1,400’ – 2,200’
6,700’ – 9,200’ (2,500’)
Ralston is an under-rated destination, diluted in a sea of amazing backcountry zones in the South Lake area. However, this massive east-west ridgeline provides weeks worth of exploration hidden at first glance. Nearby skiers at Sierra-at-Tahoe can look right at it’s south facing slope, but just over the ridge, Ralston’s north face hold many secrets. A series of bowls drop one after the other along this north face, with increasing tree cover towards Talking Mountain to the east. The westernmost bowls are true above tree-line terrain with fun undulating powder fields. These open bowls see serious wind loading near the ridgeline, and huge natural slides have gone in the past. Dropping back towards highway 50, an enormous south face provides copious corn skiing and simple navigation. A mellow and less committing option is Ralston’s southwest glades. Although not the ideal powder aspect, this run affords straightforward navigation towards Ralston’s summit from the Sierra Pines Rd parking option.
Because Ralston is a long ridgeline paralleling highway 50, there are a few parking options depending on what your objective is. The most direct parking option for bagging Ralston’s summit and the Southwest glades is in (or near) a small neighborhood off Sierra Pines Road. Keep in mind that although this is most direct, ticketing/towing is possible and parking here is not entirely recommended. Use common sense and park somewhere that won’t interfere with snow removal or the residents. Numerous pullouts on both sides of highway 50 near the Sierra-at-Tahoe entrance road provide more legitimate parking options, and are more direct for accessing Ralston’s southern aspects. From the “Y” in South Lake Tahoe, drive 12 miles on highway 50 to the Sierra-at-Tahoe entrance and find one of the many pullouts, either to the west or east of this road. Continue another 2 miles west for Sierra Pines Road on the right.