Finally, a healthy snowfall with 10 days until Mammoth opens for winter

Mammoth Lakes welcomed about a foot of new snow over the weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time because Mammoth Mountain Ski Area opens for the winter in 10 days. Peter Morning braved the cold to take some great pics of the white stuff coming down. A sampling…

Mammoth's snow-making operations get a helping hand from Mother Nature at the Broadway Express lift.

Mammoth’s snow-making operations get help from Mother Nature at the Broadway Express lift.

Resort's iconic mammoth is covered in white.

Resort’s iconic mammoth is covered in white.

A building is there there somewhere.

A building must be in there somewhere.

Time for a selfie.

Gotta take a selfie.

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.

Vail Resorts create new programs for women

Despite making up over half the population of the United States, women only make up 40 percent of alpine skiers and only 32 percent of snowboarders according to participation data from SnowSports Industries America (SIA).

Vail Resorts, the world’s leading mountain resort operator, announced a new company initiative to increase women’s participation in skiing and snowboarding.  Vail Resorts created a number of new programs and products, available for the 2014-15 winter ski and ride season.

  • Vail Resorts’ Ski & Ride Schools will offer the Women’s Ultimate 4, a lesson for women where they can join fellow women and a female coach to learn or brush up on skiing in a small-group setting, from the foundation-building basics of a “first-timer” class (open to all), to navigating the easiest greens, to sharing tactics and camaraderie on mountain green and blue runs. Women’s Ultimate 4 lessons will be offered at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe.
  • Select resort Ski & Ride Schools will also offer four-hour lessons for women, providing ample time for the drop-off and pick-up times of their kids’ lessons, as well as “Mommy & Me” lessons, where instructors spend time with the mother and the child, reviewing what the child is working on and providing tips on how to continue to develop the child’s skills.
  • The comments also spurred Vail Resorts to create Prima, a personalized concierge service to assist with every aspect of the vacation experience for the company’s most loyal Brazilian guests of Vail and Beaver Creek.

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 skiheavenly.com/winterignite.

Japanese ski resorts gearing up for new season

Japan National Tourism Organization promotes Winter Sports

 


Niseko Resort, Hokkaido

 

Japan is home to some of the best snow on Earth, with famous skiing/snowboarding resorts throughout HokkaidoTohoku, and the Hokuriku regions. Nagano and neighboring Niigata prefecture are famous winter sports locations that are only a 2-3 hour train ride away from Tokyo.

Don’t forget Niseko in Hokkaidoa skier’s paradise with its steep slopes and breathtaking views! JNTO also has a listing of all ski resorts within Japan for your reference.

 


Shirakawa- go, Gifu Prefecture

 


Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture

Mt. High bringing 20 tons of snow to Huntington Beach Saturday

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Join Mountain High Resort for the Grand Opening of Jack’s Snowboard Shop at 410 Main St., Huntington Beach.  We’re bringing 20 Tons of snow to the beach for a snowboard rail jam and demo  on Saturday from noon to  4pm.  The rail jam is invitation only.  If you would like to participate please contact Todd Proffit 

Giveaways and raffles all day including snowboards from Lib-Tech and Capita.  Walk the vendor village and score swag from Volcom, Burton, Von Zipper, Neff, Thrity Two, and more.

Pick up your 14/15 Season Pass or purchase it on site and get $200+ in additional benefits including a FREE Buddy Ticket ($69 value).

Save up to 70% on all your favorite brands.  Buy a 2015 snowboard and get a FREE lift ticket to Mountain High ($69 Value).  Bring your board or skis in for a tuneup and get ready for the 14/15 season.  Winter is coming!

Foresight Ski Guides get grant to help visually impaired skiers

Foresight Ski Guides, a non-profit that pairs volunteer ski guides with visually impaired skiers was recently the recipient of a grant from the Daniels Fund.

Foresight Ski Guides will use its Daniels Fund grant to further its goal of providing visually impaired skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to experience a great day on the slopes.

“We are so grateful to be chosen to receive this very generous grant from the Daniels Fund,” says Foresight Ski Guides Founder Mark G. Davis.

A lifelong skier who lost his functional vision, Davis started Foresight after he relearned skiing and discovered the challenge of “skiing blind” as an experience that lifted grief and depression, bringing renewed passion and confidence to his life.

“I want to share the transformative experience of skiing with as many people in the visually impaired community as possible,” says Davis. “The Daniels Fund grant will be incredibly helpful in continuing Foresight’s mission.”

This funding provided through the grant will help Foresight to continue to provide visually impaired snow athletes with everything they need, including a personalized itinerary for their snow sport trip to the slopes, an on-site greeter, specially trained, experienced ski guides, a lift ticket, top of the line equipment, ground transportation to the slopes and lodging assistance. The grant will also aid Foresight in recruiting more volunteers to work as guides.

Dedicated to making world-class skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country touring both affordable and accessible to visually impaired and blind skiers, Foresight Ski Guides provides recreational opportunities in the Colorado Rockies at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Foresight Ski Guides, Inc. is a Colorado corporation with tax exempt, non-profit status as outlined in Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information regarding Foresight Ski Guides, call 303-506-3859, visit www.foresightskiguides.org or follow Foresight Ski Guides on Facebook andTwitter.

