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.


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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.

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre excited to flip the switch and open the mountain,‚ÄĚ says General Manager, John Rice.¬†‚ÄúForecasts show possible snow showers throughout the weekend and into next week, potentially allowing us to open more trails, conditions pending.‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôs ski school lessons, limited adult ski school operations, ice cold refreshing beer and food in The Pub and Mama‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúlocals spot,‚ÄĚ Sierra is a bastion of the authentic California ski experience. Where unserious fun is taken seriously.


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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‚Äôs 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.

‚ÄúThere‚Äôs plenty¬†to be thankful for at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe this year,‚ÄĚ said Mike Pierce, director¬†of marketing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe.¬†‚ÄúOur operations team has been working tirelessly¬†to quickly open addition terrain for skiers and riders to enjoy. Beginning¬†tomorrow, we‚Äôll provide top-to-bottom access to 1,440 vertical feet of beginner¬†and intermediate terrain.‚ÄĚ

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


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Snow falls, resorts open

On the lifts at Mt. Rose

Opening day at Mt. Rose
Photo courtesy of Mt. Rose

In this part of the Sierra, Lake Tahoe, El Dorado, Placer, Alpine Counties and Douglas County in Nevada, the snow has started to fall. The temperatures in the high country have been low enough for the uber cool snow guns to swing into action, adding a good base for the natural stuff to fall on.

Mt. Rose is open and the bullwheels are turning, with four beginner trails. The Wizard quad and Flying Jenny surface lifts are operating on the Main Lodge side of the resort, according to Jessica VanPernis Weaver, of JVP Communications in Tahoe.  Snow is falling and there are smiles all around.

Jessica VanPernis Weaver, of JVP Communications in Tahoe, sent out the following press release:

Mike Pierce,¬†director¬†of marketing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe had this to say, ‚ÄúMt. Rose¬†benefits from having the highest base elevation at Lake Tahoe, so¬†early season storms paired with cold temperatures and recent¬†enhancements¬†to our snowmaking system will allow us to offer some of the¬†best early season snow surfaces in the region. We‚Äôve really been maximizing our¬†snowmaking system, and that coupled with weather¬†forecasts calling for snow and¬†cold temperatures to continue this weekend and in to early next week, will¬†allow our focus to remain committed¬†to opening additional terrain as quickly as¬†possible.‚ÄĚ

The resort plans to be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lift tickets available for purchase for just $40, and $20 for kids ages 15 and under. The Lodgepole Café, Timbers Bar, Equipment Rental and Repair Shop will also be open, and lessons will be available for both kids and adults.

Those interested¬†in skiing or riding Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe this winter can still take advantage of¬†affordable season pass rates. Adult premier¬†passes valid seven days per week¬†with no blackouts are available for $529. Young adult premier passes ‚Äď perfect¬†for college students, are¬†available for $399 for ages 16-23. Midweek passes¬†valid Monday through Friday (excluding Dec. 26-30, 2016) are priced at just¬†$429, and¬†children‚Äôs passes are available for $279 for ages 6-15.

For more¬†information about Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, visit¬†www.skirose.com, follow on Facebook at¬†www.facebook.com/MountRoseSkiTahoe, or on Instagram¬†@mtroseskitahoe.”

In addition to Mt. Rose, Boreal Ski Resort is open as is Mammoth. Other resorts will be opening as the week progresses. Up at Squaw Valley things are just about ready to launch.

Sam Kieckhefer, Public Relations Coordinator at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows said they currently have 7 inches of snow, with more snow falling. Look for them to open on Novembe 23.


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Change of Seasons

Autumn is here!

Autumn is here!

Spring and summer, with all they offer, have come and gone for the year. Autumn rolled in right on time and is in full burst right now. Around here, which is in the¬†Sierra, the weather has gotten colder, the days shorter, the leaves on the trees have done their color dance and have drifted to the ground. What a wonderful sound, riding through them on all the back roads up here! It’s my favorite time of year.

