It’s snow, snow and more snow on the slopes at Lake Tahoe, Mammoth

Squaw Valley has a base depth of 2 to 8 feet, and expect that to increase as fresh powder keeps falling today at the resort. (Jeff Engerbretson photo)

As of 5 a.m. today, Squaw Valley reported up to 6 inches of new snow while sister resort Alpine Meadows said it received up to 5 inches – and the white stuff was still coming down, at a rate of about an inch per hour.

This storm follows another one that recently rolled through, dumping up to 4 inches of snow. The two-storm total was expected to be 10-15 inches by Wednesday evening.

Skies were expected to clear by mid-day Friday, making for easier travel this weekend to all of the Lake Tahoe resorts.

Mammoth Mountain already has the most snow of any resort in North America, and it could receive another 2 feet by this weekend. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

Mammoth Mountain also was reporting fresh snow this morning, with 6 to 10 inches falling in the past 24 hours and a base depth of 7 to 16 feet.

The Weather.com forecast for Mammoth has a 60-70 percent chance of snow on Thursday and Friday, followed by partly cloudy to sunny skies on Saturday and Sunday when highs are expected to be in the 40s and 50s. For more information, click here.

Top skiers prepare for final Rahlves’ Banzai Tour challenge at Sugar Bowl

The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour will end where it all began more than 70 years ago — the Silver Belt gully at Sugar Bowl Resort.

Some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the West will battle it out to cap off the four-stop skiing competition with a win at Sugar Bowl.

The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour is described as “big mountain freeskiing meets skier/boardercross.” Competitors race in four-person heats over natural terrain in a contest of pure skiing speed. Previous stops include Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA.

The Rahlves’ Banzai dates back to the famed Silver Belt downhill race, which began at Sugar Bowl in 1940 and was considered one of North America’s premier ski races, attracting elite skiers from across the nation.

Daron Rahlves — Olympian, X Games gold medalist, one of the most decorated downhill skiers in U.S. history, and freesking film star — helped reshape the race into the four-resort circuit that it is today. Although he does not compete in the other three stops of the tour, he will take on the ski winners of all four tour stops in a one-time, winner-takes-all, $10,000 cash prize Super Final at Sugar Bowl on Sunday.

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Sweetheart deals at Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley for Valentine’s Day

Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are offering lodging deals and a host of fun events for Valentine’s Day. Both resorts also will be distributing “I heart Squaw” and “I heart Alpine” buttons all day on Feb. 14.

Lodging packages: Couples can book the Lake Tahoe Lovers’ Getaway package and get a three-night stay, two two-day adult lift tickets and a private, full-day couple’s ski or snowboard lesson starting at $195 per person/per night. The Lake Tahoe Lovers’ Getaway package can be booked Feb. 13-16 for Valentine’s Day, though it is valid for stays through April 28. Package is based on availability and is subject to change. Information: 800-731-8021, visit www.squaw.com

Scavenger hunt: Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will be hiding little red velvet bags around both mountains for all to find, weather and conditions permitting. The bags will be full of Valentine’s chocolates and candies, along with a few 2012-13 lift tickets. Scavenger hunt starts when lifts open at 9 a.m.

Singles on KT: Lift lines for male and female singles for those who want to meet their match on Squaw’s KT-22 chairlift. Lifties will be pairing up daring singles all day long from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meet your match at Alpine: On Feb. 14 at Alpine Meadows, get a numbered sticker from guest services or from the lift ops at the Summit and Roundhouse chairlifts in order to find and meet your match. Keep an eye out for your matching number while you are skiing or riding, and if you find them, bring them to the Last Chair Bar to get discounted drink specials.

