It might have been raining across much of Northern California, but last week’s storm brought snow to North Lake Tahoe ski resorts – more than 3.5 feet of the white stuff, making for a great ski weekend.
You just never know how these storms are going to play out. But Mother Nature cooperated and we’ve got new snow on the mountains!
With a base elevation of 8,260 feet, Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe welcomed 45 inches of snow throughout the series of storms and has received a total of 100 inches of snowfall to date. On Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort at an elevation of 6,883 feet is reporting storm totals of 44 inches. Squaw Valley’s upper mountain at 8,200 feet got 42 inches of snow.
Reservations are not required, but participants should arrive early. Lesson packages can be purchased at each individual resort the day of lessons. Students should contact resorts directly for resort-specific information. Some restrictions apply. Resorts not open December 8-9 may offer a Learn to Ski Weekend later in the season.
Summer officially kicks off in North Lake Tahoe Memorial Day Weekend with the 6th Annual Opening Day at the Lake. This four-day special event is Friday, May 25 to Monday, May 28, and will be a slew of celebrations and festivities along the West Shore and the North Tahoe region.
It’s the official launch into the North Tahoe boating and summer season. The first days of summer bring a buzz of excitement and festivities will be sure to capture that. People are eager to get outside and enjoy themselves. Whether it’s on the water, on the beaches or taking part in other seasonal events, it’s a great time of year to explore North Lake Tahoe.
Another noteworthy anniversary is Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet, which celebrates 35 years this summer. The restaurant will donate complimentary continental breakfasts for early risers assisting in the West Shore Clean Up Day Friday, May 25 at 8 a.m. Also opening for the season is Swiss Lakewood Restaurant in Homewood, which has graced the West Shore for more than 50 years.
Jeff McKittrick in the Red Dog area. February 13, 2012. Photo: Hank deVre at Squaw Valley.
North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are reporting up to two feet of new snow which is perfect conditions leading up to President’s Day Weekend. So check out these updates for the weekend and head on up to visit us.
Resorts and Towns’ Update: North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are offering great ski deals. Check out Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadow’sTahoe Super 2, which offers two unrestricted days of skiing and riding at either resort for just $49 per day. This is a limited time offer, available through Friday, February 17.
The Rat Pack is coming home! The Cal Neva Resort & Spa in Crystal Bay, a historic playground for legendary singer and business operator Frank Sinatra and friends, is hosting “The Rat Pack: A Tribute Live from Vegas” Friday, February 17, 8 p.m. Tickets are $27/person the day of the show.
Northstar California is offering its popular First Tracks program Saturday, February 18. Guests meet at 7:30 a.m. with guides accompanying them to the Tahoe Zephyr Express to the top of Backside and Lookout Mountain with runs to themselves before the lifts open to the public. Cost is $80/person and includes a full breakfast. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.
PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn in Olympic Valley continues its Winter Winemaker Series Thursday, February 23, 5:30-9:30 p.m., with Bardessono Vineyards. Guests can mingle with the winemaker and enjoy sips by the glass, flight or paired with PlumpJack’s special Chef’s Tasting Menu.
Mother Nature is making up for a late arrival with 1 to 2 feet of new snow falling at North Lake Tahoe ski resorts’ upper elevations over the last two days.
According to meteorologists, the storm door has opened with a series of systems lined up and a possible six feet of snow falling above 8,000 feet by Monday. Can you say, “righteous!”
“North Lake Tahoe ski resorts have done a stellar job cranking the snow machines around the clock,” said Chief Marketing Officer Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association. “It’s great to have Mother Nature lending a hand.”
Snow removal crews are making it easy for you to get up here too. Crews have been hired to keep the roads clear throughout the storm system making way for skiers and riders eager to catch all the fresh POW.
North Lake Tahoe lodging, restaurants, retail and non-ski activity providers are also gearing up…just for you.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get it to!
