Sans fresh pow, Snow Summit shifts from boarding to biking.

After storing skis and snowboards in the attic, at Snow Summit it's time to break out the mountain bikes. (Snow Summit photo)

After storing skis and snowboards in the attic, at Snow Summit it’s time to break out the mountain bikes. (Snow Summit photo)

Snow Summit will open its renowned bike park for the 2014 summer season on Friday, making it the first lift-serviced bike park to open this year in North America.

“We can’t wait to kick off another great summer season at Snow Summit Bike Park,” said Chris Riddle, vice president of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “We’re excited to be the first bike park to open for the season, and we’ll be one of the last to close. It’s going to be a long, fun season here at Snow Summit.”

The resort’s inaugural Summer Kickoff Party will be held on Saturday. The bash will transform the base area at Snow Summit into a Vendor Booth City, featuring dozens of brands like Troy Lee Designs, Five Ten, Smith Optic, Ryders Eyewear, Marin Bikes, Freestyle USA, and Trek. DJ Slip Matt will be spinning from the Red Bull MXT, and guests can enjoy raffles, prizes and product giveaways all day. Drink specials will be available for the 21 and older crowd.

The Snow Summit Trail Crew and Gravity Logic are preparing new features and trail designs, including a re-routing of the Westridge Trail. A new, top-to-bottom beginner trail is set to open by July 4.

Mountain bikers can enjoy dozens of downhill and cross-country trails, as well as new features that will change throughout the season.

Summertime season passes for the bike park are available for $279.

Other summertime activities including hiking, sightseeing, and the Scenic Sky Chair. Guests can take in breathtaking views at 8,200 feet from the Scenic Sky Chair and spend the day enjoying the outdoors, wildlife, and fresh mountain air while hiking Snow Summit’s many trails. Or, guests can take a break from the action and relax with games, delicious barbecue, and panoramic mountain views from the View Haus restaurant located atop Snow Summit.

The Sport Shop also will be open with a great selection of summer gear and accessories.

Information: www.bigbearmountainresorts.com/summer

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.) >>>

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.

Information: www.sugarbowl.com/seasonpass

Park City Adventures: Main Street offers many interesting sights

By Correspondent Marlene Greer

Take a stroll down Park City’s historic Main Street and you can’t miss Loosey the Moose all dressed up in her finest, the intriguing wind sculptures, the wonderful Park City Museum, and the chairlift where you can take a ride up to Park City Mountain Resort.

The Park City Museum is housed in the former city hall and territorial jail built in 1885. It tells the story of the city’s silver mining heritage and its transition to a ski resort.

Visitors can climb into an old mining cage and feel what it was like to be transported miles underground and explore the life of a miner. The many exhibits, historical artifacts, interactive displays and running documentaries will keep you busy for a good hour or two.

One fascinating tidbit was how two miners started the area’s first ski resort. But to get to the hill, skiers had to ride a mining car three miles underground, then step into a mining cage to ascend 1,800 feet to the surface. The trip took an hour.

It was snowing the day we wandered around town, so we couldn’t take in more than a quick glimpse of the many sculptures and outdoor artworks along Main Street.

We spotted the well-dressed and primped Loosey, a bear on a bench in case a visitor wanted to snuggle for a photo and a very realistic looking Native-American ready to let fly with an arrow.

There were also many intricately patterned metal windmills, the work of world-renown artist Lyman Whitaker, who for 30 years has been “gracefully capturing the spirit of the wind through his kinetic art.”

There are a dozen or more art galleries along Main Street, showcasing a variety of work from local and nationally known artists. Several have an emphasis on Western art and feature painted and sculpted bison, horses and bears, and canvases of pastures, wranglers and beautiful alpine autumns.

But there are also the wild and wacky, the delicate glassworks and the Hollywood icons.

Park City Adventure: History lines the ski runs on Park City Mountain

By Staff Writer Richard Irwin

We often stopped to read the signs about the historic mining buildings lining some of the ski runs at Park City Mountain resort.

Visitors can take a free guided historic mountain tour and learn the history behind Park City. Tour guides provide a wealth of knowledge, as well as fun stories of how the runs got their names and behind-the-scenes vignettes from the 2002 Olympics.

Here are some fun facts you’ll learn:

• $450 million in silver was mined at Park City Mountain from 1,200 miles of tunnels.

• Park City’s silver mines produced 25 millionaires.

The tour is offered 10 a.m. daily at the Eagle Statue in the plaza or at the Summit Demo Center at 1:30 p.m.

A light snow started in the morning and would continue off and on for the rest of the day. Not a heavy Sierra snow, but the fine, dry snow that Utah is famous for. Its flakes were just big enough to sting your face if you took off your face mask.

Shooting by a terrain park we saw several boarders trying their luck on the jumps. Park City has three parks, including Eagle superpipe and Merrill minipipe.

Late in the day, we caught some high winds at the summit, but it was fine once you skied down into the valleys. It turned out to be another great day in our Park City adventure.

Park City Adventure: Park City Mountain offers 3,300 acres of skiing

By Staff Writer Richard Irwin

Park City Mountain offers 3,300 acres of skiing. There are also nine, count them nine, bowls with 750 acres. That’s a lot of territory to cover, and coverage was excellent when we arrived in February.