We’ve had wind, rain, hail, and snow. The Tahoe area is gearing up for what they hope is a great ski season. The snow guns are running, and opening days at the resorts are coming up. In the meantime, there’s plenty of hiking and riding to do.

As we get deeper in to autumn it is important to pay attention to the shorter days. Hikes and rides that were easily completed in daylight just a couple of weeks ago now have to be tweaked. Running out of daylight while still out on the trails is generally a bad idea. What do you do?

Start earlier if it’s possible. If not, simply modify your trek. Pay attention to when the sunlight starts to dim. Daylight hours will progressively get shorter until the Winter Solstice, in December.

Make certain that you have headlamps or flashlights with you, with fresh batteries. Change the batteries on your bike, front and rear. Make certain that they work. If you do find yourself out there at dusk, heading to dark, you’ll need these.

The temperatures in the mountains will fluctuate, from comfortable to cold, all in the course of a day, and while you’re out riding or hiking. Wear layers so that you will be able to add or shed a layer or two as needed. If you are out in the mountains, or in the forests, leave your cotton duds at home. While cotton is a fine material, it’s not your friend out there. Your layers should be wool, a wool blend, or synthetics.

Above all, just get out there. It’s a wonderful time to be out and about. Take advantage of the autumn landscape before it turns white with snow. Snow changes everything. Get outside!


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May is over, so is bike month

Fat bike in snow

Remember this weather?

Well, now what? May is Bike Month, oddly enough, ends on the last day of May. Several million miles were pedaled across the nation. Lot’s of people may have decided to either start riding again, or ride more. Bike shops most likely sold a few more bikes, helmets, and what not. What now?

Keep riding of course. Get your bike tuned up, get ready for the late spring ride into summer, heading to autumn. This time of year is generally pretty mild which makes outdoor rec a delight. As the season continues we all know it will get more warm, and in some areas downright hot. Ride now, get a good base under your fitness level, then, when it does warm up, you should do alright.

If you live in an area that gets hot, or hot and humid, you know you have to slow down and stay hydrated. Time your rides, hikes, and so on for cooler parts of the day, if there are any. The whole point is to simply enjoy riding your bike or whatever outdoor activity that turns your prop.

Next up in the big leagues is the Tour de France. The main reason to watch it is to hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin offer their expert and hilarious commentary on the race. It’s a hoot. Somewhere in there is that rather wonderful tour in Colorado too. Always amazing to see the young pros and what they are capable of doing. With great hope, it is done on natural talent and work only. Always iffy in the bike world.

Ah well, enjoy your time on your bike or out on the lakes or in the forests wherever you live.


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May is Bike Month

mibm 2016 logo

Believe it or not, we’ve gone through all of April. It’s May, and that means it’s Bike Month. For the entire month of May there is an increased focus on all things bicycle. It’s a good time to ride, whether you are experienced, a novice, or just plain rusty. This is the time to gear up and start pedaling.

What is May is Bike Month? It is a month long effort and campaign throughout the U.S.¬†that promotes bicycles as a mode of transportation. The aim is for as many people as possible to ride bikes while running errands, commuting to work, actually working, or for recreation and health. With more people riding, the number of autos on the road decreases. A direct result of that is better air quality and less traffic congestion. In theory it also focuses attention on the need for greater investment in bicycle infrastructure and facilities. Throw in that it’s fun, burns calories, and gets you moving, and it’s a winner all the way.

More bikes on the roads points out the need for more bike lanes on the roads, and more bike paths throughout the area to accommodate more cycling. Safety becomes a big part of the formula too. With a greater need for bike friendly roads the need for safe cycling increases as well. Riders always need to pay attention to the traffic and conditions around them, no matter where they are riding. We Boomers know this. We didn’t get to this mature state by being stupid. Well, maybe a little, but learning takes all forms.

