Squaw Valley received nearly 2 feet of snow during the weekend, and the resort has 14 lifts running, accessing 23 runs. (Squaw Valley photo)
Thanks, Mother Nature.
A snowy weekend has resulted in a wealth of skiing and snowboarding opportunities at North Lake Tahoe resorts. Seven locations in the area have opened a combined 230-plus runs – with excellent conditions reported on terrain ranging from beginner to expert.
Blessed by early December snow storms and sunny bluebird days during the Christmas-New Year’s Day span, Lake Tahoe area resorts saw the biggest holiday crowds in four years.
“The ski resort business in the Sierra over the holiday period was up substantially over last year, and the resorts had more people coming since the holiday season in 2010-2011,” said Bob Roberts, CEO of the California Ski Industry Association.
Cold nighttime temperatures during most of December allowed the resorts to generate plenty of additional snow with snow-making systems that resorts have been expanding in recent years.
A report from Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows corporate headquarters was typical of comments from Sierra resorts. “With all of the early season snow – 110 inches total at 8,000-feet in December – we saw great crowds over the holidays and New Year’s, including locals driving to the resorts and visitors staying in the Village at Squaw Valley,” said Melissa Brouse Matheney, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. “We were even able to run the aerial tram until 7 p.m. Dec. 27-30 so guests could get some turns in under the lights.”
In years gone by, many Sierra ski resorts collected a third of their annual revenue during the Christmas holiday season. But now, explained Roberts, a resort may generate half of its annual ticket sales with the early season sale of annual lift passes.
Many skiers and riders have discovered that if they only get out on the slopes five or six days a season, that pretty well pays for the price of an annual pass, he added.
All of the 27 ski resorts in the association had enough snow to open for the holiday season.
A skier glides through the trees at Squaw Valley, where the slopes are expected to receive another 2 feet of snow and perhaps even more by Thursday. (Squaw Valley photo)
The winter storm that moved through Northern California late Friday has dropped 8 inches of fresh snow on Squaw Valley’s mid-mountain and 14 inches at Alpine Meadows, with snow still falling at both mountains.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the snowfall is expected to continue throughout the week with nearly three feet of new snow possible in the upper elevations by Thursday.
Squaw Valley is open for the 2014-15 winter season with five lifts for skiing and riding, along with scenic Aerial Tram rides, snowtubing, ice skating, yoga, shopping and dining. Alpine Meadows is set open Friday, Dec. 12.
The Village at Squaw Valley became a winter wonderland this morning as several inches of snow fell at the resort and elsewhere in the Lake Tahoe area. (Squaw Valley photo)
About the time kids were trick-or-treating on Friday night, mountain resorts throughout California were starting to get a special treat: snow. In some cases, it was the first white stuff of the season, raising hopes that the lengthy drought – fingers crossed – will come to an end this winter. There certainly was lots of excitement to go around:
Mountain High: The first snow of the season fell this morning at Mountain High Resort giving the area a crisp glow and solidifying the coming of winter. Traditionally, Mountain High opens in mid-November but it all depends on the season. Three times in the past 10 years, the Wrightwood resort has opened in October. Mountain High’s 10-year average is a Nov. 16 opening. For a gallery of “first snow of the season” photos, clickhere.
Heavenly: Winter has arrived at Tahoe, and Heavenly Mountain Resort received 3 inches of new snow overnight.
Northstar: Three inches of fresh snow has accumulated and snow continues to fall. Temperatures have remained in the low 20s and the mountain’s snowmaking team has activated Northstar’s state-of-the-art snowmaking system. The National Weather Service has forecast an 80 percent chance of snow throughout the remainder of the day and into the evening, with expected additional accumulation of up to 3 inches. Snow showers are predicted for Sunday at a 20 percent chance.
Sierra-at-Tahoe: The resort received as much as 6 inches of snow overnight in the base area near the new Solstice Plaza. Early season snowfall is a reminder that winter and the ski and snowboard season are right around the corner.
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows: The winter storm sweeping through the Sierra Nevada has brought 10 inches of fresh snow to Alpine Meadows’ upper mountain and 6 inches to Squaw Valley by late Saturday morning, with snow continuing to fall at both mountains. This is the first significant snowfall of the 2014-15 winter season, and comes less than a month before Squaw Valley’s scheduled opening date of Nov. 26. Alpine Meadows is expected to open on Dec. 12.
