isotropic antenna, radiates in all directions with uniform intensity – a perfect spherical radiation pattern. Think of a high gain omni directional antenna field more as a pancake!

That’s why in home WiFi putting a higher gain antenna vertically orientated upstairs likely wont improve your downstairs reception, but instead make it worse!