We decided to warm up on Homerun, which turns out to be the longest trail, measuring 3 1/2 miles. Quite the warm-up.

Park City actually has 114 trails, with more than half listed as intermediate, while 31 percent are advanced.

The snow was a fine powder as we schussed under cloudy skies. At times, a pale white sun would barely pierce the cloudy veil, lending a cold, bleak light. But the skiing was hot.

As in our visits to other Park City ski resorts that week, there were hardly any lift lines. Park City has a total of 16 lifts, including four high speed six-packs and three high speed quads.

The mountain boasts a total uphill capacity of 31,000 skiers an hour, which would be tested on President’s Day that weekend with every hotel room booked solid.

But we beat the rush and could ski as much as we wanted. We were often alone on our own section of the mountain.

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

Park City Adventure: Park City Mountain celebrating 50 years

By Staff Writer Richard Irwin 

It’s not often that a chairlift will drop you off in the middle of town. But then, Park City, Utah, is a special place, where skiers take their sport very seriously.

So we laughed as we watched skiers and snowboarders jump on the town lift to take them up the hill to the huge Park City Mountain Resort. Must be nice to catch a few runs after school, which more than a few students looked like they were doing. Skiers originally traveled underground through a mine shaft to a hoist, where they were lifted 1,400 feet to the mountain. Now you can just jump on the city chairlift.

We had a little bit of everything at the ski resort, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Wind, snow, fog — but we still had a great time exploring this Utah ski resort nestled up against the city with the same name.

We met up with our group at the Eagle Statue in the lovely resort plaza at the base of the mountain. It looks great with shops, restaurants and services on the first floor and lodging on several floors above.

Canyons Resort is great for intermediate and advanced skiers in Park City, Utah

By Correspondent Marlene Greer

The Canyons is immense and glorious for intermediate and advanced skiers, with so much variety of terrain to choose from, it’s not to be done in one day. At least not for me and my group of nine.

But there’s not much at Canyons for beginners. Just 10 percent of the trails are marked green, and those trails cover little of the ski area’s vast territory.

The Canyons, one of the three major ski resorts in Park City, Utah, is four miles from downtown Park City and 32 miles from the Salt Lake City Airport. Several shuttle services offer transportation from the airport to the resort and to Park City for a reasonable price. Free public buses from Park City run all day between Park City and Canyons.

If you like to ski groomers and opt to try Canyons on your own without a guide, pick up the daily grooming report at the base lodge. It’s invaluable.

Great guide leads us to best spots in Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah

Our mountain guide gave us great tips to ski better. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

Our mountain guide gave us great tips to ski better. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

By Correspondent Marlene Greer

When I’m not familiar with a ski area and I’m by myself, I like to sign up for a guided mountain tour. Canyons offers one daily at 10:30 a.m.

For me, a guided tour is a good way to get around and get to know the mountain without landing on a mogul minefield or finding myself looking over an abyss, thinking, “What am I doing here?”

Mountain guides know which runs are groomed and which runs are suitable that particular day for their group. I find the tours enjoyable and informative. Plus, I get to meet people from all over the world.

Our group of nine was a joyful band of good skiers who wanted to take it easy. No big bowls, no trees and definitely no moguls. Just nice, easy cruisers with good pitch and maybe some powder on the side.

We were a group of West Coasters — California, Oregon and Washington. Seems we were all fleeing the dry conditions in the West for the more favorable Utah snow.

Fortunately, we were graced with a fresh dusting of it — 6 inches of snow fell the day and night before, leaving a blush of powder over hard-packed groomed.

We wanted to see as much of the area as possible — boundary to boundary, as one skier in our group put it. A hardy task given the ski resort covers nine peaks and five bowls with 4,000 skiable acres and counts itself among the largest ski areas in the nation.

Roger Seaborn, our affable Australian tour guide, however, was unflappable. He took our request seriously. This was no tour for slackers.

With 182 trails to choose from, we got busy. With Roger leading the way, we managed to find one or two of the best blues, groomed double blues, and a bit of powder off each lift, skiing nearly end to end and top to bottom throughout the resort.

For those in the group who wanted a challenge here and there, Roger would stop on a run and point out another way down and we would all meet up at the bottom.

One place we skipped was the double-black terrain off the resort’s notorious Ninety-Nine 90 Express (so called because it rises to the resort’s highest elevation at 9,990 feet). This is expert-only terrain. Roger told us a couple of out-of-bounds skiers had triggered an avalanche on a bowl just outside the resort’s boundary only two days before.

Roger is also a certified instructor. Though it wasn’t part of the program, he offered ski tips to anyone in the group open to suggestions and improvement, which was all of us.

“Marlene, it’s your turn. Get in behind me,” he called out just as we were making our way off the Orange Bubble Express and down yet another nice groomer. “I want you to follow my tracks.”

Easier requested then accomplished. Roger was trying to get me to work on more rounded — and more graceful — turns. Others in the group he instructed to bend more at the knees, roll the ankles and lean more forward. I think the instructor in him just couldn’t help himself.

If he saw one of us doing something, he first asked permission in a nice way if you minded a little instruction — then proceeded to offer his advice, which we greatly appreciated.