Starting today, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are reducing the base price of the 2014-15 Tahoe Super Pass to $379, which is a $50 savings for skiers and snowboarders. The discounted Bronze Pass is available at www.tahoesuperpass.com.
The price cut comes 11 days before an important season pass deadline: Current pricing for the 2014-15 Tahoe Super Pass is guaranteed through Monday, Sept. 8, though the $379 Bronze Pass price is only available while quantities last. For a little extra, the resorts’ Gold ($809) and Silver ($579) passes offer skiers and riders access to 9,650 acres of terrain across four Lake Tahoe Resorts: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl Resort/Royal Gorge Cross Country.
Squaw Valley is scheduled to open Wednesday, Nov. 26, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Alpine Meadows is scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 12. Opening dates are dependent on weather and snow conditions.
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.
After being MIA for too long this winter (at least in California), lots of fresh snow courtesy Mother Nature is falling on the slopes at resorts throughout the state. Today’s storm is the first of a three-storm series expected to roll through by Sunday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
We’ll update this post as reports from the resorts come in. >>>
4:15 p.m. Thursday …
Fresh photos from our friends at Mammoth Mountain, courtesy Mammoth Lakes Tourism. “With a foot and half of snow on the ground at Mammoth Mountain and several more feet expected through the weekend and early next week, best estimates put the snow total for this storm system at around 3 to 4 feet,” says spokesman Tim LeRoy.
“That would make this the biggest storm system to hit the Eastern Sierra in two years,” he adds, citing a report at Mammoth Weather.
On the Mammoth website, lodging specials included “stay three nights and get the fourth night free” and a lift and lodging package starting at $129 – both good for arrival dates through late May.
3:30 p.m. Thursday …
The winter storm sweeping through the Sierra Nevada brought 13 inches of fresh snow to Squaw Valley and 10 inches to Alpine Meadows by Thursday afternoon, with snow continuing to fall. Both resorts could see more than two feet of snow by Sunday night, with the possibility of even more snowfall through Wednesday.
Here’s what Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows looked like this morning. >>>
Mammoth Mountain received as much as 15 inches of new snow overnight. The forecast calls for another 3 to 5 inches tonight, and up to 17 inches more on Friday. Another 1 to 3 inches is possible on Saturday.
Noon Thursday …
Rachel Luna, our colleague at The Sun and Daily Bulletin, is on the prowl today for #ieweather photos and videos and took this shot at Snow Valley. >>>
It was almost lunchtime and Snow Valley hadn’t sold a single lift ticket all morning. The resort closed for the day at noon.
“Resort officials believe skiers & snowboarders are holding out for the snowstorm to come,” Luna reported via Twitter.
10 a.m. Thursday …
Mountain High is closed today, and operators are planning to re-opening the resort on Saturday morning. “We fully expect to reopen this weekend with hopes of remaining open all the way through Easter,” said a post on the resort’s website.
In the meantime, here are some other fast facts, according to the resort:
Mountain High has been open into May three times during the last 15 years.
The Women of Winter three-day camp is returning to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows on March 2-4. The camp is designed for intermediate to advanced women skiers and includes three full days of skiing, daily lunch, après ski events, and collaborative teaching for serious on-hill progression.
An innovative program, the Women of Wonder camp is specially designed to help women challenge themselves on the hill in a collaborative and supportive environment. The WOW program embraces a fun, fast-paced approach to ski instruction, allowing women to push themselves on Squaw and Alpine’s expansive terrain and pick up new skills, all while having a great time.
Off the hill, the camp also includes après ski events such as a wine and cheese social in The Village, and a guest speaker and social at Trilogy Spa.
The Women of Winter program is the result of over 35 years of contiguous women’s-specific ski programs at Squaw Valley, the first resort to offer female-specific ski lessons. In the early 1970s, Elissa Slanger, then a Squaw ski instructor, realized that the typical mechanical, and sometimes tyrannical, methods used to teach skiing terrified women and prevented them from exploring the sport and realizing their potential. From that realization, “Women’s Way,” the first women-specific ski program was born, pioneered by Elissa at Squaw Valley. Women of Winter is the latest development in women’s-specific ski programs at Squaw, offering a new, innovative, and most importantly, fun, approach to skiing.
The Women of Winter camp is available for intermediate to advanced women skiers, ages 13 and older. The camp is $536 without lift tickets, and $689 with lift tickets. Reservations are required. To book, call 530-452-4349 or email wow@Squaw.com.