Ski/snowboard resorts are welcoming a pre-Halloween treat: fresh pow!

At Alpine Meadows, the white stuff was piling up this morning. (Alpine Meadows photo)

Alpine Meadows, on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, was a winter wonderland this morning. (Alpine Meadows photo)

If it’s cold and raining down here, it must snowing up there. And it is.

In the Lake Tahoe area, Alpine Meadows received 10 inches of snow at the base and 14 inches on the upper mountain last night, while the Squaw Valley totals were 5 and 10 inches, respectively.

Snow also is piling up near Heavenly. (Heavenly Mountain Resort photo)

Snow also is piling up near Heavenly. (Heavenly Mountain Resort photo)

Heavenly was reporting 6-8 inches of natural snow overnight on the mountain, and also was taking advantage of a drop in temperatures to make even more snow – all in preparation for the resort’s planned Nov. 22 opening.

“There is something about this time of year leading up to the winter season,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s vice president and chief operating officer. “It holds so much promise, and you can feel the anticipation building. Starting up the snow guns signifies the end of one season and the beginning of another.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was forecasting that Lake Tahoe could receive an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow by Tuesday morning.

At Mammoth Mountain, there was 10 inches of new snow during the past 24 hours at the Main Lodge and 12 inches at the 11,053-foot summit. Opening day is Nov. 7.

In Southern California, Bear Mountain and Mountain High were both reporting falling temperatures – and snow – by mid-afternoon on Monday, but offered no additional details via the resorts’ Twitter feeds.

– Jerry Rice

Let’s get it started! California resorts reveal opening dates for season

A new ski/snowboard season is about to start in California. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

A new ski/snowboard season is about to start in California. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

Mammoth Mountain announced its 2013-14 opening date – Nov. 7 – several weeks ago, and other California ski and snowboard resorts are starting to follow suit. Here’s the latest rundown:

Northern California
Alpine Meadows: Dec. 13
Boreal: TBA
Heavenly: Nov. 22
Homewood: TBA
Kirkwood: TBA
Mt. Rose: TBA
Mt. Shasta Ski Park: TBA (job fair, Nov. 9)
Northstar: Nov. 22
Royal Gorge: TBA
Sierra-at-Tahoe: TBA (job fair, Nov. 2)
Squaw Valley: Nov. 27
Sugar Bowl: TBA

Central California
Badger Pass: Dec. 13
Bear Valley: TBA
China Peak: TBA (pray for snow party, Oct. 31; job fair, Nov. 9)
Dodge Ridge: TBA
June Mountain: Dec. 13
Mammoth Mountain: Nov. 7
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center: TBA

Southern California
Bear Mountain: TBA
Mountain High: TBA
Snow Summit: TBA
Snow Valley: TBA

Mammoth’s opening weekend countdown continues: 21 days until…

It’s three weeks before the start of the new ski and snowboard season at Mammoth Mountain. According to the resort, here’s the plan for opening weekend:

Thursday, Nov. 7
7:30-8:30 a.m. – Coffee and cocoa served at the base of Broadway Express
8:30 a.m. – First chair of the 2013/14 winter season at Broadway Express
11 a.m. – Annual Champagne toast on the Main Lodge Sundeck
11:15 a.m. – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
7 p.m. – Mixer at Underground Lounge in The Village

Friday, Nov. 9
1:30-4:30 p.m. – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
10 p.m. – Underground Lounge featuring LA Riots with special guest

Saturday, Nov. 10
1:30-4:30 p.m. – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – DJ Kane in Main Park
Noon – ThirtyTwo Insta-Jam featuring the Training Facility in Main Park
7 p.m. – Oakley “Naturally and Level 1 “Partly Cloudy movie premieres in The Village
10 p.m. – Underground Lounge featuring Shiny Toy Guns and Z Trip

And a look at the action from last year’s opening weekend:

Mammoth countdown reaches a nifty 50

Mammoth 50 DaysWhile a photo of a mountain biker and another of a lush, green golf course may dominate the home page at mammothmountain.com, the folks at the Eastern Sierra resort are continuing the countdown to the launch of the 2013-14 ski and snowboard season.

“50 DAYS” proclaimed a post this morning on Mammoth Mountain’s Facebook, referring to the planned Nov. 7 opening date. It already had 862 likes and 183 shares by 9 a.m., about an hour after its debut on the social media site.

With weather.com predicting nighttime lows in Mammoth in the mid- to upper-20s this week, by early November the conditions should be ripe for a spectacular opening with man-made and perhaps even some natural snow. Here’s hoping.

– Jerry Rice

June Mountain to reopen Dec. 14 with free skiing for kids 12 and under

June Mountain announced today that winter operations will resume on Dec. 14, setting an opening day for the Eastern Sierra resort following its one year closure.

