For the sake of this guide, the locations along Tahoe’s West Shore have been lumped into one category. However, two main sub-categories within the West Shore hold quite different terrain. The first group is the Blackwood and Ward Canyon areas, and the second is the large ridgeline connecting Rubicon to Jakes. Blackwood and Ward canyons are characterized by medium length approaches, hidden stashes, and a diverse array of terrain. Twin Peaks is the highlight of this region, with a connecting ridgeline all the way from the Alpine Meadows Ski Area, and tons of descent options along this ridge. Stanford Rock has great glades in the right spots, and southern gullies that are seldom skied. However amazing the terrain of the northern West Shore is, the highlight of this region is the Rubicon to Jakes ridgeline. With 4 peaks over 9,000’, a ridgeline connecting them, stunning lake views and California’s best glade skiing, this zone is some of Tahoe’s finest. When the Tahoe region was logged extensively in the early 1900s, they forgot about these peaks. What we are left with is incredible old growth stands and the perfect tree spacing. These glades, combined with consistent 30-35 degree slopes, east and north aspects on each peak, and snow loading on the leeward side of the Sierra Crest, and you have some of the best, and safest, backcountry powder there is. And the growing crowds here are testament to its quality. However, as with anywhere else, skiing far from the skin track will be your best chance for untracked snow. South of this fine tree skiing, Jake’s southern aspects abruptly transform into the rocky alpine terrain more characteristic of the Eastern Sierra. Many steep chutes can be found in this south Jake’s zone. For those accessing this terrain from the South Lake area, be sure to check with CalTrans if highway 89 is open around Emerald Bay. It is open for most of the winter, but closed during and after storms.