Lake Tahoe resorts score big during the holidays

By Bob Goligoski

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.

Squaw Valley opens 3 glades by removing trees

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

Squaw Valley has removed more than 5,000 dead or diseased trees from its lower mountain enabling it to open three new glade area for skiers and snowboarders.

About 100 acres of new terrain was added to the slopes with the addition of the three new tree skiing areas – Red Dog Glades, Paris Glades and Heidi’s Glades.

The tree removal project, which employed the use of helicopters to remove the trees, also added a new connector trail off the Champs Elysees run to give skiers and riders easy access into the new glades.

All the new terrain, rated upper-intermediate to expert, is in the Red Dog region of the resort. Access into the area previously had been very limited because of the dense population of standing or fallen trees.

“The current drought and the King Fire bring into sharp focus the issue of forest health and how it affects our community right here in Squaw,” said Peter Bansen, Squaw Valley fire chief.

“Thinning provided valuable benefits by effectively utilizing the available water for the most viable trees and the removal of dead or diseased trees dramatically reduced the risk of fire,” Bransen said.

He added, “While this work was expensive for a private landowner, our community will benefit from Squaw’s investment in fuels reduction and forest health and I commend the company for doing the right thing.”

Most of the trees were processed for timber use and other tree material was chipped for further use at the resort. By using helicopters for the work, there was no need to skid or drag the fallen trees along the ground in sensitive areas, thus minimizing adverse environmental impact.

“Our goal was to return the forested areas in the Red Dog region back to a more natural and healthy state by removing potentially dangerous overgrowth and deadfall. Although the project was costly, it was worth the investment to improve the environment while also improving skiing and riding at the resort,” said Mike Livak, executive vice president of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows.

Snow alert! Storm brings powder to Tahoe resorts with more on the way

 

A skier glides through the trees at Squaw Valley, where the slopes are expected to receive another 2 feet of snow by Thursday. (Squaw Valley photo)

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.

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.

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 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.

#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: www.skialpine.com

Squaw Valley will be open through Sunday. Info: http://squaw.com

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

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: http://squaw.com and www.skialpine.com

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.

Information: http://tahoetruckeeearthday.com

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

Mammoth Mountain, Lake Tahoe have more of what is wanted: fresh snow

Mammoth Mountain will have 100 percent of its terrain available for skiing and snowboarding this weekend. (Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)

Mammoth Mountain will have 100 percent of its terrain available for skiing and snowboarding this weekend. (Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)

By Jerry Rice

The calendar says “April,” but it’s looking a lot more like winter – finally – at Mammoth Mountain and resorts in the Lake Tahoe area.

Mammoth received 18 inches of fresh powder this week and more than 36 inches since March 26. At Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley’s seven-day snow total is 47 inches, and at Northstar California, about six miles north of of the lake, the resort welcomed 34 inches of new snow during the last several days – just in time for this weekend’s Spring It On! festival and pond skim contest.

“We’ve received so much fresh snow just before some of our most anticipated spring events, which means phenomenal skiing and riding and added excitement to this weekend’s festivities,” said Bill Rock, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Northstar.

Back at Mammoth, the new snow means a special on-mountain experience.

“Lift lines are typical for this time of the year, and skiers are able to spread out due to 100 percent of the terrain being open,” said Tim LeRoy, resort spokesman.

For more information, visit…
www.mammothmountain.com
www.northstarcalifornia.com
http://squaw.com

Squaw Valley’s 1960 Olympic Museum has new memorabilia, other updates

Squaw Valley’s recently renovated Olympic Museum at High Camp is open once again and features newly acquired Olympic memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley, as well as a fresh new look.

The mountain-top Olympic Museum tells the story of the 1960 Winter Games – starting from the beginning with the Olympic proposal, to photos, videos and memorabilia from the historic Games. The 1960 Olympics transformed winter sports in the western U.S. and are notable as the first Winter Games to be fully televised, as well as the first to use a computer to tabulate scores.

Historical items new to the museum include the original vinyl recording of the music performed during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games at Squaw Valley, and the clock that hung in Blyth Arena during the 1960 Olympics.

Other mementos on display include: one of the original proposals for the Winter Games by Squaw Valley founder Alex Cushing, authentic Team USA uniforms from the 1960 Olympics, and a waitress uniform from the Olympic Village Lodge where the athletes dined during the Olympic Games – the first and only time in Olympic history all the athletes dined together under one roof. In addition, the museum has received a complete renovation that includes new paint, carpet, furniture and fixtures.

The Olympic Museum is located at the top of Aerial Tram at High Camp and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free with a lift ticket or Aerial Tram ticket. Click here for more information about Squaw Valley’s Olympic history.