Lake Tahoe can be a funny place. Surrounded by gorgeous countryside, it salutes the forested western slope of the Sierra on its California side, and the deserts of Nevada’s Great Basin to the east. The lake is deep and cold, and on a beautiful warm(ish) winter day, the air and water can conspire to form a dense low layer of cloud in the basin, while all around it, birds are singing, bicyclists are rejoicing, and airplanes are flying – all for the shear joy of it. Everyone knows winter will set back in tomorrow. Seriously – that’s in the forecast!
See that airport symbol for KTVL (South Lake Tahoe Airport)? Right underneath you can see a touch of red where the Garmin was flagging low IFR conditions. Now take a look out the window (or the picture of what it was like out the window. Half the runway was covered by the edge of the clouds, half was in the clear.
Unfortunately, for airplanes with standard performance, this is really a one way in and out airport – land and depart over the lake, due to rapidly rising terrain to the south. And of course, that would mean landing out of those clouds, or departing straight in to them. If you have great climb performance (at altitude), no problem! If not – better land down in Minden and rent a car if you just have to visit the lake on a day like this.