Super Sunday on the slopes: At Alpine, $49 for a lift ticket, then watch the 49ers

Alpine Meadows has great conditions, spectacular views and — on Super Bowl Sunday — $49 lift tickets to celebrate the 49ers playing in the big game. Liftopia and the resort’s website have more details on the special price. (Photo by Tom Zikas/Alpine Meadows)

In celebration of the San Francisco 49ers and Sunday’s Super Bowl, Alpine Meadows has $98 lift tickets for two people ($49 per person, good for Alpine only) available through Liftopia. After a day of skiing and snowboarding, settle in to watch the game at the Last Chair Bar.

Alpine and its sister resort, Squaw Valley, also are offering all passholders an opportunity to purchase two $49 friends or family lift tickets, valid on Sunday.

Alpine’s Super Bowl party game plan comes with food and drink specials and football squares. Buy a drink, get a square (maximum two squares per person) and cheer on your team. Prizes will be given at the end of each quarter. Food specials include $5 nachos and $5 wings at the Last Chair Bar. To learn more, click here.

Squaw is hosting what is being billed as the biggest bash in the Sierra for Sunday’s big game. Watch the 49ers battle the Ravens on a 16-foot by 21-foot, 49-panel jumbo screen at KT Base Bar. Festivities are planned throughout the day, including giveaways and promotions before, during and after the game. This event will be a major fundraiser for the High Fives Foundation. Click here for more details.

Information: www.skialpine.com

Shuttle between North Lake Tahoe ski/snowboard resorts — for free

A free ski shuttle is now ferrying visitors among nine North Lake Tahoe resorts.

The pilot program, which runs on weekends and holidays through March 31, aims to get skiers and snowboarders out of their cars and reduce travel hassles.

Participating resorts are Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, Homewood Mountain Resort, Sugar Bowl, Donner Ski Ranch, Boreal, Soda Springs and Royal Gorge.

For the schedule and details, go to www.laketahoetransit.com.

Shopping for deals on the slopes

At Mountain High, the Express Pass opens the way to money savings on the slopes and several special features. (Mountain High photo)

By Jerry Rice

OK, everyone knows that skiing and snowboarding can be expensive – traveling to the resort, lodging, equipment rentals, lift tickets…

But there are many ways to save on costs without cutting cut corners on the fun. Some examples:

> Free rentals for first-timers, ages 8 to adult, when a beginner lesson package is purchased at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit during the month of January. It’s part of a Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month promotion in partnership with the National Ski Areas Association. Information: 909-866-5841, www.snowsummit.com

Mammoth Mountain’s January midweek pass is $249 – $50 less than last season. With regular adult lift tickets at the resort running $99 per day, the cost of the special midweek pass essentially means it more than pays for itself after three days on the slopes. Other price levels are $179 for youth, $69 for children and $199 for seniors. The pass is valid Monday-Friday through Feb. 1, but must be purchased by Monday. Information: 800-626-6684, www.mammothmountain.com

> At Mountain High, spend $10 on a rechargeable Express Pass, load it with almost any lift ticket and start saving – $10 on all flex ticket options – and enjoying other benefits. Those other benefits include guaranteed reservations in case of a sellout, a free eight-hour non-holiday ticket after every five visits, and the ability to track the number of runs you’ve completed, the total vertical feet and other individual stats. Information: 888-754-7878, www.mthigh.com 

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Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley offering 2-for-1 deals on specialty clinics

Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are rolling out special 2-for-1 deals Jan. 6-12 on four specialty clinics: Women of Winter, Adventure 55, Jibs and Jumps and All-Mountain Excursions. Participants can bring a friend or family member and receive two specialty clinic passes for the price of one, offering a savings of nearly $50.

All-Mountain Excursions

Discover the nooks and crannies of two legendary mountains that can’t be found on the trail map. An experienced guide shares tactical tips while leading participants to explore the best conditions of the day during the 2.5 hour clinic. All-Mountain Excursions are offered for intermediate to advanced skiers and riders (ages 13 & up) and begins at 9:30 a.m. Cost for a single clinic is $49. The special 2-for-1 deal is offered Monday, Jan. 6, at Squaw Valley and Friday, Jan. 10, at Alpine Meadows.