Mountain High continues operation in national monument

Mountain High operates on the Angeles National Forest through a Special Use Permit issued and managed by the US Forest Service.  Despite the new designation as a national monument, the US Forest Service will remain the managing governmental agency.

Under the new designation there will be no changes to the current rules and regulations that govern ski areas or the management of Mountain High’s existing Special Use Permit.  The resort will be able to renew its lease as usual at the end of the term and the Special User Permit would be reissued if the resort was sold.

“The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument protects water rights, fire management, private property, and rights of way. It does not limit or prohibit any form of recreation. That means the recreational activities people already enjoy in the mountains – like winter sports – will remain available for all our communities to enjoy. This includes important and cherished winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding,” says Rep. Judy Chu.

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.

Lindsey Vonn kicks off new Ski Girls Rock at Mt. Brighton

U.S. Olympic gold medalist and World Cup alpine ski champion Lindsey Vonn comes to Mt. Brighton Saturday, Oct. 25 to kick off the upcoming ski and snowboard season and introduce her new “Ski Girls Rock” program, including an exclusive training session with locals girls and the 2014 state champion Brighton High School Girls MHSAA Ski Team.

Vonn, who packed the house last fall during her first Mt. Brighton appearance, returns to introduce Ski Girls Rock, which will debut at Mt. Brighton this winter. The program for girls ages seven to teen, was inspired and designed by Vonn herself and will be led by Mt. Brighton female instructors.

It focuses not only on improving skiing technique, but also empowering girls through the sport and building students’ confidence while developing friendships, teamwork and social skills.

Vonn has chosen to bring this previously Vail- and Beaver Creek-exclusive program to Vail Resorts’ Michigan and Minnesota ski areas – Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps – because of her ties growing up skiing in the Midwest and knowing how important youth development programs are to the local community.

Vonn will personally meet with ski instructors at Mt. Brighton to prepare them to teach this unique girl-focused program and conduct a private preseason “dry land” training session with girls registered for one of the four Ski Girls Rock sessions, as well as the Brighton High School State Champion Girls Ski Team.

At the base of Mt. Brighton’s ski slopes Vonn and the Mt. Brighton instructors will give the girls instruction on proper warm-up exercise techniques – the same types of exercises Vonn employs in advance of her global ski race season.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the season at Mt. Brighton than introducing girls from the local community to Ski Girls Rock with a pre-season workout alongside their local state girls ski champions.” said Vonn. “I’ll get to meet Mt. Brighton’s ski instructors who will be teaching Ski Girls Rock this winter to discuss how sports empower girls and helps them build confidence while developing friendships, teamwork and social skills.”

Growing up in the Midwest and getting her start in alpine ski racing at an urban ski area similar to Mt. Brighton, Vonn’s heartfelt message will get those in attendance excited for another epic season of skiing and snowboarding at the iconic Livingston County ski area.

“Lindsey Vonn’s appearance here last fall was the perfect way to kick-off our first season of Mt. Brighton being part of the Vail Resorts’ family and a place, quite literally, where Epic begins,” said Mt. Brighton General Manager Taylor Ogilvie. “Having Lindsey come back to Mt. Brighton this year to personally introduce Ski Girls Rock, which previously was only offered at Vail and Beaver Creek, is a true testament as to how Mt. Brighton’s Ski & Ride School offers Vail Resorts’ world-renowned instruction here locally in Michigan.”

Following her private Ski Girls Rock training session and meet and greet, Vonn will meet with the public, for autographs and likely a few selfies, too!

“Last year was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to returning to Mt. Brighton,” said Vonn. “I will get to meet with girls of all ages at this event and I can’t help but see some of myself in them.”

Who | Lindsey Vonn, Mt. Brighton Ski Instructors, 2014-2015 Mt. Brighton Ski Girls Rock program participants and Brighton High School Girls MHSAA State Champion Ski Team
Where | Mt. Brighton, 4141 Bauer Road, Brighton, MI 48116
When | Saturday, October 25
Time | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Private warm-up session with Lindsey, Ski Girls Rock participants (see below to sign-up and get access to this session; space is limited) and the 2014 state champion Brighton High School Girls MHSAA Ski Team
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Lindsey Vonn autograph session open to the public
Bonus! Girls who participate in Ski Girls Rock at Mt. Brighton will be entered for a chance to win a trip to Vonn’s end-of-season Ski Girls Rock party in Vail, Colo.!

Ski Girls Rock will be offered at Mt. Brighton on four different holiday weekends this season: Dec. 21-23, 26-28, Jan. 17-19, and Feb. 14-16. Pricing for the three day program is $267 and includes lift ticket, lesson and lunch. For season pass holders, the program is offered for $207 including lesson and lunch.

Mt. Brighton is part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, offering unlimited, unrestricted skiing and snowboarding at 12 resorts, which also include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Canyons, Park City, Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Afton Alps, as well as five consecutive days each at Niseko United in Japan, Verbier, Switzerland and Les 3 Vallées, France.

To sign up for Ski Girls Rock and gain access to the Oct. 25 Lindsey Vonn private warm-up session visit the “Winter” – “Kids Lessons” page at www.mtbrighton.com or call: (810) 229-9581. Note that space is limited.