Sugar Bowl to host Backcountry Ball fundraiser

Sugar Bowl Resort will be hosting the Backcountry Ball – an evening of food, drink and music – to benefit the Sierra Avalanche Center on Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. It will feature a presentation by legendary big mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones.

The event will be held at the resort’s Mt. Judah Lodge. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and are available at www.sierraavalanchecenter.org.

Tickets include a pasta buffet dinner and live music by the Sierra Drifters, a four-piece Americana, roots rock band. Attendees who order Sugar Bowl Pale Ale at the cash bar will send $1 per beer in donations to the SAC.

Vendors will be showcasing the latest backcountry gear and a silent auction will feature prizes including an unrestricted season pass to Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge.

Jones will give a 30-minute presentation on backcountry terrain selection and big mountain riding. He has been featured in dozens of snowboard films and was selected as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2013. His last two Teton Gravity Research films, “Deeper” and “Further,” featured himself and team of backcountry riders accessing some of the world’s most intense big mountain snowboard terrain all on foot and by splitboard. Jones is currently filming for “Higher,” the last film of the backcountry snowboard trilogy that will feature terrain from the Sierra Nevada to the Himalaya.

Sugar Bowl Resort has hosted the Backcountry Ball for five years as a way to support the nonprofit Sierra Avalanche Center and its team of two full-time avalanche forecasters.

#ski #snowboard … opening day updates from the slopes

A bunch of California resorts already are open for skiing and snowboarding. Here’s the latest we have from resorts that have yet to start their seasons. >>>

Bear Valley: Opening Saturday and Sunday for skiing and snowboarding, closing Monday through Dec. 19, then opening for the season on Dec. 20. During the first weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, tickets will be $39 for adults and $19 for ages 6-12. Info: www.bearvalley.com

Dodge Ridge: Opening day is “just inches away” says the resort’s website. Dodge Ridge received 18-20 inches of snow in the 72 hours leading up to Monday. Info: www.dodgeridge.com 

Homewood: Opening Wednesday with limited operations. The Happy Platter surface lift, Happy Park terrain park and Magic Carpet beginner terrain will be available. On opening day, everyone skis and rides for free. Info: www.skihomewood.com

Mt. Shasta Ski Park: “Opening soon!” says the website’s home page. We’re not sure what “soon” means, but the resort is plugging a New Year’s Eve party. Info: http://skipark.com

Snow Valley: Opening today, with 6 inches of natural snow and snow-making on the slopes top to bottom. Info: www.snow-valley.com 

Soda Springs: Opening Friday. No other details about conditions were available on the website. Info: www.skisodasprings.com

Starting gate opens for the cross country ski season at Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge Cross Country, North America’s largest cross country resort, will open for the season today.

The resort will offer about 40 kilometers of groomed cross country trails for skiers after more than 20 inches of new snow fell on the resort over the weekend.

When fully open, Royal Gorge has more than 200 kilometers of trails on 6,000 acres of terrain that stretches from the open expanse of Van Norden Meadow to the foot of majestic Devil’s Peak. It is connected to Sugar Bowl Resort by an “interconnect trail” that leads skiers through Van Norden Meadows.

Tickets, rentals and other guest services will be offered at the Summit Station Lodge. All-day, adult lift tickets are $28. Skiers can receive a $5 discount on a Royal Gorge trail passes every day throughout the season by purchasing a $21 CORE pass.

Information: www.royalgorge.com

Flaming Lips, Jurassic 5 to take over Squaw’s Last Chair Festival

Back for its second year, the Last Chair Festival returns to Squaw Valley Jan. 9-11 with a new format, huge headlining acts and new cultural seminars. A celebration of music, culture and community, the Last Chair Festival welcomes an eclectic mix of world-renowned music acts including The Flaming Lips, Jurassic 5 and Matisyahu.

