2,000’ - 4,200’
8,900 – 9,600 (700’)
Home to Mt. Rose Ski Area, Slide Mountain is not often thought of as a backcountry location. But below the last trail to take you back to the Blazing Zephyr lift, another 2,800’ of glorious east-facing bowl drops towards the Carson Valley. This is in addition to about 700’ of inbounds skiing to get to this point, making for one of the longest runs in Tahoe. During periods of extreme coverage, it is possible to ski this pitch over 4,200’ down into the Carson Valley, but snowline usually hovers around the 7,000’ elevation. If proper coverage exists, and you have a lift ticket to Mt Rose and a willing driver, a half hour shuttle and a 10 minute lift ride is all it takes to do it again. For those earning their turns, ski down until the snow gets thin, and skin your way back out. Other quality runs drop away from the ski area on Slide’s southern aspects. These pitches, equally steep, open and fun, make for some of the best corn skiing in the Rose area. During the pre season, if resort employees are absent, skiing north off of Slide’s summit into the famous “Chutes” zone is a quality area to ski before the lift accessed skiers can get to it.
Keep in mind that Slide is a unique mountain among backcountry locations, in that your first climb is significantly shorter than your first run. What I am saying is that it is easy to forget how huge this run is, and how long of a skin it will be back to Slide’s summit. Imagine skiing happily down to where the snow thins out, and then realizing you have a massive climb to get yourself back out. Another problematic scenario would be to leave the ski area without the proper backcountry gear, assuming that skiable snow reaches the valley floor. Most of the way down, you realize coverage dissipates, and are now committed to a long snowless bushwhack to get to the road. Either way, be sure you are prepared for a long day, and remember that “Sidecountry” is still “Backcountry,” and involves all of the same gear, preparation, and risk.
Parking for Slide Mountain is found on the summit of Highway 431, in a large parking lot with restroom facility. From here, walk 100 yards west on the highway, and put your gear on at the campground road. Skin up this road, which is often groomed by ski area snow cats, until reaching the campground restrooms. From here, aim for the saddle to the south of Slide’s summit and all the radio towers. Of course you could keep following the maintenance road up, but you will likely get hassled by snowmobile-driving resort employees. To preserve a positive relationship with the ski area and create a more “natural” experience for yourself, I recommend staying out of the ski area and south of Slide’s true summit, where you will not be noticed by resort employees or patrons.