Homewood Mountain Resort has 64 runs and spectacular views of the Lake Tahoe basin from each one of them. (Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort)
Continuing our look back at the winter that was, it’s time to visit Homewood Mountain Resort near the west shore of Lake Tahoe.
Season start/finish: Dec. 11, 2013, through March 23, 2014. The opening date was typical of past seasons, and the closing date was two to three weeks than was planned.
Snowfall: Well short of the typical 450 inches per season, although figures were not provided. Snowmaking made up some of the difference.
Season highlight: A series of big winter storms arrived just before the President’s Day holiday weekend and the mid-winter break for many schools in Northern California. “The conditions were the best they had been all season during what is typically a very busy weekend/week for us,” said Paul Raymore, resort spokesman. “At that point, every skier and snowboarder in Northern California had been ‘jonesing’ for fresh powder for months, so it was fantastic to be able to finally offer some when many had time off work or school.”
Comment: “The lack of our typical abundance of natural snow in Tahoe certainly made the 2013-14 ski season a challenging one; however, that’s not to say it wasn’t a fun year,” Raymore said. “Savvy Lake Tahoe skiers and snowboarders, who knew where to look to find the best conditions, were still able to find great snow at the smaller resorts such as Homewood, where the lack of crowds really helped to preserve the snow on the mountains.”
Looking ahead: Homewood has major changes planned for the 2015-16 ski season, with a wholesale redevelopment of the resort scheduled to begin in summer 2015. Improvements will include a new high-speed gondola taking skiers to mid-mountain, a new 5-star hotel at the base of the mountain, new skier services buildings and amenities, as well as construction of a number of residences at both of the base areas. Information about the Homewood Master Plan is at www.SkiHomewood.com/MasterPlan
Moms will get free lift tickets at Alpine Meadows on Sunday, which also happens to be the resort’s last day of the winter season. (Alpine Meadows photo)
Alpine Meadows ski resort is celebrating Mother’s Day with free lift tickets for moms and $1 mimosas on Sunday, May 11.
Moms can ski or snowboard for free all day this Mother’s Day. To redeem the free lift tickets, mothers can bring one of their kids with them to the ticket office, or present their child’s birth certificate.
Also in celebration of moms, $1 mimosas will be available to those 21 and older on the sundeck of Alpine Meadows’ base lodge on Mother’s Day.
Alpine Meadows will be open for skiing and riding Friday through Sunday, with chairlifts spinning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All guests can ski or ride for free with the purchase of a 2014-15 season pass.
Sunday, May 11, marks the final day of the 2013-14 ski season at the resort.
Believe it or not, this is not a file photo from December. It was shot this morning — on April 25 — at Squaw Valley. (Squaw Valley photo by Hank DeVre)
By Jerry Rice
If April showers bring May flowers, what do April snowstorms bring? Skiers and snowboarders, of course.
Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain — the only California resorts still open for the winter season — are all reporting fresh snow. And lots of it.
Since the white stuff starting falling early this morning, Squaw and Alpine have received at least 16 inches, while Mammoth is close behind with about 15 inches. The snow is expected to continue well into the evening, bringing a welcome late-season thick blanket of fresh powder to the slopes at all three resorts.
Alpine Meadows will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays into May. Info: www.skialpine.com
Update: The last time Squaw Valley received this much snow in 24 hours in late April was in 2011. “As you can imagine, this amount of fresh snow is certainly a late-season treat for skiers and riders who are still thirsty for powder,” says Melissa Brouse, resort spokeswoman.
In celebration of Easter, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will both offer mountaintop services and Easter egg hunts for all ages on Sunday.
Squaw Valley’s annual on-mountain Easter egg hunt returns Sunday at 9 a.m. Skiers, riders and guests can search for candy-filled colored eggs that will be hidden on the mountain from Gold Coast to High Camp, as well as in The Village.
Alpine Meadows also will host an Easter egg hunt Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. Eggs stuffed with delicious treats will be hidden off Roundhouse chair for kids and families to scoop up on their way down the mountain. In addition, a large, golden egg will be hidden among the candy-filled eggs; the skier or rider who finds the golden egg will receive a free 2014-15 bronze season pass.
Both Easter egg hunts are open to the public, and free with a lift ticket or season pass. All ages are welcome to participate.
A free, non-denominational Easter service will be held at Squaw’s High Camp from 8-8:45 a.m. Visitors who do not plan to ski or ride can take the aerial tram to High Camp for free to attend the service as early as 7:30 a.m. In addition, the regularly scheduled, afternoon service will take place Sunday at the top of Big Blue Express. The service will begin at 1 p.m. and is open to skiers and riders with a lift ticket or season pass. Skiers and riders at Alpine Meadows also may attend a non-denominational mountaintop service at the top of Roundhouse Chair at 1 p.m. A lift ticket or season pass is required.
The 2014 Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival returns Saturday to Squaw Valley, giving kids and adults the opportunity to learn about recycling, composting, alternative energy, and sustainability through hands-on activities the whole family can enjoy. The free community event takes place in The Village at Squaw Valley from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At a diverse array of earth-friendly booths, participants can get dirty in the “composting zone,” explore new ways to recycle, learn about solar energy, and check out “EarthCapades” – a series of environmental presentations designed to teach viewers ways to protect and preserve Earth’s natural resources.
