California ski, snowboard resorts get a Halloween treat: snow!

The Village at Squaw Valley became a winter wonderland this morning as several inches of snow fell at the resort and throughout the Lake Tahoe area. (Squaw Valley photo)

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, click here.

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.

Heavenly Mountain making snow for Nov. 21 opening

In addition to 2” of natural snow during the weekend, Heavenly Mountain Resort has fired up the West Coast’s largest and most powerful snowmaking system and has begun making snow in anticipation of a Nov. 21 opening day.

The snowmaking system ran for seven hours over night Sunday, blowing snow at the top of the Gondola, as well as on California Trail, Orion and Tamarack return.

“Cold temperatures and natural snowfall have been building the buzz around the upcoming season, and now that snowmaking has begun, we are full steam ahead with more than four decades of snowmaking experience and expertise at our backs,” said Pete Sonntag, vice president and COO of Heavenly. “We will open on November 21 with the some of the best snow surface conditions at Lake Tahoe.”

Heavenly’s extensive snowmaking system is capable, under optimum conditions, of producing three-and-a-half feet of snow across one acre in an hour and can cover 73 percent of the resort’s 97 trails in machine-made snow.

Heavenly is expanding its snowmaking capabilities this season by adding snowmaking to Easy Street, a beginner run at the top of the Gondola. A spur line has also been added from the top of Dipper Express that allows Heavenly to make snow on Skyline Trail near the top of Milky Way Bowl.

This will make it possible to open Skyline Trail earlier in the season and provide skiers and riders access to both California and Nevada earlier than ever before.

The resort also added three new fan guns to the fleet, increasing the total number of energy efficient fan guns the resort has to 67. These new SMI Puma fan guns are more energy efficient and also more efficient on the production side.

Heavenly kicks off the 2014-15 ski and ride season on Friday, November 21, with opening day and the first Unbuckle at Tamarack après party of the season.

Unbuckle takes place daily from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with a live DJ, half-priced drinks, giveaways, food specials, lots of dancing and, exclusively on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the lovely Heavenly Angels.

The party continues with Winter Ignite on the weekends of December 5-6 and 12-13, culminating in a free concert by Young The Giant in Heavenly Village on December 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Winter Ignite will jumpstart the 2014-2015 ski and ride season with pop-up DJ Cat and Unbuckle après kick-off parties, the Pretty Faces movie premier and comedy from Daniel Tosh at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa on Friday, December 12. For more information, go to

Snow! Heavenly Mountain Resort gets a taste of what’s (hopefully) to come

Milky Way Bowl at Heavenly Mountain Resort received a dusting of snow on Monday night. (Heavenly Mountain Resort photo)

Milky Way Bowl at Heavenly Mountain Resort received a light covering of snow on Monday night. (Heavenly Mountain Resort photos)

Granted, it’s not much, but considering that California is in the midst of a multi-year drought, any snow – even a little – is more than welcome. So after Heavenly Mountain Resort received a dusting of powder last night, we were excited to see the photos that were sent out today. The resort is scheduled to open for skiers and snowboarders on Nov. 21.

Mott Canyon, on the Nevada side of the mountain, after last night's light snowfall.

Mott Canyon, on the Nevada side of the mountain, after last night’s snowfall.

Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows reduce pass prices for upcoming ski season

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

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.

#Winter2014: Skiing, snowboarding at Homewood Mountain Resort

Homewood Mountain Resort has 64 runs and spectacular views of the Lake Tahoe basin from each one of them. (Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort)

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

On Mother’s Day, moms will get royal treatment at Alpine Meadows

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)

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.


#SnowAlert: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain all report fresh pow!

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)

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:

Squaw Valley will be open through Sunday. Info:

Mammoth Mountain will be open through at least Memorial Day. Info:

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.

Easter services with a side of eggs at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows

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.

Mountaintop services
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.

Info: and

Love your mother – Earth, that is – during the Tahoe Truckee #EarthDay fest.

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.


TahoeTV edited a video showing a previous Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival. (Note: The date on the video is from last year.) >>>

Season finale nears for Sugar Bowl, as the Lake Tahoe area resort plans ahead

Winter skiing and spring kite flying combine for a day of fun on the snow at Sugar Bowl Resort and Royal Gorge.

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.