Winter-like system brings snow to Lake Tahoe resorts

Last night, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows received a dusting of snow for the third time this fall. While it may not have been enough white stuff to write home about, the occasion certainly was worthy of an e-release sent out by the resorts’ media relations department.

It also provided the PR staff the opportunity to remind everyone that the Tahoe Super Pass  which offers access to the slopes at both resorts  is on sale through Sunday. Prices are $499 for a Bronze pass, $559 for a Silver, and $789 for an unlimited Gold pass. Those prices will increase starting Monday. Information: www.tahoesuperpass.com

How the resorts looked this morning…

The Emigrant express lift at Squaw Valley this morning.

Emigrant express lift at Squaw Valley

 

Base lodge at Alpine Meadows, near the Roundhouse chairlift

Base lodge at Alpine Meadows, near the Roundhouse chairlift

Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows invest big both on and off the slopes

Kids ski, too, and Squaw Valley's new Teaching Tykes program will give parents the pointers they need to help their little ones get the most out of the experience. (Jeff Curtes/Squaw Valley photo)

Kids ski, too, and Squaw Valley’s new Teaching Tykes program will give parents the pointers they need to help their little ones get the most out of the experience on the slopes. (Jeff Curtes photo)

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will be unveiling nearly $8 million in capital improvements for the 2013-14 winter season. The improvements are part of the resorts’ five-year, $70 million renaissance designed to improve all facets of the resort experience.

The investment for the first two years of the renaissance totaled $38 million and brought new chairlifts, expanded kids’ activities, new restaurants, redesigned terrain parks, and the world’s first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks to the resorts. The improvements continue this winter with a new yoga studio, $1.2 million in lodging improvements, electric car chargers, food trucks and a mid-mountain beer garden. The highlights:

Teaching Tykes program
This winter, Squaw Valley is offering a new program called Teaching Tykes, designed for parents who want tips on how to teach their little one (ages 3-5) to ski or snowboard. Available for $169, the price includes a one hour lesson for parent and child, beginner lift ticket for parent and child if 5 years old (ages 3 & 4 are already free) and kids ski or snowboard rentals.

Kids programs
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are each offering a new kids team program for the 2013-14 winter season. The snowboarding equivalent of Squaw’s long acclaimed Mighty Mites program, the new Mighty Riders program will offer young riders ages 7-13 the opportunity to develop skills and passion for snowboarding over the course of the winter season at Squaw Valley.

At Alpine Meadows, the new Snow Rangers program will offer winter adventures and on-mountain training such as backcountry touring, snow science, avalanche awareness, snow camping and more for past ski team members ages 12-18 who have a solid base of alpine skiing.

Wanderlust Yoga Studio
Squaw and Wanderlust have partnered to open the new Wanderlust Yoga Studio. In addition to classes seven days a week, the new yoga studio will offer workshops that incorporate Squaw’s extraordinary landscape, including pairing yoga classes with hiking and paddleboarding in the summer and skiing and riding in the winter. Squaw Valley was the original birthplace of the Wanderlust Festival, now the world’s largest and fastest growing music and yoga festival.

Lodging renovations
The slope side condominium suites at The Village at Squaw Valley have received $1.2 million in renovations in summer 2013. Each bedroom in every rental unit at The Village at Squaw Valley has been upgraded with new mattresses and triple-sheet bedding with a sophisticated feel. Many units have also received new furniture, carpet, additional flat screen TVs and air conditioning. The Village offers spacious condominium suites in one-, two- and three-bedroom options complete with a full kitchen, fireplace, balcony and one bathroom per every bedroom in the unit.

The food truck phenomenon has made it to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. (Matt Palmer photo)

The food truck phenomenon has made it to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. (Matt Palmer photo)

Mtn Roots Food Trucks
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have purchased two new fully-outfitted food trucks to serve fresh, new dining options at the resorts this winter. The food trucks, named Mtn Roots, will offer an eclectic mix of regionally and sustainably sourced food. The Mtn Roots trucks will serve up quick bites as well as more substantial options for sit-down meals that can be enjoyed on nearby outdoor tables. The food trucks will feature rotating menus based on the ingredients available locally as well as feedback from diners.

Many of the sustainable menu offerings will be created in partnership with the Tahoe Food Hub, a local nonprofit organization committed to increasing the availability of nutritious, ecologically grown food by connecting small-scale, regional food producers with schools, restaurants and resorts like Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. More information on the Tahoe Food Hub can be found at www.tahoefoodhub.org. In partnership with K2 Skis, the food trucks will also offer a signature K2 dish. One of the food trucks will be parked primarily on First Street at The Village at Squaw Valley and the other at the base of Alpine Meadows – though both trucks will roam for special events.
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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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