The free-admission event also boasts live music, raffle prizes, a dance presentation, “Trashion” show, and community recycling event to collect old or used household batteries.
There also will be free return bus service from the festival to North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Truckee. Information: http://tahoetruckeeearthday.com
TahoeTV edited a video showing a previous Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival. (Note: The date on the video is from last year.) >>>
Winter skiing and spring kite flying combine for a day of fun on the snow at Sugar Bowl Resort and Royal Gorge.
With Sugar Bowl’s snow season coming to an end this Sunday, skiers and snowboarders can get their final runs in for free with the purchase of a 2014-15 season pass, the resort has announced.
Sugar Bowl Resort has lowered prices for most season passes and expanded pass privileges, including limited free skiing at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, plus Sun Valley and Grand Targhee when booking lodging. In addition, pass options also include special pricing for Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge combo passes, accessing 200-kilometers of groomed XC trails across 6,000 acres at North America’s largest cross country resort.
Royal Gorge XC standalone season passes also are available.
New this season, Sugar Bowl Unrestricted season passholders will get four free lift tickets to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows; Slightly Restricted season passholders will get three; Midweek passholders will get two. Lift tickets are valid Sunday-Friday, non-holiday, during the 2014-15 ski season.
Season passholders also are automatically entered into the CORE rewards program, where skiing and food and beverage purchases add up to rewards.
Mammoth Mountain will have 100 percent of its terrain available for skiing and snowboarding this weekend. (Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)
By Jerry Rice
The calendar says “April,” but it’s looking a lot more like winter – finally – at Mammoth Mountain and resorts in the Lake Tahoe area.
Mammoth received 18 inches of fresh powder this week and more than 36 inches since March 26. At Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley’s seven-day snow total is 47 inches, and at Northstar California, about six miles north of of the lake, the resort welcomed 34 inches of new snow during the last several days – just in time for this weekend’s Spring It On! festival and pond skim contest.
“We’ve received so much fresh snow just before some of our most anticipated spring events, which means phenomenal skiing and riding and added excitement to this weekend’s festivities,” said Bill Rock, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Northstar.
Back at Mammoth, the new snow means a special on-mountain experience.
“Lift lines are typical for this time of the year, and skiers are able to spread out due to 100 percent of the terrain being open,” said Tim LeRoy, resort spokesman.
Home to 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has a deal for those who purchase a 2014-15 Keepin’ It Real Unlimited Season Pass: free skiing the rest of the 2014 season at the resort and also at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
Sierra-at-Tahoe is offering the Keepin’ It Real Unlimited Season Pass for $289 through April 30. The price increases by up to $100 starting May 1 (earlier, if quantities run out).
Along with free skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, passholders can enjoy free skiing/riding in much of the Western U.S. with The Powder Alliance. Those resorts include Angel Fire Resort, Arizona Snowbowl, Bridger Bowl, China Peak, Crested Butte, Mountain High, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Snowbasin, Schweitzer, Stevens Pass and Timberline.
Season passholders will automatically be enrolled into a free membership that earns points toward free lessons, rentals, lunch and other bonuses.
Squaw Valley’s recently renovated Olympic Museum at High Camp is open once again and features newly acquired Olympic memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley, as well as a fresh new look.
The mountain-top Olympic Museum tells the story of the 1960 Winter Games – starting from the beginning with the Olympic proposal, to photos, videos and memorabilia from the historic Games. The 1960 Olympics transformed winter sports in the western U.S. and are notable as the first Winter Games to be fully televised, as well as the first to use a computer to tabulate scores.
Historical items new to the museum include the original vinyl recording of the music performed during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games at Squaw Valley, and the clock that hung in Blyth Arena during the 1960 Olympics.
Other mementos on display include: one of the original proposals for the Winter Games by Squaw Valley founder Alex Cushing, authentic Team USA uniforms from the 1960 Olympics, and a waitress uniform from the Olympic Village Lodge where the athletes dined during the Olympic Games – the first and only time in Olympic history all the athletes dined together under one roof. In addition, the museum has received a complete renovation that includes new paint, carpet, furniture and fixtures.
The Olympic Museum is located at the top of Aerial Tram at High Camp and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free with a lift ticket or Aerial Tram ticket. Click here for more information about Squaw Valley’s Olympic history.
Sugar Bowl Resort is launching its own online ticket sales portal, complete with deeply discounted rates.
Lift tickets are available for purchase at www.sugarbowl.com/tickets. The site displays various prices based on the day. Skiers and riders can purchase tickets for the following day, or for use months ahead. The price of an adult lift ticket online is about $67 regular season while a holiday lift ticket at the window is $88. After purchasing, print a confirmation and redeem printed confirmation at the Mt. Judah Special Tickets office.
The option to purchase tickets online for next-day use is only available at a few ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area. This allows skiers and riders to take advantage of discounts when it accommodates their schedule or after a strong storm blows into the area.