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.
A tiny leprechaun swooped down from his rainbow and brought us a gift: SNOW.
The National Weather Service is predicting that some areas of North Lake Tahoe could receive up to 7 feet or more of snow by Sunday. So head to your favorite NLT resort lodge, enjoy an Irish Coffee and hit the slopes… or maybe that’s the other way around.
Check out all of NLT’s St. Patty’s Events taking place this Saturday:
St. Patty’s Twilight Ski, Homewood Mountain Resort Guests are invited to hit the slopes from 4-7 p.m. (after the resort typically closes) via the Quail triple chair in addition to daytime skiing and riding. The Resort is also offering commemorative St. Patrick’s Day T-shirts, green beer, corned beef and cabbage and a hidden pot o’ gold this St. Patty’s Day.
Ski Green, Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe The resort is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a party including food and beverage specials, as well as the resort’s Pot O’ Gold Poker Run from 10-11:30 a.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt and Apres Party – Northstar California 1:30 – 3 pm – Join Northstar California and EpicMix for the first ever St. Patrick’s Day EpicMix Scavenger Hunt. Join fellow EpicMixers in an on-mountain scavenger hunt, compete in challenges, earn EpicMix pins, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Solve riddles to unlock special EpicMix virtual pins in various locations throughout Northstar.
3:30 – 4:30 pm – After the big “hunt” head to the Lodge at Big Springs at mid-mountain for an Epic après party where each scavenger hunt participant will receive a free slice of pizza and 14 oz. beer or soda. We will also hold a raffle and celebrate green the color of St. Patrick’s Day and EpicMix in true style. Prizes will be given to most visible green outfit and best Irish-themed outfit.
BARmuda Triangle St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Lakeside Tahoe City 4:30 pm – 2 am – Lakeside joins Jake’s on the Lake & Hacienda del Lago for a blow-out event. The fun starts at Jake’s with traditional Irish food all day (also Lunch/Café/Dinner), Happy Hour discounts 4:30-6:30 pm and live music with Mark Wilson at 6 pm. The party continues at Hacienda del Lago (upstairs) with live funk “Terraplane” 9:30 pm-2 am, and L.A. DJ Dre Tuna at Lakeside (next door) 10 pm-2 am. Bar hop to enjoy Bush-Mills Girls, music and drink specials all night at all three venues!
Jake’s On The Lake 530-583-018, Hacienda 530-581-3700, Lakeside 530-583-2000
St. Patricks Day Celebration – Alpine Meadows, Tahoe City 9 am – 5 pm – Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Alpine! Ski the green slopes, dress in green, and search for the hidden pot of gold! They will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party to remember – complete with Irish food, drink specials and live music by the Nibblers.
St Patrick’s Snowshoe Search for the Pot O’ Gold 10 am – Tahoe Mountain Sports and the TRTA are teaming up for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There is hidden treasure buried in the snow and it’s up to you to locate each pot o’gold. This is a fun family event where everyone is a winner. Strap on your snowshoes this St. Patrick’s Day and stretch your sleuth skills. Call 775-298-0231 for more information. The event is free but registration is required.
9pm – Tickets available now. After party in the Crown Room. The Last Bluegrass co-bill was so great, the club decided to do it again with the same format. Each band will do a set and then an encore jam together. Do not miss this St. Paddy’s day throw-down.
Pot O’ Gold Hunt, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort The annual Pot O’ Gold hunt is on. Find clues scattered around the mountain which will lead you to the famous gold pot containing a Summit Sunday pass for 2012/2013!
North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are reporting up to 1.5 feet of new snow in the last 24 hours at their upper elevations… and Mother Nature isn’t done yet. NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is predicting a chance of snow all week with skies clearing on Friday and the weekend.
This is great news since Squaw Valley recently unveiled the resort’s newest terrain park feature, a jib pipe. It’s a hybrid feature, consisting of a banked half-pipe with a variety of rails and boxes. Epic!
Conditions will also be ideal for Diamond Peak Ski Resort, which is celebrating 2012’s extra day… Wed., Feb 29 which is Leap Year for those who missed their coffee this morning… with a $29 all-day lift ticket. Diamond Peak is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This weekend also marks the beginning North Lake Tahoe’s SnowFest, the largest winter carnival West of the Mississippi, on Fri., March 2 and lasts through Sun., March 11. Many events are free and open to the public, including a polar bear swim, hometown parades in Tahoe City and Kings Beach and ice carving extravaganzas. And, don’t miss the official opening ceremonies Friday, March 2 at Squaw Valley with On-Mountain Fireworks and Laser Show Display.
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort will host the 4th Annual “Shred the Love” Rail Jam Sat., March 3 to raise funds and awareness for Boarding for Breast Cancer. The competition will take place in the Coldstream Terrain Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entry fee is $25/person from 8:30-10 a.m.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort is hosting Celebrity Winterfest Sat., March 3, the largest fundraiser of the year for Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada, when corporate teams are paired with a Special Olympics athlete and a celebrity skier for a dual giant slalom. The event concludes Sunday, March 4 at PlungeFest, an opportunity for guests to brave Lake Tahoe’s chilly waters at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Beach to raise additional funds.
Last, but definitely not least, the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour. Considered the world’s premier big mountain freeskiing meets skier/boarder-cross experience, this event is becoming one of the region’s most popular spectator events. The four-stop event continues at Squaw Valley for the KT-22 Banzai (March 3-4) and concludes at Sugar Bowl with the Silver Belt Banzai (March 10-11) when event organizer and former U.S. World Cup and Olympic ski racer Daron Rahlves will compete in the “Super Final.”
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.
This year’s 4th of July at Tahoe is set to be unique, that’s for sure. With a series of fireworks events scattered around the lake at various dates and times you can catch multiple shows throughout the weekend. Or hit the slopes. Yep, late season snowfalls have opened up skiing and boarding opportunities at several area resorts.
Here’s a look at what’s happening this 4th of July weekend:
July 1 – 4: Incline Village takes things to the next level with their traditional Red, White & Tahoe Blue festivities which include patriotic chalk drawing contest, opening ceremonies with a tribute to veterans, doggie dress-up contest, beer tasting and brats, brunch with Shakespeare, firecracker trail trek and free fireworks Monday, July 4 at 9:30 p.m. off Incline Beach
To say it’s been an amazing winter ski and board season in Tahoe is an understatement. With record snowfall in areas resort operators have been working hard to keep the mountains open and in tip-top condition for visitors. They’ll continue their work through April, and in some places through May. Here’s a list of close dates for Tahoe’s ski and board resorts:
Alpine Meadows – Open daily through April 24; open with select lifts Friday – Sunday through May 15
Boreal – Open daily through April 24; open Friday – Sunday through May (conditions permitting)