How often have you ever wanted to ride with a professional snowboarder you idolize and respect and to make it even better at his home mountain? Earlier this year we offered a promotion that if you purchased a Jones Snowboard and Bern helmet then you could venture to Squaw Valley for an epic day of riding with local legend Jeremy Jones. With Jeremy’s hectic and always on the go schedule it was hard to nail down a absolute day, but luckily the stars aligned and he found time. Mother nature also added to the fun by bringing some much needed snow to the Tahoe area, something we have not seen in over a month and desperately needed.
The Day started with a quick meet and greet at the best stop at Squaw to grab coffee and a Bagel, Wildflour Baking Company. Everyone knows that all you need is a cookie pass at Squaw and your kids won’t ask you for money ever again. Jeremy got the heads up from the Squaw Valley Ski patrol on the skinny on what terrain might still be holding some decent snow and with that it was on to the Funitel heading towards Granite Chief. To get to Granite you have a few options and with overnight temps still in the upper single digits the groomers are the perfect way to get your legs warmed up on any of the Shirley Lake runs. As fast as we rolled over the top of Shirley Lake to check out the first run of the day we were at Granite sitting on the chair looking at out next run of the day. The Quick group consensus was an easy decision as we looked towards Granite Peak, and the only thing left to do was the quick hike to the peak. On a side not, Jeremy is one of the few people I have ever hiked Granite with that wanted to carry on a conversion on the entire hike to the peak without ever sounding even slightly winded. The perfect way to start a mountain experience is looking out at the rest of Tahoe from the Peak of Granite while Jeremy speaks of all the great gems that are around the backside of Granite (but are out of bound to Squaw Riders). With a quick group photo we scouted our descents and watched Ryland Bell and Ralph Backstrom drop some of the steeper and icier lines on the peak. The ride from the peak back to the lift was variable snow consisting of ice, chalk and left over fluffy light pow. As any mountain experience goes is was on to the next zone and the next on tap was the legendary terrain of Silverado.
Silverado offered much of the same terrain we experienced from Granite, variable snow that was perfect for a Jones Snowboard. Our first descent was gate 2 into Silverado. Some of the more wind effected areas had small piles of good wind buffed snow and others were a shmearing of pow and firm. The next run was a quick hike up the Broken Arrow to gate 8 with some great untouched slasher lines at the very top. We progressed towards an area that was closed until recent years. Both Ralph Backstrom and Ryland Bell showed off their local knowledge of the area by dropping into zones one might first want to look full at before descending and fully committing. With 2 laps under our belts it was time to continue to tour towards other areas of the mountain including legendary KT-22. With numerous options to be had on the way down the mountain Jeremy actually suggested we just enjoy Mountain Run and when you are a guy who mainly rides backcountry lines riding a groomer or two from time to time can be a nice change of pace.
We regrouped at KT and scouted our next runs as we discussed a wide array of topics including SIA, new snowboard tech and who still sick in the group. As you crested over the infamous FINGERS of KT we saw that the Women’s Downhill had been groomed over night. To those who might not know the Women’s downhill has an amazingly steep pitch to the top and when groomed right you can rail some of the best steep groomer turns almost anywhere in the Sierra and beyond. We all set our sites on some good highspeed chalky groomer slashers.The groomer was incredibly smooth and light almost giving the impression you were throwing up high pow action turns as you can see from both Jeremy and Ralph’s turns below. Everyone in the group sampled the goodness and slashers to be had on that run. The next KT run was venturing out towards Red Dog Ridge which as Jeremy put it was a place that can sometimes heal itself snow wise. The way to the Ridge was more of an adventure of keeping your edge set while on ice that was, as Jeremy put it, “A good level of ice, there’s another level higher but that a good level of ice”. The ridge had the same fun mix of soft and firm snow with fun little drops and logs littered through the run. Once we hit the cat track to return to either KT or try Red Dog chair Jeremy instantly said to hit Red Dog face. Again when you don’t ride many groomers and given the chance to ride chalky perfectly groomed snow Red Dog face is another great run to set an edge and enjoy the ride. I think Jeremy made three turns down the face just opening it up and letting his Flagship just go full bore. The final zone of the day was Pulsens Gully, and with FarEast chair being closed there was a good chance we would find more good snow. Once we entered the gully the group spread and devoured all sides of the run. That was the ender run to the day and we all regrouped at the Funitel and gave some high fives and thank yous to Jeremy, Ralph and Ryland for an Epic Squaw tour.
We would like to thank Jones Snowboards, Bern Helmets, Amelia Richmond at Squaw Valley, Jeremy Jones, Ralph Backstrom, Ryland Bell, I.j. Valenzuela, Eric Asistin, JP Lagos and the participants from the Ride with Jeremy Jones Promo.
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