“The inaugural Last Chair Music Festival last January was a great success, but this year we really wanted to blow it out of the water,” said Sean Kristl, marketing manager for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “For 2014, we’ve brought in bigger acts and added a lineup of cultural seminars, workshops, and after-parties, as well as incredible lift ticket packages.”

Last Chair’s 2014 lineup features:
• The Flaming Lips
• Matisyahu
• Jurassic 5
• Mayer Hawthorne
• Fitz & the Tantrums
• Random Rab
• Chali 2na (and the House of Vibe)
• Ben Rector
• Tennis
• West Water Outlaws

Beyond the slopes and stage, the Last Chair Festival also includes cultural seminars and after-party events.

Last Chair Festival offers various ticket packages, including a Music + Lift Ticket Combo Pass for three days on the slopes and two nights of music for $250. Additional concert and lift ticket packages are available; details and purchase options can be found at www.Squaw.com/LastChairFestival.

Being a college student has its benefits at Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley

College students will have unrestricted access to the slopes at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley all season with the 2013-14 College Tahoe Super Pass. The cost is $419.

The College Pass has no holiday blackout dates, and also includes six discounted tickets for friends and family, free night skiing and discounted lift tickets to Sierra-at-Tahoe. For a list of all the benefits visit www.TahoeSuperPass.com.

Squaw and Alpine are home to some of the most diverse terrain in North America and host some of Tahoe’s most legendary events. This season, the resorts will once again be home to epic pool parties at Squaw’s mountain-top pool and hot tub, the Last Chair Festival, Mardi Squaw, Pain McShlonkey and the Cushing Crossing over at Alpine Meadows. Students also can soak up the sun at Ice Bar, located off Sherwood Chair at Alpine Meadows, or come out for the Saturday music series starting in the spring.

To qualify for the College Tahoe Super Pass, students must be registered as full-time college students (taking 12 credits or more) for the 2013-14 winter season. Students must bring a valid government issued photo ID and copy of course registration or transcripts showing full-time status at an accredited college.

Heavenly, Northstar get the winter excitement rolling

Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California, both in the Lake Tahoe area, opened Saturday with limited operations. Heavenly had been scheduled to start its winter season on Friday, but high winds prompted the resort to postpone the debut.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is scheduled to open this morning at 9, and Mount Rose-Ski Tahoe and Squaw Valley are expecting to follow suit on Wednesday – just in time for skiers and boarders to work off those extra Thanksgiving dinner calories.

Boreal and Mammoth Mountain opened in early November, giving California’s ski and snowboard season a pre-Veterans Day launch, and Mountain High joined them on Sunday.

Back at Heavenly, here’s what it looked like on opening day. >>>

Fresh powder piling up at Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley has received 10 inches of snow at upper elevations thanks to a snow storm that moved through the region through Thursday morning. Across the ridgeline, Alpine Meadows received 6 inches at upper elevations. The storm comes about a week before Squaw Valley’s planned opening date of Nov. 27.

Overnight, Squaw Valley received 6 inches of new snow in the upper elevations, and 1 inch at the base of Squaw Valley. Alpine Meadows received 3 inches of new snow overnight in the upper elevations and 1 inch at the base.

“The 10 inches of snow and the following cold temperatures are setting us up for a great winter season,” said Mike Livak, executive VP of operations at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “Leading up to opening day, our state-of-the-art snowmaking system will be working fulltime to add to the snow that Mother Nature has brought us.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for overnight lows in the upper teens and low 20s throughout the next week, which provides ideal temperatures for continued snowmaking at both resorts.

B-roll footage from the resort’s Youtube page has everything coated in white. >>>

Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Resort opens Friday at 9 a.m.

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Skiers and riders can make some turns at Lake Tahoe this weekend as Heavenly Mountain Resort officially opens for the 2013-2014 season on Friday at 9 a.m. Heavenly will operate the Gondola and Tamarack Express, accessing 14 acres and 1.5 miles of skiable terrain on California Trail to Tamarack Return. Heavenly will offer free shuttle buses for guests from the California Main Lodge parking area to the Gondola.

