Fresh pow means Memorial Day skiing, snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain

(Mammoth Mountain photo)

Mammoth Mountain has received at least 5 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, giving the ski season a welcome lift three weeks after the start of spring. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

Skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain on Memorial Day? It’s on. Biking and golfing too.

The latest round of May storms dumped at least 5 inches of fresh snow on the slopes at the Eastern Sierra resort, meaning the lifts will continue spinning at least through May 25, according to spokesman Tim LeRoy.

Mammoth also will be offering a Ski/Bike/Golf package – a rare triathlon – during the holiday weekend. A lift ticket, bike park ticket and nine holes of golf cost $99.

Information: 800-626-6684, www.mammothmountain.com

Squaw Valley sends Siberia Express packing to launch a new lift

Squaw Valley's Siberia Express chairlift will be on its way out during the summer and replaced with a high-speed six-passenger chairlift. (Squaw Valley photo by Scott Sady)

Squaw Valley’s Siberia Express chairlift will be on its way out during the summer and replaced with a high-speed six-passenger chairlift. (Squaw Valley photo by Scott Sady)

The Siberia Express, one of the most popular chairlifts at Squaw Valley, will be undergoing an extensive upgrade during the summer.

Currently a high-speed quad, the Siberia Express will become a high-speed six-passenger chairlift designed to improve reliability, efficiency and operational effectiveness, according to a resort spokesman.

“Our team is committed to continually enhancing the mountain experience at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and providing our guests with access not only to the best skiing and riding in Tahoe, but to an incredible recreational experience in an iconic destination,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows mountain resorts.

“Upgrading the Siberia Express lift is guaranteed to have a positive impact on the skier experience on the upper mountain at Squaw,” he added. “In addition, the lift has been designed in a way that will improve its ability to operate during inclement weather.”

The chairlift is used primarily by intermediate and advanced level skiers and riders to access Siberia Bowl, Mainline and the Mainline Terrain Park, as well as the sprawling Gold Coast area. The lift will be replaced in its same location during the summer, and will open during the 2015-16 winter season.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows to get long-awaited linkage

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

The long-awaited linkage of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two legendary Lake Tahoe area ski resorts, will finally take place, according to a report from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC, which owns both resorts.,

Andy Wirth, president and CEO of the firm, said that it has reached an agreement with Troy Caldwell, owner of a rugged sliver of land separating the two resorts, which will allow the consolidation of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

Under the plan, the two resorts will have a base to base connection via a new, high-speed, detachable gondola.

“This base-to-base gondola,” said Wirth, “will offer our guests the ability to easily explore and experience the unique attributes of these two mountains via a brand new aerial connection, while simultaneously reducing vehicle traffic between them.”

The drive between the two resorts is probably a good 6 to 8 miles. Right now, skiers and riders at Squaw Valley can gaze down a steep mountainside into the base facilities at Alpine Meadows. The new gondola will travel over KT-22 peak at Squaw Valley.

Caldwell’s private land between the two resorts has long been known as “White Wolf.” There are no plans currently being contemplated to allow skiing or riding down the steep terrain along the gondola route on Caldwell’s land.

The planned connection between the resorts will result in a sprawling winter mecca of more than 6,000 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski areas in North America. The ski complex will boast 42 lifts and 270 runs and trails.

The plan must be approved by Placer County and the U.S. Forest Service.

Completion date of the project will depend on when the applications are submitted and when government approvals are made.

Michael Gross, director of environmental initiatives for the two resorts, said, “The plan will be executed with incredible care and concern for our environment, and with the intention of taking cars off the road, effectively reducing vehicle travel between the two mountains. Skiers and riders will be able to explore both mountains with a single lift ticket or season pass.”

Design elements in the plan call for minimizing the number of lift towers and eliminating the need to construct access roads.

Surprise snowstorm hits Squaw Valley – season extended

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

A surprise spring storm has dumped 20 inches of snow on Squaw Valley and prompted the resort to extend its season to April 19, a week later than the previously announced April 12. Resort spokesman Michael Radlick noted that “there is the potential to offer skiing and riding beyond that April 19 date should conditions permit.”

With the new snow, which fell on the upper mountain, the snow depth base is now 45 inches. Squaw has several chairlifts running on the upper mountain with 37 runs open ranging from novice to expert.

Alpine Meadows, which is just over the ridge from Squaw Valley, closed for the season several days ago. It is owned by the same corporation that bought Squaw Valley several years ago.

With the skiing and riding somewhat limited, Squaw has greatly reduced lift ticket prices. Walk-up adult tickets are $59, children pay just $34 and really old skiers and riders (super seniors) get in for $34.

Radlick added that people who have season passes at other Lake Tahoe area resorts “can present their season passes at Squaw Valley and receive a day pass for a discounted rate of $39.”

Some rain is predicted for the April 12 – 17 period in the Bay Area and this easily could result in more snow in the Sierra as the storm sweeps to the east. As an inducement to lure skiers and riders to the slopes, several live music shows will be staged in the village at the base of Squaw Valley during April.