The Squeeze In has been pleasing kids since 1974. Kids get toy baskets, get to write on the walls, have a special menu and are treated like actual guests at the Squeeze In home. Order their rockin’ hot cocoa piled high with whipped cream and sprinkles. It’s a winner every time, along with the signature Teddy Bear Pancake! A bear shaped smile for every kid, young and old!
At the Tahoe House, kids feel right at home by the cozy fire, with loaner crayons, colorings books and plastic and wooden toys – all of which keeps them busy as they wolf down their bagel. Family owned and operated since 1977, the Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet features baked breads and pastries, the “best coffee on the lake,” sandwiches and much more!
Tubing, Sledding, Snow Play!!
Granlilbakken Granlibakken ski area features a groomed snowplay area with rental saucers for sledding. Open daily, weather permitting.
Snowtubing at Squaw Valley USA Squaw’s tubing park at the Papoose Learning Center offers two tubing lanes for varying thrill levels. Open daily, weather permitting.
Sledding and Tubing at Soda Springs Winter Resort Currently only open on weekends, at Soda Springs you can sled and tube! Sledding lanes, tubing lanes and a Little Dipper children’s area provide a variety of thrill and fun for adults and children alike.
Olympic Ice Pavilion Enjoy scenic views of the Lake while skating atop Squaw Valley on an Olympic-size rink at High Camp recreation complex. Open 11am – 9pm during the winter season. Rentals, lessons available.
Ice Skating Rink at the Resort at Squaw Creek Skate on the Resort at Squaw Creek’s own private rink with heated waterfalls, hot tubs, a pool and the peaks of Squaw Valley as a backdrop. Rentals available. Open December to April.
Truckee Ice Skating Rink The Truckee rink features skate rentals, a snack bar, group and private lessons for all age groups taught by experienced instructors, broomball leagues, and more.
These are just a handful of the family opportunities up in North Lake Tahoe right now. What are your favorite family activities?
So what do you do when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver fresh powder? You make it.
North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are blowing millions of gallons of snow this season, creating a solid base that has most resorts open for some solid skiing and riding.
Northstar-at-Tahoe is open top-to-bottom (that’s 2,280 vertical feet) due to significant improvements in snowmaking – 11 lifts, 19 trails and tons of acres for beginners, intermediates and advanced winter enthusiasts. This North Shore resort currently has the most open ski resort terrain in the Lake Tahoe region, and plans to open Martis Camp Express this Saturday, which will provide access to Lookout Mountain.
Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Pinball Park, which offers a wide variety of jibs and snow features with everything from street rails to boxes along with tabletops, step-downs, hips and rollers, is also open with 31 features available.
Boreal Mountain Resort was the first resort to open in California, opening for business October 28, and also offers top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding.
Credit by Boreal Mountain Resort
So far, Borealhas blown more than 32 million gallons of snow this season – that’s an all-time record for the resort. It only took over 500 hours with an automated Snow Machines Inc. gun system. It cost $2.5 million over the past three years, but this has actually saved 40% of their snowmaking operation costs annually and reduced carbon output by 300 tons annually.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort(originally Ski Incline) was the first ski resort in the West to have snowmaking, which has come a long way since its opening in 1966. Over the past 11 years, Diamond Peak has continuously upgraded it snowmaking system.
Cold temperatures over the last month have allowed them to produce snow in record amounts and open with top-to-bottom skiing and riding a week earlier than expected. They plan to have five out of six lifts available by Christmas with or without natural snow.
Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe probably wouldn’t have been able to open without snowmaking, but the resort pulled through with the Northwest Magnum lifts and Ponderosa lifts turning 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily accessing the Kit Carson Traverse, Kit Carson Bowl and Ponderosa Trails. Luckily with cooler temperatures this week, the resort was able to operate snow guns practically non-stop and are planning to get the Flying Jenny surface lift and more trails on the Ponderosa lift open by next weekend.
