Squaw Valley wins the bragging rights this year for staying open longer than anyone else. Sunday, April 26, is the last day to ski for this season. The rest of the resorts shut down on April 19.
The last day on the trails is for just silly fun and goofiness. It’s been a long and frustrating ski season, and if you’re one of the last skiers or riders headed down the trails, you might just as well have a laugh or two along the way.
Next up for outdoor rec fans is heading to the water. If you have a boat with a motor, and you want to float it in Lake Tahoe, your choices for launching have dwindled.
So far, Sand Harbor, National Avenue in Tahoe Vista, Coon Street in Kings Beach and El Dorado Beach in South Shore won’t open this season. The boat ramps at Ski Beach in Incline, Lake Forest in Tahoe City, Cave Rock in South Shore are all in the iffy category. They will open, but the question is for how long they will be able to stay open.
Obexers on the West Shore, at Homewood, says they will be open all summer, with plenty of deep water to launch boats. Opening day for their ramp is scheduled for May 1.
Sly Park in Pollock Pines currently has enough water to launch boats. The Crystal Basin boat ramps are OK for now. The ramp at Ice House is really long right now. Looks like a concrete downhill ski run. Over on Highway 88, Caples Lake seems to be doing OK, as does Silver Lake.
In Sacramento, the boat launch facilities at Folsom Lake are going to be hard pressed to stay open for the entire season. The lake has to be above a specific level for boats to stay in the water or to be launched. If Browns Ravine is your favorite put in point, go early.
At all of the boat ramps, in all of the lakes, it is best to call ahead to make sure that you’ll be able to put your floating palace in the water before you haul it, and the kiddies, up for a day on the lake. Just driving around with your boat in tow isn’t a whole lot of fun unless you can launch it.
If you are able to launch, pay close attention to your navigating skills. Low water years mean more things, like rocks, tree stumps, and the odd Buick, are closer to the surface. Boaters ran into more sandbars and other things starting about two seasons ago.
None of the boat business above applies to kayaks, canoes or rafts. If you can carry it, or have one of those nice wheeled dollies for your boat that makes it more of a wagon while you’re heading for the water, you’ll be able to get your float in.
The same advice applies about navigating, no matter what lake you are in. Since you won’t be going very fast, as your paddle power is all you’ve got, you should be able to avoid anything solid out there that is usually deep in the lake.
The level of Lake Tahoe is below the natural rim of the lake. It’s at about 6,222 feet. The natural rim is at 6,223 feet. There’s not a lot of run-off left, and it may get lower. What this means right now is that at Tahoe City, there is no water flowing out of Lake Tahoe into the Truckee River.
The rafting companies that offer such a wonderful float from the “Y” at Tahoe City to River Ranch, may not be inflating any rafts this year at all. As of this writing, Truckee River Rafting in Tahoe City on their message machine, said they are closed due to low water. That may be from last year, but without water flowing into the Truckee from Lake Tahoe, there won’t be a rafting season.
When rafting season begins up there, which is sometime after Memorial Day, things may change. Call ahead.
The white water companies on the South Fork of the American River in Coloma and Lotus, should have a pretty good season.