To answer my own question: no!
Now on with the trip report...
After an enjoyable Christmas wkend at Someday Bigger w/ excellent and
extensive groomed terrain (where I was one the few native English speakers,
amidst the many Russians, Israelis, and Asians), I was looking forward to
four days with my brother and his girlfriend, but I figured the skiing
would not be *that* much of an improvement.
I figured wrong.  Real wrong.

Day 0, December 29
Carried and wheeled my bags to the subway stop through the snow-covered
Boston sidewalks - perhaps a good omen?  At the airport I refused the free
ticket offer to delay my Reno flight to the next day, since with a big
storm system moving into the Sierra, that might mean far more than a one-
day delay...

Day 1, December 30
Awoke to a massive storm, with high winds and heavy accum.  Carson Pass to
Kirkwood (where my brother and his girlfriend have passes) seemed doubtful,
and indeed never opened that day.  Went for a nearby low-angle bc tour in
the morning and early afternoon.  Arrived at the base of a steeper, more
open section and dug a pit close to a proverbial island of safety (i.e.,
massive tree): CT0 + RB1 on a 32-degree pitch.  The wind slab from the
ongoing storm was not bonding at all to the storm from two days ago.  Even
though the terrain possessed numerous anchors and any slabs would be
relatively small and unlikely to propagate, skipping the couple hundred
vert up above us seemed like a good idea to me and my brother.  Two other
members of our party pronounced the snow good to go (apparently the “very
poor” snow stability rating was not enough to deter them) and hence went up
further while we awaited their (hopefully safe) arrival.  Fresh lines were
enjoyed by all.
Late that afternoon we did a nordic tour on a trail at the end of the road,
although then again the roads would have made for some fine skiing too.
Here we had no wind slab, with an RB4 and CT scores in the high teens for a
more encouraging “fair” rating.
Hah, you gotta be kidding me, way too stormy!

Day 2, December 31
My brother’s housemate’s hangers-on had thoroughly cleared off all the snow
when they stumbled in drunk the night before, but we awoke to what looked
like a season’s accumulation.  Carson Pass was once again doubtful (and
didn’t open until 1:30 or so), so we went to The Heave for their delayed
opening.  The entire Nevada side was closed b/c of power issues and the
lift ticket prices were punishing, but the freshies were worth it.  Power
days at ski areas that cater to groomer gaper are generally a delight (my
wife and I had experienced this before at La Flegere and Bretton Woods) and
this did not disappoint.  Even at closing bell we still had untracked lines
in upper Avalanche Bowl, since the populace was unwilling to endure the 150
vert hike.  (Actually, I got the impression that some of these people would
hike 150 vert to *avoid* the deep & steep.)
We did not stop for pics (though in retrospect I really should have at one
easily accessible glade that was shockingly pretty, untracked, and empty),
but here are some of people digging out that morning, and then the view
from Heavenly at the end of the day:
Of special note is the plow driver who appeared to be from central casting
for the never-aired Dukes of Hazard “Snow” episode, complete with rusting
truck, bald front tires, ajar hood, juvenile delinquents in the open bed,
and jaw clearly evidencing a crystal meth addiction:

New Year’s Eve looked like it was going to be uneventful, with an early
bedtime for an early start for New Year’s Day, but then we received a visit
from (with apologies to Raising Arizona, i.e., . . . the Lone Plow
Driver of the Apocalypse:
(“First introduced within the setting of a dream, the Biker erupts from a
massive wall of sulfurous flames on a Harley-Davidson ‘hog,’ silhouetted
against the backdrop of a torrential yellow-orange blaze of the fireball
raging behind him....He will destroy everything in his path....Smoke
billows from his mouth and nostrils....low echo of distant thunder,
reminiscent of an atomic explosion, can be heard rumbling in the
background. ”)

With the orange paint, yellow lights, white clouds of snow, deep rumble of
its engine, piercing warning lights, chewing up and spitting out all
massive snow banks in its path - now *that* was a plow!

Day 3, January 1
We awoke to . . . surprise (or maybe not?), more snow!  We lined up at the
Carson Pass road closure, with about 30 cars in front of us, about 100 cars
behind us as far as the eye could see, and then perhaps even more around
the corner:
I amused myself with snow stability analysis by the road cut, with
generally “fair” results.
Our patience eventually paid off: a late-morning opening led us to the
promised land, and although the 1/16 time share owners got there first, we
still had plenty of secret stashes awaiting us.  By about 3pm all the fresh
lines had finally tracked out, but then the booms of the avy control work
went silent, and more terrain opened up, finishing the day with more
Of avy interest, my brother let loose (within the control area) a 60cm slab
about the size of a very large Rutschblock.  Another skier’s prior traverse
had essentially cut the bottom of the block.  My brother’s skis had
performed a diagonal cut across the upper left, and then the upper right
had failed at a weakness near a rock outcropping.  Inspection of the crown
face on our final run was a nice educational opportunity, as well as a
sobering reminder that pockets of instability can linger on even in heavily
bombed areas.

Day 4, January 2
We awoke to . . . no further significant accumulation.  Two laps of almost
1800' each on untracked lines on Waterhouse was the logical destination;
some nice background info here:
A few semi-artistic pics here:
Got a CT16, CT21, and RB4, for a “fair” stability rating, but terrain was
the right degree of treed to allow for good turns yet prevent slide
initiation under those conditions.  (The pics are deceptive because they’re
all from near the summit where the trees are more sparse, although the
pitch is more moderate there too.)  Actually, I got the feeling we were the
only ones to dig a pit there that day, maybe even that whole season.
And then it was off to San Francisco, with my brother off to work Monday
morning, me back to Boston, and Kirkwood reporting 106-128" for the week.
We hit rain about halfway there, and sure enough the airport TV monitors
features more scenes of more snow pounding the Sierra...

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