New for this year, June will offer free skiing and riding for children 12 and younger, every day, all season long. The move comes as the resort focuses on the beginner and intermediate experience that generations of families from California and beyond have come to know and appreciate.

The resort will also offer first time beginner packages, including equipment, lift tickets and three hour lessons, for substantial discounts.

“Personally, and I think I can speak for the June Lake community, in saying that we’re really excited to see those lifts turn again,” said Carl Williams, June Mountain’s General Manager. “Visitors are going to notice a couple changes, but we’re really focusing on what has always made June a special place and that’s the family experience. We have terrain for all abilities and some really great parks, but June’s charm is its accessibility. This a great place to learn, and to really be comfortable and have fun while you’re doing it.”

Located 20 miles north of sister resort, Mammoth Mountain, June’s 500 skiable acres are 80 percent beginner and intermediate, offering a good variety of terrain for all abilities.

June Mountain’s progression parks are the perfect introduction to freestyle, with features that ‘progress’ in size, helping skiers and snowboarders gain confidence and ability.

Additional updates, including upgrades to Chair 1 and June Mountain’s snow making infrastructure, are still in the planning phases, with additional information expected to be made available following the opening.

Information: www.junemountain.com

High winds and high adventure while spring skiing at Mammoth Mountain

Skiing in the sunshine at Mammoth Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Mammoth Ski Resort)

By Marlene Greer

This week in Mammoth Mountain was the first time I’ve actually had to pole downhill. Yes, that’s right – use my ski poles to propel myself down the mountain.

On Tuesday, bone-chilling winds at the summit hit 75 mph, according to mountain staff, and mid-mountain was not much better with strong 30-40 mph winds. The temperature at the top was a chilly 20 degrees.

The gondola to the summit was closed for three days and opened again on Thursday, though Chair 23, the other lift to the top, remained open despite the high winds. Whether that was a wise choice is debatable.

Those who ventured to the summit Tuesday and Wednesday described winds nearly blowing them over and being pelted unmercifully with ice. Skiing off the summit, they told me, was a scary experience.

Caitlin, a 20-something skier from Utah, was skiing Mammoth on Tuesday with her four friends and got caught off guard at the summit by a powerful gust of wind.

“It was so bad we all huddled together for about five minutes,” she explained. “We didn’t know what to do, which way to go. I felt like I was going to get blown off the mountain.”

Inga, spending spring break at Mammoth with her boyfriend and friends, called her one and only ride to the summit and ski down “an unfortunate adventure.”

Shredding some snow at Mammoth Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Mammoth Ski Resort)

“The wind was blowing ice so hard that the ice hitting my helmet sounded like hail,” her boyfriend added. The San Diego couple did not plan on making a second attempt to the summit that day.

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Skier Cross Camp with X Games gold medalist John Teller at Mammoth

Learn the secrets to speed with X Games gold medal winner John Teller at Mammoth Mountain on May 18-19.

Combine Mammoth’s incredible terrain with Teller’s world-class talent to learn the techniques that helped Teller win X Games gold and become the first American to win a World Cup Ski Cross event.

The camp costs $299. For more information, call Pam Lonza at 760-934-0795 or email plonza@mammoth-mtn.com.

Special discounted lodging rates are available at the Mammoth Mountain Inn for the Mammoth Spring Camps at a discounted room rate of 20 percent. Rates may vary based on room type/size and availability. 

Reservations can be made at www.mammothmountain.com, and using the following information:  John Teller Skier Cross Camp Group ID: 15288, Password: 37000188

Reservations also can be made by calling 800-626-6684.

Join Stacey Cook for Chix on Stix weekend at Mammoth

Join two-time Olympian, recent second place World Cup downhiller and Mammoth team athlete Stacey Cook and friends for a weekend of Chix on Stix, May 18-19. The packages starts at $319.

Weekend itinerary

May 17

  • Welcome reception

May 18

  • Morning free skiing with personal coaching tips by Stacey and friends
  • Nutritious lunch and skiing recap
  • Outdoor yoga in a beautiful Sierra setting. Bring your own mat.
  • Late afternoon healthy cooking class with special guest chef.  Learn to cook high-energy, nutritious meals for an active lifestyle
  • Evening movie night outdoors in The Village with homemade s’mores

May 19

  • Morning free skiing and introduction to racing through gates with Stacey and friends.
  • Nutritious lunch and farewell celebration.

All ages and abilities welcome, sorry guys – women only! Groups will be created to match participant ability and provide the best experience.

Lodging special

Special 20 percent off lodging rates will be available at the Mammoth Mountain Inn to all Chix on Stix participants. Rates may vary based on room type/size and availability.