Credit by Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, near Borealon Donner Summit, has taken advantage of the recent cold temperatures running their snow guns 24 hours a day, resulting in the opening of additional terrain at the resort. Starting Saturday, December 17, Sugar Bowl will operate seven days a week. The resort will spin Jerome Hill Express, Nob Hill, Christmas Tree Express and White Pine this coming weekend, providing sufficient terrain for all levels of ability. Sugar Bowl also plans to open the Caboose Terrain Park this weekend, with medium and large features accessible via the Emigrant Gap run.
If you’re new to skiing and snowboarding you can shorten the learning curve at North Lake Tahoe’s resorts during the 12th Annual Learn to Ski and Board Weekend December 10-11. Geared towards beginners, it costs only $30 and includes an all-day beginner lift ticket, group lesson, and gear rental.
Reservations are not required, but plan to arrive early. You can purchase lesson packages at each individual resort the day of lessons. And, click on the links above to get resort-specific information.
Some restrictions apply, and resorts not open December 10-11 due to early conditions may offer a Learn to Ski Weekend later in the season when weather permits. We’ll be sure to post details if that happens.
If you’re heading in from out of town be sure to check Cool Deals for great lodging, dining and activity deals.
We mentioned a lot of the ski/board resort improvements in our last update, but we’ve picked up a few more in the past week that we’d like to share.
Granlibakken, which has an intimate, beginner ski hill, and lift access to cross country skiing is perfect for those just learning, along with Nordic skiers. New this year is the Lighthouse Spa with a variety of treatments, such as massage therapy, skincare, manicures and pedicures, body waxing and healing treatments. (Photo, right: The sled hill at Granlibakken)
Homewood Mountain Resort, on the West Shore, is the second resort in North America to install the Magnestick chair lift safety technology. (It was introduced at Alpine Meadows last winter.) The Magnestick chair lift safety system keeps kids in place on the lift through an electromagnetic seatback and corresponding magnetic vest worn by child riding a chair lift. When a child reaches the chair lift deboarding platform, the vest is deactivated allowing for a seamless release from the seatback. Magnestick has been installed on the resort’s Quail chairlift, which is adjacent to Homewood’s children center.
On Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort has skiers and riders saving on lift tickets every day of the season with their CORE Daily Pass. The pass, a points-based loyalty and rewards program, offers $15 off all-day rack rate lift ticket for just a $19 annual membership. CORE members also earn points every time they ski and ride, and for every qualifying dollar spent, it can be redeemed for free items across the resort. (Photo, left: Sugar Bowl during an early storm, October 6, 2011)
Whether you want to believe it or not, we’re getting close to ski and board season in North Lake Tahoe. Resorts have been pulling out all the stops with great deals on season passes for several months already. If you’ve yet to purchase a pass or are still undecided on which resort to head to, here are the details on each resort’s season pass program:
Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable Lift Ticket: Ski Tahoe North’s Interchangeable Lift Ticket is accepted at all seven alpine ski resorts, every single day of the season. Use your ticket at a different resort each day, or find your favorite mountain and return over and over again. You can purchase the interchangeable pass to include 3 to 7 days, with prices ranging from $222 to $518. There are no blackout dates and you get 2-for-1 purchasing power at Diamond Peak. The pass is limited to residents of specific zip codes, so check here to see if you qualify.
Alpine Meadows: If you purchased your Alpine Meadows season pass before September 27 your options included a variety of options from Filtered, Slightly Filtered and Unfiltered as well as a Tripl3Threat College Pass covering Alpine, Homewood and nearby Kirkwood. The September 27 announcement of Alpine’s merge with Squaw Valley USA introduced a new slate of pass options under the Tahoe Super Pass, valid at both Squaw and Alpine. Levels are still based on blackout dates and include: Bronze, from $439 for adults, which has some blackout dates as well as no access all Saturdays in January and February. The Silver Pass gives access any day of the week but includes select blackout dates and is $599 for adults. The Gold Pass has unrestricted access to both mountains any day and is $799 for adults. Purchase passes online hereand get details on previously purchased 2011/12 Alpine Season Passes here.
