Alpenglow backcountry demo event

xc demo days Alpenglow

Alpenglow Backcountry Demo Days
Photo courtesy of Alpenglow Sports

Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City has announced their 11th annual Lake Tahoe Backcountry Demo Event. The event is held at Alpine Meadows and will take place on Saturday, January 21. Everything kicks off at 9:00 a.m. and will wrap up at 3:00 p.m.

According to their press release, this is North America’s largest venue for all things alpine touring, Telemark and splitboard. It’s a pretty inclusive backcountry menu of gear and techniques.

Alpenglow, which has been leading in the outdoor recreation realm in Tahoe City for the last 30 years, partners with Alpine Meadows to offer this event to the public. It is the “largest and most well known backcountry event in North America.” Alpine Meadows is a perfect place for the event. The terrain, from beginner to uber advanced, provides some areas for all levels of skiers and riders.

Participating vendors. according to Alpenglow, will include DPS, Black Crows, Dynafit, Blizzard, Tecnica, G3, Scarpa, Salomon, Scott, Marker, Volkl, Twenty-Two Designs, Voile, Moment, Julbo, Fly Low, and Jones Snowboards. Additionally, the exotic and revolutionary Meidjo Telemark binding will be on hand to try as well.

While the event itself is free, participants must possess a valid lift ticket or season pass purchased from Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley USA, along with a driver’s license and credit card for deposit. Registration for the event will occur onsite at the Alpenglow Sports tent on January 21st. Call 530.583.6917 with questions. If you live up that way just head over to the shop.

Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Rain, snow, wind, avalanches

New snow Mt. Rose

Mt. Rose with new snow
Photo courtesy of Mt. Rose PR

It’s time to pay attention to the advisories on the Sierra Avalanche Center website. The advisory today, Sunday January 8, simply put, says to stay out of the mountains and the backcountry. The avalanche danger is rated as extreme. That kind of rating isn’t very common or issued lightly. Here is what it says, ”

“Natural and human triggered avalanches are certain today due to the significant amount of rain on snow expected below 9300 ft. and heavy wet snow loading above 9000 ft. Large, deep, destructive wet slab, deep slab, and wind slab avalanches will occur today as well as loose wet avalanches. Avalanches could run farther than expected and involve almost the entire snowpack. Avoid travel in or near avalanche terrain or runout zones. EXTREME avalanche danger exists at all elevations.”

That should be loud and clear to everyone. Check their site before you head to the backcounty. These conditions may continue for a while. Know before you go is a mantra on their site, and it’s more than a catchy phrase. That knowledge and a large dose of common sense and good judgement are what may keep you safe out there.

The storm today caused most of the ski resorts to shut down. The few that were open had limited operations. Curtis Fong’s website, Bike and Ski Tahoe, lists all the resorts and the daily conditions all around the Tahoe area.

Over the last few storms, quite a lot of snow fell. Jessica VanPernis Weaver, of JVP Communications, sent out a press release noting that Sugar BowlRoyal Gorge clocked 7 feet of fresh snow. That’s on top of the 201 inches of snow season-to-date, and current base depths averaging 56-81 inches. She also noted that Mt. Rose added 5 feet or more of powder last week.

Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director at Squaw/Alpine, noted that they have had over 7 feet of new snow at the resorts. Additionally, she said, “Over the past 45 years, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ January snowfall has averaged 70 inches. With 84 inches in the first five days of 2017, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is already at 120% of the January average. The resort’s record snowfall for the month of January came during the 1981-82 season with 175 inches. In the first five days of January 2017, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has received 48% of that accumulation and is anticipating additional snowfall over the coming weeks.”

Other resorts are reporting great snow amounts as well. There are more storms, colder ones, that are predicted for the coming week. Check road and resort conditions before heading to your favorite resort.

