Photo By: Jeff Engerbretson/ Special to the Town Crier
Snow conditions are ideal after a series of storms blanketed the High Sierra last month.
With some Lake Tahoe ski and snowboard areas reporting up to 8 feet of new snow from a series of storms that plastered the High Sierra over the Christmas holiday, most resorts are now up and running at full speed. The massive dump of the fluffy white stuff produced the second snowiest Christmas on record, and the cheers from ski and boarding operators could be heard from Truckee to Los Altos.
Ski Tahoe North’s Interchangeable Lift Ticket is accepted nearly every day of the season at six alpine ski resorts: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mount Rose, Diamond Peak, Homewood and Sugar Bowl. That’s a week’s worth of good fun in the snow right there. Here are some highlights.
• Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley joined forces in November 2011, bringing the two ski resorts under common ownership. Combined they offer more than 6,000 acres of terrain, enough to bring tears of joy to everyone from beginners to blasters. Skiers and riders can access 43 lifts and 270 trails at Squaw and Alpine Meadows on one lift ticket or season pass. Outside Magazine named Squaw Valley the No. 1 Resort in North America.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have brought back the Tahoe Super 4 Pack, offering four unrestricted days of skiing and riding for the winter season. Tickets are $329 for adults, $169 for kids 12 and under, and $279 for young adults and seniors. The package is good for any day of the season, with no blackout dates.
Alpine also has opened a new terrain park – Firing Line – the longest in the Lake Tahoe area. Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, has added a new six-passenger, high-speed lift rising to the Shirley Lake ridgeline with easy access to the Shirley Lake, Solitude and Granite Chief chairs.
Alpine Meadows, with its high average annual snowfall of 450 inches, boasts one of Lake Tahoe’s longest skiing and boarding seasons.
For more information, visit www.skialpine.com or www.squaw.com.
• Diamond Peak, the Incline Village favorite of families, has added a new children’s terrain area – Pete’s Playground – aimed at teaching youngsters about safety on the slopes. The resort also invested in 20 percent more snowmaking equipment to lengthen its season.
For more information, visit www.diamondpeak.com.
• Mount Rose expanded its teaching area. The resort offers special lift ticket rates for college students ($49 midweek) and military ($39). This is the nearest ski area to Reno.
For more information, visit www.mtrose.com.
• Northstar, long known as an outstanding intermediate ski and boarding area, now offers some advanced terrain for the adventurous.
Skiers and boarders have access to Sawtooth Ridge via snowcat. Guided backcountry will also tickle the fancy of those who want to get outside the resort boundary (off piste). On the other hand, children 3-6 can learn to snowboard at a park designed by Jake Burton.
For more information, visit www.northstarattahoe.com.
• For the luxury-minded, the mid-mountain Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe features ski-in, ski-out access, paired with exceptional lodging and cuisine for those ready to indulge in a sophisticated mountain retreat.
For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/LakeTahoe.
• A longtime Bay Area favorite, Sugar Bowl, has agreed to assume management of the neighboring Royal Gorge cross-country area. The Donner Summit resort is old school, but it offers a high-tech, interactive website that enables guests to view various runs top to bottom before they take them down. Skiers and riders with helmet-mounted cameras provide a filmed preview.
For more information, visit www.sugarbowl.com.
For more information on North Lake Tahoe, visit gotahoenorth.com.
Los Altos resident Glen Putman is a freelance writer.