Southern California ski resorts closing early

By Kristina Hernandez and Neil Nisperos, Staff Writers

They’re packing it in. But unfortunately for local ski resorts, what they’re packing in isn’t snow. It’s the ski season.

Warm weather and extreme drought have combined to force ski resorts across California to close early, and Southern California ski hubs are no exception, even as some try to squeeze some extra days out of the season for visitors from throughout L.A. and the Inland Empire.

Because of the lack of rainfall and higher temperatures, Mountain High in Wrightwood closed up shop earlier this month. Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs also closed earlier this year. Both draw enthusiasts from throughout Southern California, who mountain businesses depend on to hit their bottom lines during the season.

•Video: Skiers enjoy Big Bear’s last bit of snow

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, not far up Highway 18 from Big Bear Lake — both recently acquired by Mammoth Resorts — will remain open until Sunday, which will be the final day of the season.

Mountain High closed on March 3, part of a pattern of closures throughout the season, said John McColly, chief marketing officer.

He held out some hope that the resort would open if wintery weather returned before April 4. But with temperatures expected to top 90 in lower elevations in Southern California through the week, hope for snow was melting fast.

This was, as he put it, “atypical.”

“It’s a month and a half early for us (to close),” McColly said. “It’s really tough to be in the ski industry these last couple of years. It’s the worst possible thing for us and we would much rather be open until April.”

Read more in SNOW.

Breckenridge celebrates 30 years of snowboarding

Snowboarding legends and current pros converge in Breck’s infamous Freeway Terrain Park to celebrate Breck’s 30th Anniversary of snowboarding with the fourth annual Spring Fever Throwback Throwdown, March 28, 2015.

Presented by Mountain Dew, this throwback halfpipe competition is a chance to watch pro snowboarders from every era of the last 30 years compete for a $17,000 prize purse and take on a two-fold challenge: competing in our 22-foot halfpipe and then a specially constructed 6-foot mini-pipe that is an exact replica of the first one built at Breck in 1985.

Tricks no more than 540 degrees of rotation will be allowed, so each rider will have to get creative with straight airs, alley oops, huge slow spins, and hand plants. The competition takes place on the Superpipe at the top of Freeway in the morning and at the Minipipe in lower Twister after lunch.

Confirmed legends include: Chad Otterstrom, Chris Pappas, Mike Troppman, Todd Franzen, Meg Pugh and a special appearance by Steve Fisher. Current pro riders to watch: Zack Black, Arielle and Taylor Gold, Dylan Bidez, Benji Farrow, Broc Waring and Silvia Mittermueller.

In addition to the contest, the T-Bar Restaurant at the base of Peak 8 will be hosting a throwback party sponsored by Bud Light. Guests can wear their best throwback onesie or retro ski gear for a chance to win a VIP prize package for Spring Concerts, Burton hard goods, and some Helly Hansen apparel.

This Season Marks 30 Years of Snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort!  Breckenridge was one of the first major resorts to allow snowboarding in the 1984-85 season and to host one of the initial major snowboard competitions in the industry, The World Snowboarding Championships, or “The World’s,” in 1986.

Breck solidified its place as the very pinnacle of freestyle snowboarding when it became the first first-ever resort to have a permanent halfpipe then supersized it to a permanent Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe in 2010, which anchors the resort’s award-winning Freeway Terrain Park on Peak 8.

With four terrain parks, including the top-ranked Freeway Terrain Park and SuperPipe and the Park Lane Terrain Park, a park progression system for beginners and intermediates, Breckenridge remains on the forefront of the industry in both facilities and talent.

See some classic snowboard moments from Breck’s snowboard history on Breck’s You Tube Channel under “Breck Classic Moments” and learn more about some of Breck’s most famous snowboarders and the its rich history of athletes on the Breck Blog.

Breck’s Spring Fever Festival, the largest spring skiing party in the Rocky Mountain region, begins the weekend of March 20 with the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge.

The fun continues through closing day with a series of signature events including competitions and kids’ events in addition to the Bud Light FREE concert series.

Breck Spring Fever 2015 Signature Events include:
•               The Bud Light Concert Series, with national acts performing live on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 on a specially-constructed stage on the mountain, at the Peak 8 base
•               GoPro Big Mountain Challenge on March 21
•               The 19th Annual Imperial Challenge – bike, uphill and downhill triathlon on April 11
•               The fourth Annual Spring Fever Chili Cook-off on April 4
•               On-mountain Easter egg hunt on April 5
•               First Annual Winter Edition of the Kids Adventure Games on April 5

For the latest news and details on all the events taking place or how to participate, visit www.BreckSpringFever.com.

Join the Biggest Party in the Rocky Mountains for as low as $129!
Lodging options start at $129 weekday; $149 weekend from 3/23 – 4/19 with a two-night minimum length of stay. Rules and restrictions apply. Offer exclusive to the official lodging sponsors of Spring Fever.