New snow at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley snow Jan. 2017
Photo Courtesy of Squaw/Alpine PR/JT Connery

Posted in Lake Tahoe, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

It’s a snowy Christmas Eve

Squaw Valley snow

Powder at Squaw Valley
Photo courtesy of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows PR

A series of storms blew through the Sierra, dropping snow at all the resorts. Powder dominates at the resorts. The outlook for Christmas Day is for blue skies and fantastic snow. Here, courtesy of Stephanie Myers of the Abbi Agency, is what North Tahoe resort reported:

Boreal Mountain Resort: 17”

Diamond Peak: 10”

Donner Ski Ranch: 12”

Homewood Mountain Resort: 8”

Northstar California: 13”

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe: 14”

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows: 16”

Sugar Bowl & Royal Gorge: 18”

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area: 8”

Tahoe XC: 8”

The rest of the resorts in the Tahoe area reported similar snow totals. Curtis Fong’s Bike and Ski Tahoe site reports that Heavenly gained 10″ of new powder, Sierra-at-Tahoe 11″-15″, Kirkwood 12″, and Soda Springs 2″. He also lists all the other resorts, in the Tahoe area and down into Mammoth.

Joyce Coker, Hope Valley Outdoors, said that Hope Valley finally has a cover of snow, with the best xc and snowshoe opportunities up at Blue Lakes Road, Forestdale Creek, and the Carson Pass area. Grass Lake at Luther Pass is also good to go with the new snow that the storms dropped.

In general, here it is: Merry Christmas! The snow has fallen and the slopes are calling. There is a Santa Claus!

Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Squaw/Alpine add transportation

Chariot company shuttle

Chariot Shuttle in Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Photo courtesy of Squaw/Alpine PR

Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows let loose in a press release with a couple of initiatives at the resorts for this holiday season. Transportation in and around the resorts has just become much easier.

Kenny said in a press release that this holiday season, …”Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will offer a pilot intra-valley transit program in partnership with the app-based transportation provider Chariot, beginning December 23 and operating through the holidays until January 4. As part of its ongoing efforts to support regional transit solutions, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will offer the Chariot trial program as a modern and convenient transportation option for guests and residents in the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, while simultaneously removing cars from roads and parking areas.”

Chariot is a mass transit service that offers a fast, reliable and comfortable ride experience. Chariot’s mobile app  allows people to book rides for both on-demand and fixed-route services within the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, using new 14-passenger Ford Transit vehicles equipped with ski and snowboard racks.

This service, according to Kenney is available from December 23 through January 4. The14-passenger shuttles will pick up passengers along fixed 15-20 minute routes between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and from 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. In the middle of the day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Chariot will provide custom resort-to-doorstep rides within the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, in addition to fixed routes. Resort-to-doorstep rides can be booked via Chariot’s mobile app, which works much like other popular ride-hailing apps.

Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has this to say, “Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is dedicated to enhancing public transit in our region right now, with concerted action. As we seek to modernize and improve the ways that people get around in our region, this pilot project with Chariot is an opportunity to deliver a quality experience while removing cars from the road and pollutants from our environment. Our sponsorship of this pilot program is a short-term step toward what we hope will be a longer-term sea-change, where the community and its leaders come together to improve the transit experience for all residents and guests. We are very excited to see what we learn from this pilot and eager to apply these learnings to long-term solutions not just in the immediate vicinity of our resort, but across our region in partnership with others.”

Ali Vahabzadeh, founder and CEO of Chariot said that  “This is a great way to deliver people the stress-free, safe and convenient ride experience that Chariot is known for during the busy holiday season. We look forward to partnering with the innovative team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows on this service offering and solving for some of the specific mobility challenges local residents and visitors face.”

Kenny laid it out in easy to understand directions:

1. Download the Chariot app and sign up for an account.
2. Schedule your Chariot. Once you do this your space is reserved.
3. Now you simply watch your Chariot approach on the app and proceed to your stop when you see that it is close. No need to wait at a crowded stop and hope there’s room for you.

Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley will each have four Chariots. Between 8am and 10am and again between 3pm and 5pm you can schedule a Chariot to pick you up or drop you off on the designated routes at one of the many pick-up locations along these routes.

Between 10am and 3pm the service also provides free return home service to your doorstep. The Chariot will pick you up at either Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows and return you to an address in the same Valley. It is important to note that you cannot get picked up at Alpine Meadows and dropped off at an address in Squaw Valley. Or vice versa. To do that you need to take the Squaw Alpine Express.

This complimentary service will run December 23, 2016 through January 4, 2017.  Wirth said that they hope it allows their guests to more fully enjoy their vacation with a free, easy, and friendly ride to their ski day.

What’s this going to cost you? Zero. That’s right. It’s free. Merry Christmas.

Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows welcomes Santa


Santa True

Santa arrives at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Photo credit Santa True

Liz Lauer of Cinch PR said today that Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will welcome Santa Clause at the Reno-Tahoe Airport tomorrow, December 16. Santa is arriving at around 2:30 p.m., and everyone is invited.  “Santa True” is arriving in his travelling Santa suit, kicking off two weeks of Squaw and Alpine Meadows Merry Days & Holly Nights festivities from December 17 to December 31.

Lauer said that as a member of The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, Santa True is the real thing, with a Bachelor in Clauseology from the Santa School and The Santa Claus Conservatory. Following his arrival, Santa will be out and about skiing at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and in The Village at Squaw Valley® and, on select evenings, he will be telling classic Christmas stories by the fire with milk and cookies. A child’s delight to be sure.

Merry Days & Holly Nights is a full schedule of events December 17 – 31, opening with a torch light parade on Exhibition Trail, fire dancers, a 25-foot-tall Singing Christmas Tree, and illuminated ice sculptures in the Ice Garden at Merry Wonderland, according to Lauer.  Merry Days & Holly Nights features both free and ticketed events. Enjoy horse drawn sleigh rides, skiing with Olympian Jonny Moseley, moonlit snowshoe dinners, music and dance from national performing artists. Farm to table dinners with Olympians and legends are also offered. Visit Merry Days & Holly Nights for more information.

This is you and your child’s chance to welcome Santa to the mountains. Who knows, you might even end up skiing with him. What a gift.

Posted in Lake Tahoe, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows top list

View of Gondola

Gondola view, Squaw Valley. Photo courtesy of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows PR

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have topped out for the second year in a row. A panel of pro skiers and riders nominated 20 resorts. USA Today and 10Best “…announced that their readers have selected Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows as the winner of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Poll for ‘Best Ski Resort,’ marking the second consecutive win for the resort after it secured the top spot in 2016.”, according to Liesl Kenny, Public Relations Director at Squaw/Alpine.

Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows had this to say: “Our team is thrilled to be recognized as the USA Today and 10Best Readers’ Choice winner of ‘Best Ski Resort’ for the second year in a row and we are delighted to share this award with the entire Reno-Tahoe community, which works together to provide an award-worthy experience for our guests. Truly, this designation belongs to the community:  the people in the businesses of Truckee, Tahoe City, all of North Lake Tahoe and the entire region. We send sincere thanks to our loyal guests for their proud support and look to continue to build on this momentum in the 2016-17 season.”

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows give the snow crowd access to more than 6,000 acres of skiable and ridable terrain. With 42 lifts and 270 trails it’s a great bit of terrain. Over 65 percent of all that is beginner and intermediate, with 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones, Squaw/Alpine has something for all levels of skiers and riders. All of that for one lift ticket. Sweet.

Kenny went on to point out that for the 2016-17 season, the resorts will “celebrate the first annual Merry Days & Holly Nights, two weeks of spirited events and activities December 17-31. Merry Days & Holly Nights will bring Santa to town along with spectacular music and dance performances, delicious Farm-to-Table Dinners, parties, fireworks to ring in the New Year and much more.”

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows continue to bring the best they can for their guests. For more information and tickets, visit Squaw/Alpines Merry Days & Holly Nights page.

Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Skiing, riding, safety

xc ski

Know before you go.
Photo credit: J. Ferris

As we near the end of autumn and get ready to greet winter, the storms continue to roll in. Snow, rain, and a mix of both, along with wind, makes for wonderful outdoor weather, even if you have to stay inside for a bit.

All of us who venture out into snow country enjoy the various bits of snow sports that we get to take advantage of. Our entire area is a haven for outdoor recreation every month of the year. The gear changes from season to season. The joy is the same no matter what time of year it is.

When the snow flies, everything in the mountains changes, especially in the backcountry. At the ski resorts, as the snow piles up, more terrain opens up until, finally, it’s top to bottom skiing for everyone. The season truly begins when that happens. The crowds increase, and the winter break for schools means a lot of skiers and riders will be heading up the hill to put in serious time on the slopes.

Every day, before the resorts open, there’s a lot of activity at all of the resorts. Primary to all of them is skier safety, and this early morning activity is devoted to that premise. It’s serious business. The men and women who check everything out are highly trained and motivated.

Each resort has someone who is in charge of mountain operations, making sure that all the mechanicals work and the resort is safe and ready for the day. There are a lot of moving parts that all have to work together, from the top of the mountain to the base area.