Heavenly kicks off opening day with the first Unbuckle at Tamarack après party of the season at 3:30 p.m. Unbuckle takes place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with a live DJ, half-priced drinks, giveaways, food specials, lots of dancing and the lovely Heavenly Angels. The party continues past opening day with Winter Ignite, featuring Unbuckle après parties, the Heavenly Angels and a special performance by DJ Porter Robinson at MontBleu on November 30.

“Thanks to early season snowfall and the West Coast’s largest snowmaking system, skiers and riders can rely on Heavenly to provide some of the best early season conditions in the region,” said Pete Sonntag, vice president and chief operating officer of Heavenly. “Our team will continue to take advantage of the cold temperatures in the forecast and make snow at every opportunity, so we can continue to open additional terrain as conditions permit.”

The shops and restaurants in the Village at Northstar will also open Friday, along with the 9,000-square-foot ice rink, which will be open from Noon to 9 p.m. daily.

Northstar California Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort are continuing to make snow when conditions permit in an effort to open the two resorts as soon as possible, weather permitting.

Squaw’s $5 yoga classes benefit body, mind and the High Fives Foundation

The Wanderlust Yoga Studio at Squaw Valley will offer community yoga classes this winter with proceeds to benefit the High Fives Foundation. (Squaw Valley photo)

Wanderlust Yoga Studio at Squaw Valley will offer community yoga classes this winter, with proceeds to benefit the High Fives Foundation. (Squaw Valley photo)

Squaw Valley’s Wanderlust Yoga Studio is bringing back weekly Yoga Squaw’d community classes this winter.

Classes will be held by a different instructor each week and will feature music spun by a DJ. Classes have a requested donation of $5 with all proceeds benefiting the High Fives Foundation. The community yoga classes will be held 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday through April 30 in the Wanderlust Yoga Studio, located in The Village at Squaw Valley.

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to help the community get healthy while supporting a local nonprofit,” said Jamie Ebert, manager of the Wanderlust Yoga Studio. “Because the community classes will continue throughout the entire ski season, we are striving to have a significant impact in helping The High Fives Foundation further their great work in the community.”

The High Fives Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for athletes who have experienced a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in winter action sports. To date, the organization has helped 51 athletes since its inception in 2009.

The suggested donation to participate in the community yoga class is $5, but participants can donate more if desired.

Squaw Valley takes Thanksgiving dinner to new heights

Thanksgiving dinner with a view is on the menu at Squaw Valley. (Squaw Valley photo)

Thanksgiving dinner with a view is on the menu at The Terrace, one of Squaw Valley’s mountaintop restaurants. (Squaw Valley photo)

Turkey all the trimmings will be part of Squaw Valley’s Thanksgiving dinner at High Camp on Nov. 28. Guests can ride the resort’s scenic aerial tram up 2,000 vertical feet to feast at The Terrace, one of High Camp’s mountaintop restaurants, while taking in panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The buffet-style dinner will include traditional dishes such as sage roasted turkey, honey roasted ham, garlic mashed potatoes, herb stuffing, homemade cranberries and sweet potato casserole. The Thanksgiving dinner consists of two seatings, the first at 1 p.m., the second at 4 p.m. Seating is still available for the 1 p.m. dinner.

Reservations for the Thanksgiving buffet are $39 for adults and $29 for kids 12 and younger. Prices do not include aerial tram tickets for the ride up to High Camp, which can be purchased for $32 for adults and $10 for kids. Those with a season pass or lift ticket for the day can ride the tram for free.

To work up an appetite, there’s skiing and snowboarding on Squaw’s legendary slopes, along with ice skating at the resort’s mountaintop skating rink.

Squaw Valley opens for the 2013-14 winter season on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Information: www.squaw.com