Images courtesy of @Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Alpine Meadows Expert Itinerary
Complete Guide to Alpine Meadows Expert Terrain — Backside, North Bowls, Peril Ridge, Treeline, Scott
Trails: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert
Overview – The Backside – Pacific Crest North Bowls – Lines off of Peril Ridge – D Chutes – Lunch @ The Chalet – Treeline Cirque Advanced Options – Scott Chair – Return to parking area – Après @ Last Chair and/or Le Chamois
1. 9-10:30AM – Starting off on the Backside
The backside is almost always the place to start your day at Alpine Meadows. The southeast facing slopes and open bowls provide excellent early morning snow. Head directly to Summit Express and follow the signs for Upper Saddle. You'll need to take off your gear for a quick hike (5-10 minutes). Take in the views from the summit of Ward Peak (the top of Alpine) before dropping in toward Sherwood Express. Long, wide-open turns await! Start in Sun Bowl if you'd like a few more moguls with your morning coffee, or take an extra few minutes hiking to reach S.P. Bowl to make fresh tracks.
Now it's time to hit the South Face for a big, open bowl. Take Sherwood Express up and exit left to hop a few turns through the trees along the Sherwood lift line before opening up on Sherwood Face.
2.10:30AM-12:15PM – Pacific Crest North Bowls
We've seen the bowls on the backside, it's time to continue this fun on the front. From the top of Sherwood, go straight to take Counterweight Gully or High Yellow Gully and continue down the the base to catch the Summit Express. To get to the North Bowls, exit Summit Express to the right and follow the boundary line as far as you can. If you're feeling motivated, we first recommend the 30 minute hike to Estelle Bowl to find the fresher tracks. If that's too much, the 15 minute walk to Beaver Bowl should still allow for some great turns. The bowls all start with pretty steep cornices, though most of entries are already packed. These areas are avalanche terrain and controlled by ski patrol, so please respect any closures for everyone's safety.
Choose your entrance to Estelle carefully. The skier's right side of the bowl usually has a large cornice and many rock obstacles, while the left side typically has a more mellow roll-in. Enjoy the steep turns and do your best not to get caught in the flat to avoid more hiking. Navigate Poma Rocks before making your way back to Summit Express for lap two.
This time, check out Beaver Bowl. Start along the same hike, but drop in before the ridge dividing Estelle and Beaver. The sides of the bowl are steepest, so stick to the middle to keep it mellow. Stay to the right as you exit the bowl to ski through Three Sisters before choosing your run to the bottom.
Beaver Bowl with fresh pow
3. 12:15PM – Peril Ridge & D Chutes
After all of that hiking, you're probably ready for some of the lift accessed terrain. Turn down the lift line of Summit Express for a short distance and hang a left when you see the large rocks to access the D-Chutes, a short series of fun couloirs that spill into Wolverine Bowl.
On your next lap, start the same way and then and follow Peril Ridge out to the right. We typically enjoy heading out along the top before turning into Peter's Peril, a short and steep run with some challenging moguls, before following Rock Garden to Upper Weasel One down to lunch at The Chalet.
4. 1-1:45PM – Lunch @ The Chalet
Enjoy the Bavarian-style food and drink options, and grab a seat outside on the deck.
5. 1:45-2:30PM – Moguls, trees and drops on Treeline Cirque
Now that you've got some energy back, it's time to head to Treeline Cirque for several options (marked and unmarked) for moguls, trees, and drops. There are few designated runs from The Chalet, but all will funnel to the base of Treeline Cirque. Start with a right off of the chair and stay right as you navigate the many ways through the trees to the right of Sherwood Cliffs. Expect many bumps and gullies leading back to Weasel Run or Hot Wheels Gully for your next lap.
This time, take a left off of the top and find your way to Hidden Knolls. This steep section opens up quickly and has a series of small drops throughout, so keep your eyes out and legs ready.
7. 2:30PM – Scott Peak
The end of the day is the best time for the west facing terrain off of Scott Peak. From Hidden Knolls, can pick up Weasel Run and stay to your skier's right to get on Scott Chair. Exit Scott Chair to the right and follow Scott Ridge to Chute That Seldom Slides for a great sparsely-treed pitch. Once back to the chair, exit and immediately retrace under the chair for Scott Chute, a wide open 100' wide chute below the chair line, to show off in any way you can! Expect some moguls and small optional drops throughout, and maybe a few comments from the chairs above.
For your next lap, exit Scott Chair to the right and head toward Promised Land. What starts as a well treed area soon opens up for wide open skiing, pointing you back toward the base. Be sure to stay left as you get down lower to get back to Scott Chair.
Finally, follow the same path for Promised Land, but continue along the ridge and make your way to Subway Cirque. This follows the same aspect as Promised Land, but usually doesn't have as many tracks. For the easiest end-of-day commute around, ski this one right to the parking lot.
End of day lake views and powder stashes
Way to make it through some of the best and most difficult terrain at Alpine Meadows! Time to kick off those boots (unless that's your style) and enjoy your Après! Grab a beer at the Last Chair and then head over to the Village for the festive scene at Le Chamois.