Waterhouse: South

Standing on the ridge, the Tahoe Basin is framed between the tips of my skis. Rolling for 1,500 vertical feet down into the trees below me is a glistening expanse of untracked fresh powder. The horizon is a merge of azure lake and cobalt sky. Rugged Mt. Tallac, to my left, and the gentle dome of Freel Peak, on my right, compose the classic Lake Tahoe portrait. It’s two in the afternoon on a brilliant, clear, 20-degree Saturday in December. A few miles away, the holiday masses swarm the resorts of Heavenly Valley, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood. Here, except for the distant bark of a local dog, the crisp pine-scented air around me is silent, the crowds non-existent, and the terrain and conditions ski-brochure perfect.

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