Save on spring season at Big Bear ski resorts

Despite what the thermometer might be telling you, snow season in Southern California is far from over. Thanks to some late snow, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have top to bottom coverage, a base depth between 16 and 24″ and more terrain features than any other resort in California. And the best part – it’s getting downright cheap.
Big Bear/ Snow Summit are currently offering a spring pass, good through the remainder of the 2015 ski season for $99. That $99 is also good as a credit towards a 2015-16 season pass (including the Cali4nia pass). So either you’re getting a great deal on spring skiing, or you’re doing it for free and buying a pass for next season.
Bear Mountain and Summit also have some great events coming up, including the Neff Beach Bash this Saturday, March, 21. Primarily a snowboarding competition, it features DJs spinning all afternoon and a man-made pond for contestants to skim, hop, flip and slide across.

Grand Targhee beckons with 22 feet of snow

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Grand Targhee Ski Resort is pushing 22 feet of snow to date and conditions continue to be incredible as we roll into March! If you’re looking for some of the best spring powder in the nation, then you need to book your vacation today. With our slopeside accommodations, you’ll be steps from the lifts enjoying the world famous Teton powder, Wyoming-style.

Spring Breakaway

March is here and it’s time to start planning your spring break vacations. Follow the powder and head to the Tetons! Our annual Spring Breakaway event kicks off March 27 with an incredible lineup of après music at the Trap and the annual GTK9 Fundraiser. The fun keeps going through April with fun in the sun every weekend. Don’t miss the Golden Egg Hunt, the Pattie Layser Mary’s Nipple Challenge, Teton Slopestyle, The Cardboard Box Derby, Pond Skim, and Crazy Horse Hill Climb. Stay and Ski FREE starting at just $82 per person when you book four or more nights! We’ll have plenty of fun events to keep the whole family enjoying their time at Grand Targhee Resort.

Easier Than Ever

Getting to Grand Targhee has just gotten easier!  We are launching a new airport shuttle to and from the Jackson Hole Airport. There are daily direct flights into JHA from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Houston, JFK – New York, Newark, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Salt Lake, and Minneapolis. Keep an eye on Airfare Watchdog for the best deals on flights. Book a room, and we’ll pick you up. Let our reservation team put the finishing touches on your next ski vacation.

Pack Light

There is no need to bring that large ski or snowboard bag because we have a large selection of the latest skis and snowboards for you to demo. We’ll match you up with the best tools for the mountain conditions, simply bring your boots.

What’s Happening

Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship at Vail

The month of March is off to a strong start at Vail Mountain with seven inches of new snow reported Wednesday, 14” in the past 48 hours, and more than three feet in the past week!

In addition to fresh powder, guests visiting Vail this week can also catch some of the world’s best snowboarders live in action at Golden Peak during the 33rd Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

The Burton US Open, which first took place in 1982, is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world and draws the best riders to compete for a coveted US Open title.

On the heels of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, snowsports enthusiasts can get their fill of world-class, Olympic-level slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding competitions in Golden Peak by day, and enjoy free concerts from names including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Moon Hooch, Girl Talk and more by night.

For more information visit www.Vail.com/Burton or www.Burton.com/USO.

Mammoth completes buy of Big Bear ski resorts

Rusty Gregory signing agreement.

Rusty Gregory signing agreement.

Mammoth Resorts has completed the acquisition of Big Bear Mountain Resorts as first outlined in September, becoming the leading four-season mountain operator in California.

Mammoth Resorts now includes Mammoth Mountain, Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, and ​June Mountain, which collectively host two million annual skier and snowboarder visits.

Uniting these four resorts under one umbrella paved the way for the Cali4nia Pass, providing skiers and riders with access to 200+ named runs on approximately 4,000 acres of terrain, serviced by 54 lifts.

Beyond the winter season, with the addition Mammoth Resorts will now operate two of the top mountain bike parks in North America ​along with numerous lodging properties, multiple golf courses and other guest attractions.

“This is more than a merger of ski resorts, we’re creating greater access to year-round mountain experiences with a distinctly southern California feel,” said Mammoth CEO Rusty Gregory. “At Big Bear Mountain Resorts our goal is to provide the best first-time ski, snowboard and mountain bike experience in the country.”

Seasoned resort executive Dave Likins has been named Chief Operating Officer of Big Bear Mountain Resorts with long-term CEO Dick Kun stepping back from day-to-day operations.

“The sale of Big Bear Mountain Resorts to Mammoth Resorts is a win-win for shareholders, suppliers, local businesses, the Big Bear economy, and most importantly, Southern California’s skiers and snowboarders,” said Dick Kun. “I am both humbled and proud to have been able to help lead the way in making the sale happen as the culmination to my life’s work.”

About Mammoth Resorts Mammoth Resorts is the leading four-season mountain resort operator in California. The company owns and operates a variety of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage and retail enterprises.

This includes Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain, which collectively host two million annual skier/snowboarder visits.

Mammoth Resorts is also the owner-operator of Tamarack Lodge and Resort, Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, the Village Lodge, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Snow Summit Bike Park, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures, Sierra Star Golf Course, and Bear Mountain Golf Course.

For more information visit MammothMountain.com or www.bigbearmountainresorts.com.