All-Mountain Excursions are offered every Monday from Jan. 6 to March 17.  At Alpine Meadows, the clinics are available every Friday from Jan. 10 to March 28. 

Women of Winter
The popular Women of Winter (WOW) clinic is designed to help intermediate to expert women skiers (ages 13 & up) fine-tune skills and build confidence in a fun atmosphere. Skiers will feel challenged and invigorated while building camaraderie with other adventure-seeking women.  Participants of the 2.5 hour clinic meet at the base of the Funitel at 9:30 a.m.  Cost for a single WOW clinic is $49. The special 2-for-1 deal is offered Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Squaw Valley. At Alpine Meadows, the special deal is offered Thursday, Jan. 9, and Sunday, Jan. 12.

WOW clinics are offered every Wednesday from Jan. 8 to March 26 at Squaw Valley. At Alpine Meadows, WOW is available every Thursday and Sunday from Jan. 9 to March 27.

Adventure 55
Mature skiers will benefit from the wisdom and experience of specially trained instructors while enjoying the company of other like-minded skiers during this 2.5 hour tour.  Skiers begin the day with an 8:30 a.m. meet and greet at Starbucks, before hitting the slopes at 9:30 a.m. to explore the mountain. This clinic is available for intermediate to expert skiers. Cost of a single clinic is $49. The special 2-for-1 deal is offered Thursday, Jan. 9, at Squaw Valley and Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Alpine Meadows.

Adventure 55 clinics are available every Thursday from Jan. 9 to March 27 at Squaw Valley. At Alpine Meadows, the clinic is offered every Tuesday from Jan. 7 to March 25.

Jibs and Jumps

Jibs and Jumps guides both skiers and snowboarders (ages 13 & up) into the playful realm of manmade and natural features: boxes, rails, tabletops, tree jibs, wind lips and more. The clinic is from 9:30 a.m. to noon and is designed for solid intermediate to advanced skiers riders. Cost for a single clinic is $49. The special 2-for-1 deal is offered Friday, Jan. 10 at Squaw Valley and Monday, Jan. 6 at Alpine Meadows.

Jibs and Jumps clinics are available every Friday from Jan. 10 to March. 28 at Squaw Valley. At Alpine Meadows, the clinic is also offered every Monday from Jan. 6 to March 24.

For more information on clinics, visit www.squaw.com or www.skialpine.com. Specialty clinics are not offered Feb. 15-22.Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are currently open for top-to-bottom skiing and riding. Squaw has 17 lifts open with 30 trails. Alpine Meadows currently has nine lifts open with 32 trails. In addition to great skiing and riding, Squaw also offers numerous family-friendly activities including, snowtubing, mini-snowmobiles, ice skating, dining, and shopping. Squaw’s new Wanderlust Yoga Studio also offers a full schedule of classes and is open seven days a week.

San Francisco Bay Area rain means happy skiers at Lake Tahoe resorts

By Peter Delevett
San Jose Mercury News

Tahoe, tallyho!

The clammy Christmastime weather may be no fun in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it’s a boon for Lake Tahoe ski resorts that a year ago were suffering through a dry, nonwhite season.

Since Friday, more than seven feet of snow have fallen on the Sierra. And people from here and elsewhere have been flocking to the slopes.

Snowboarders enjoy the snow at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. (Patrick Tehan/San Jose Mercury News photo)

“We expect to have a great holiday season,” said Paul Raymore, spokesman for Homewood Mountain Ski Resort on the lake’s western shore. “Conditions at all the resorts are pretty much all-time.”

Raymore said Homewood is already seeing brisk season-ticket sales, and his counterpart at Squaw Valley said lodging at her resort is virtually sold out through Jan. 4. “Our phones are ringing off the hook,” said Jenny Kendrick, who also represents Alpine Meadows.

Kendrick called it the second-snowiest Christmas for her resorts since 1970.

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