Diamond Peak: Diamond Peak’s no-nonsense season pass plan offers great rates for visitors along with their famous lake views. Current adult pass rates are $454 valid any day or $363 for Monday through Friday only. Rates are also available for seniors from $150, super seniors from $42, children, youth and college students from $125. If you’re a beginner Diamond Peak may be the place for you with their special $109 Beginner Season Pass, valid for the easier Lodgepole and Schoolhouse lifts. Click for details and to purchase.
Homewood Mountain Resort: Like Diamond Peak, Homewood has amazing views of Lake Tahoe that passholders can’t get enough of. Adult rates are $399, senior is $199, and youth passes are $159 – $259 depending on age. Since this resort is partnered with Alpine Meadows, you can also access the slopes at Alpine and Kirkwood if you purchase the Alpine combo season pass. Click here for details on each option.
Granlibakken: While Granlibakken doesn’t offer season pass rates, their daily passes are just $24 for adults and $14 for children under 12. And yes, that’s the full day rate! They also offer the opportunity to buy out an entire ski hill for private parties and corporate team building for just $750/day. Pretty cool. Check out details here.
Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe: Mt. Rose staked a claim for low-priced season passes more than a decade ago and continues to offer great deals. Their Raw pass has just a few blackout dates and covers all age groups for just $199. To avoid blackouts and have a choice of any day to ski check out the unlimited pass at $377 for adults, $255 for seniors, $199 for 13 – 22 and $133 for children. Get the rates and other passholder perks.
Northstar-At-Tahoe: With Northstar’s addition to the Vail Resorts fold season pass options have really unfolded for this year. You can get just the basic Tahoe Value pass for $379 (adult rate) and gain Sunday – Thursday access to Northstar and nearby Heavenly with limited blackout dates. Or, you can upgrade to one of the Epic Pass options, part of the 7-resort Vail system. The Epic 7-Day offers 7 unrestricted tickets valid at any of the 7 mountains for $499 adult or $249 child. If you plan on skiing more than 7 days, consider either the Epic Local Pass ($249 – $499) which includes 11 blackout dates but is otherwise valid daily at any of the 7 resorts, or the Epic Pass ($329 – $649) which again is valid at all 7 resorts but has no date restrictions. Get the full details to purchase.
Sugar Bowl: Sugar Bowl, similar to other resorts, offers passes based on whether you plan to hit the slopes mid-week or any day. The Midweek Plus Passes are valid Monday through Friday with some blackout dates but offers unrestricted access before Christmas and after March 11. Rates range from $299 – $329 based on age. If you like to head up Sundays, consider the Summit Sunday Pass which is basically the Midweek Pass with Sundays included, just $319 – $429 based on age. For even more access consider Slightly Restricted, offering any day of the week and select blackout dates, or the Unrestricted with access any day. Pass rates are $179 – $529 for Slightly Restricted and $209 – $799 for Unrestricted. Evaluate all of the options here.
Squaw Valley USA: Squaw makes season passes buying easy, and now with the acquisition of nearby Alpine Meadows, offers mountain access at both resorts. If you already purchased a season pass at Squaw (except the Squaw Midweek), then it’s valid at Alpine as well. Otherwise, the options for Squaw passes are the same as those for Alpine under the Tahoe Super Pass. See Alpine Meadows above for details. Then, step onto the medal podium here. (Photo credit: Tom Day)
As always, resorts are offering deals if you purchase early so be sure to check the sites sooner rather than later if you want to snag a great pass deal. Locals often get better rates as well, so if you live nearby, check to see if you qualify. Each resort offers a variety of benefits with their passes, from early powder days to resort discounts, line-jumping, special parties and more. Depending on your slope-style, you’ll want to check out those additional benefits as well as the actual resort terrain when making your decision.
And just what is a super senior? Be warned, they’re the advanced skiers over 70 that can still impress with their slope prowess.
Summer officially kicks off in North Lake Tahoe Memorial Day Weekend with the 5th Annual Opening Day at the Lake. This four-day special event is Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30, and includes celebrations and festivities along the West Shore and in downtown Tahoe City.