The men and women of the National Ski Patrol are part of that. They check out all of the terrain at the resorts, every day, before the resort opens. They are well trained experts, certified each year. They look for hazards on the trails, and in the more steep areas asses avalanche conditions. When they find anything that concerns them they are likely to intentionally attempt to trigger an avalanche to lessen the danger. When things are just too weird, they will close an area.

Closed areas are clearly marked with signs and barriers. Skiers and riders are expected to abide by the written code at all resorts. Part of that skier code is to stay out of any closed or out of bounds areas. They are closed and out of bounds for good reason. They are flat out dangerous.

Here’s a simple truth. When there’s snow in the mountains, there will be avalanches. They aren’t predictable, but the conditions that can trigger them are pretty well known. They happen around here every winter. Some are pretty small, others much bigger. Some are human caused, others just cut loose all on their own. They stop only when they run out of energy to continue down slope.

Chances of surviving when caught in one are better at a resort than in the backcountry, but not all that good. Survivors consider themselves extremely fortunate. Search and Rescue squads from multiple agencies respond to these very quickly, often operating in very bad conditions. They are very good at what they do, and train constantly for these situations. They are aware of the odds, and strive rescue trapped skiers or riders.

Sadly, an avalanche at Mt. Rose last Saturday, December 17, on Jackpot Chute, a closed area of the resort, claimed the life of one of the skiers who entered that area. He was found under 8 to 10 feet of snow on Sunday, December 18.

That will not be the last avalanche in the high country, at a resort or in the backcountry, this season. For your safety, and the safety of everyone else, please stay out of any area that is closed or has a high risk of avalanches, anywhere in the mountains. Get outside, but do so with safety as your guide.


Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, outside treks, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Snow falls, resorts open, more snow on the way

Good gear, stay warm. Photo/J Ferris

Good gear, stay warm. Photo courtesy of J Ferris

The ski resorts in and around Lake Tahoe have opened. A few are offering top to bottom skiing by now, and the rest of them are opening up more terrain as conditions permit. Thanksgiving weekend was the main launch point for the openings. More snow is predicted over this coming week.

With the snow making equipment adding to what falls from the skies, conditions will improve, and from all accounts, they are already pretty good.

The cross country crowd will have to wait just a bit longer to have full access to the lower reaches of the back county. For the Telemark and Randonee skiers, there’s generally enough snow above 8,000 feet to have a pretty good day of skiing out there.

Joyce Coker, owner of Hope Valley Outdoors, said yesterday that the broad floor of Hope Valley between Pickett’s Junction and Blue Lakes Road has about 6 inches of snow. Higher up there’s more. She is in the process of putting up the Yurt that houses her business during the season.

For the kick and glide xc skiers, that may be just enough to get out on, but the rocks, bushes, and bumps will have to be avoided. Those 6 inches don’t really cover much. After the storms this week perhaps those concerns will be gone.

If you’re looking for information about the downhill ski resorts around Tahoe, Curtis Fong’s website is the place to check things out. His Lake Tahoe Ski Report lists the resorts and conditions and is just about always current. You’ll notice that he calls himself “The Guy From Tahoe”. Read up on him, and you’ll know why.

Remember to check road and weather conditions before heading into the mountains. Carry chains, extra food, water, and a lot patience with you. When the snow falls, everything slows down. Take your time. No rush. The mountains will be there no matter what time you arrive.

Posted in outside treks, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Sierra-at-Tahoe to open on Saturday November 26

Grooming the slopes

Getting ready at Sierra-at-Tahoe

Thea Hardy, Public Relations at Sierra-at-Tahoe, said that the resort, located off of US Highway 50, would open on Saturday, November 26. The recent storms have blanketed the area with enough snow, along with what the snow guns had already put on the slopes, to start the bull wheels turning.

Hardy said that early season conditions will permit them to open limited terrain accessed by two chairlifts and two surface lifts. Sierra will spin Easy Rider Express and Rock Garden with access to Broadway and Echo beginner trails. There will be a terrain park with small to medium features, allowing guests to get their park legs back underneath them.

“We’re excited to flip the switch and open the mountain,” says General Manager, John Rice. “Forecasts show possible snow showers throughout the weekend and into next week, potentially allowing us to open more trails, conditions pending.”

