In January, cross country skiers are usually enjoying the beauty and solitude of the Sierra back country at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Area. But in January 2012, when we visited, there was limited snow on the ground. Most of the November snow had long since disappeared, and in the areas where people usually ski, it was only possible to walk.
Located in the Inyo National Forest, about a five hour drive north of Los Angeles, Tamarack offers 30 kilometres of trail network. In mid January we spent a day walking amongst the trails and picturesque lakes in the area. A few days after our walk, there was a 1.5 metre snow fall, which kick-started the cross country ski season. These photos show the area prior to the snow dump, with patches of ice on the roadways and patches of snow under the trees. At an altitude of between 2500 and 2800 metres, these lakes are frozen at this time of the year.
Roy Saari was an Olympic swimmer who lived in the area. He died in nearby Mammoth in 2008, aged 63 years. He set four world records, including swimming the first sub 17 minute 1500 metre freestyle. He won gold (800 metre relay) and silver (400 metre individual medley) at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Latterly, in his role on Mammoth’s Planning Commission, he was described as “a voice of reason” and “a kind human being”. His memorial seat commands a magnificent view over the beautiful Lake Mary.