Hardy noted that “This is a great time for passholders to pick up their Season Pass or daily ticket buyers to test their abilities for only $65 a day for adults, $55 for young adults, $53 for seniors and $29 for kids and super seniors. Limited operations on opening day will include children’s ski school lessons, limited adult ski school operations, ice cold refreshing beer and food in The Pub and Mama’s Kitchen, gear in the rental shops, plus great holiday shopping at Sierra Mt. Sports.”

Sierra, a very family friendly place, is all about having fun. Guests are encouraged to use the hashtag, #CertifiedUnserious when posting Opening Day memories.

Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts 2,000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet of dynamic terrain with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe from the summit and one of the deepest snowpacks in the region. Access to expert off-piste terrain in Huckleberry Canyon, incredible tree runs, a commitment to consistent, quality grooming and excellent beginner programs, including a $49 beginner package, make Sierra Resort a favorite Northern California resort. Easy to get to and always welcoming, Sierra-at-Tahoe is located just 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe and offers Ski & Stay packages with local resorts and casinos. Known as the “locals spot,” Sierra is a bastion of the authentic California ski experience. Where unserious fun is taken seriously.

Posted in Lake Tahoe, Outdoor Recreation, ski resorts, skiing, snow by

Great opening day snow in Tahoe

Time to wax the boards at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows

Time to wax the boards at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Photo Courtesy of Ben Arnst, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows PR

The new snow fall, and more to come, is pushing more runs to open. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Mt. Rose have added to the available territory for skies and riders to enjoy.

Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director at Squaw/Alpine, said today the resorts have 15 inches of new snow on top of the 6 inches that is already on the slopes. Alpine Meadows will run the Kangaroo chair and Squaw Valley opens with Tucker carpet in SnoVentures at the resort. Normal operating hours will prevail with the slopes opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 4:00 p.m.

Equipment rentals and ski school are open with private lessons for intermediate and advanced guests as well. Begging guests can take advantage of group and private lessons. Snow tubing in SnoVentures at Squaw Valley is also open, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Kenny had this to say about the resorts, “Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is planning to open additional terrain for skiing and riding at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in the coming days, weather and conditions permitting. Alpine Meadows plans to open Nick’s Run off the Kangaroo chair as early as Friday, Nov. 25. Squaw Valley plans to open the Red Dog chair for skiing and riding as early as Sunday, Nov. 27. All terrain openings are subject weather and conditions, and additional terrain will continue to open as conditions allow.”

Up at Mt. Rose, Jessica VanPernis Weaver of JVP Communications said the new snow, and the high elevation of the resort, is allowing for more terrain to open. It’s a very good start to the season.

Said VanPernis Weaver, “On Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders will make top-to-bottom turns with the opening of the Northwest Magnum 6 lift. Since Sunday, Mt. Rose has received up to 20 inches of snow at the summit, and according to the National Weather Service, more snow is in the forecast today and over the weekend. Natural snowfall, paired with continued snowmaking efforts has allowed the resort to quickly open more terrain for skiers and riders of all ability levels.”

So far, this season, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe has received 32 to 52 inches of snow, with current average base depths ranging from 10 inches at the base, to 18 inches at the summit. Beginning Thursday, open lifts will include the Northwest Magnum 6, Galena Triple, Wizard Quad and Flying Jenny surface lift, giving skiers and riders ample area to carve turns.

“There’s plenty to be thankful for at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe this year,” said Mike Pierce, director of marketing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. “Our operations team has been working tirelessly to quickly open addition terrain for skiers and riders to enjoy. Beginning tomorrow, we’ll provide top-to-bottom access to 1,440 vertical feet of beginner and intermediate terrain.”

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., early season lift tickets are currently available for purchase for $79 for adults, and $49 for kids ages 15 and under. The Lodgepole Café, Timbers Bar, Higher Grounds Coffee Bar, Equipment Rental and Repair Shop are open, and lessons are available daily for both kids and adults.

Anyone who plans to spend the season on the slope at any of the Tahoe resorts may want to take advantage to season ticket prices. After around 4 trips, that season pass means you ski free for the rest of the season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mt. Rose, time to ski!

Mt. Rose, time to ski! Photo courtesy of Mt. Rose PR

Posted in Lake Tahoe, outside treks, ski resorts, skiing, snow by