The event, and it is an event, comes with the opportunity to log the miles you ride. The goal this year in my area is for a total of 2 million miles to be pedaled up over the month. How are those miles counted? First, sign up at¬†May is Bike Month in your region. You can sign up as an individual or with a team. It’s important to note that if you sign up for a team, you don’t actually have to ride with that team. When you do ride, you’ll log you miles and you and that team will get credit for your miles. Most areas have random drawings of participants for cycling gear.

When you sign up you’ll pledge a number of miles to ride during May. You can change that number any time you want. There isn’t any minimum or maximum involved. If you’ve done this before you know about how many miles you can get in, and may want to push you mileage up a bit. If this is your first time, just pick a number of miles that seems reasonable to ride.

At the end of each ride, log in to your May is Bike Month¬†site, and enter your miles. It’s as simple as that. You’ll be able to see your cumulative total, the total for you team, and the total number of miles ridden by everyone. There is a bar graph that keeps track of progress towards the goal in your particular area.

It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride. From the most weird to the most elite bikes, everything is welcomed. Your age isn’t a factor either. Your children can register with you and ride on a balance bike or a bike with training wheels still on it. It simply has to be a bike, any kind of bike will do.¬†They can log miles right along with you. This is simply a great way to encourage everyone to ride bikes. It isn’t a race, and the only competition is between you and the miles you pledge.

Sign up now, and start riding. Ride with your friends, family, or just enjoy your own bliss while pedaling. Watch the miles pile up and enjoy this fine, month long event. Check the¬†events calendar¬†on your local May is Bike Month¬†website¬†to see if there is an event that you’d like to experience.

The entire month is filled with things to do. It’s all just a great deal of fun, for everyone. You just might find a new appreciation for bikes too.

The video below is from the fine folks at Razik Bikes, who make an amazing bike. These handmade beauties just may inspire you to sign up and start riding.


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Spring is here. New bike time?

Bamboo bike NAHBS. Photo courtesy of J Ferris.

Bamboo bike NAHBS. Photo courtesy of J Ferris.

Spring is different things in different parts of the country. Could be snowy, cold, cool, windy, sunny, warm, hot, rainy, or flooding. Depends on where you are. One constant is that it is at this time of year that the new bikes are paraded out for all of us to drool over. Bicycling, VeloNews, Dirt Rag, Mountain Bike and the others all start devoting a lot of space to the new bikes.

How new can they be, really? Frame, wheels, brakes, seat, handle bars. That about sums it up. Not even close really. The new bikes all have some sort of tweak that separates them from whatever came before. It’s not the paint job or any other cosmetic bling. The bikes have different angles, vibration dampers, frames, stems, brakes, cables. It may not seem like much when you look at it, but it does add up to a different feel for the new ones.¬†Check out Razik Bicycles if you want to see what’s really different in a frame. ¬†They really are¬†different.

Adds up is a very appropriate term. Most of the manufacturers have very good bikes in the lower end of the price range, between $1,000-$2,500 or maybe a tad more. For most of us that’s the price range that’s comfortable. If you’re on the front tip of the Boomer range you’ll be 70 this year, and your retirement income has to be taken into consideration when looking at the bikes. When the price gets north of $3,000 my interest plummets. Actually, when it gets anywhere close to $3K my interest plummets.

When the price hikes up into that area the target audience isn’t ordinary riders. If you are in the top end of your club, a rated rider, or a very competitive type, those bikes up into the well over $4,000 range might make a difference in where you place at the end of the day. They are rather nice bikes. I’m not sure I’d notice the difference though.

I just ride, for the sheer fun of it and to stay healthy. That’s it. I would like to have a set of gears that make the climbs easier though. I live in the Sierra Nevada and nothing is flat. It’s a relative term up here.

Enjoy exploring the new crop of two wheeled wonders. It’s always fun, even if your wallet is bit light. No drooling on the bikes. It’s frowned on.


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Razik Bicycles stuns at North American Handmade Bike Show

Amazing technology.

Amazing technology.
Photo courtesy of Razik Bicycles

OK Boomers, sit up and pay attention. Bicycle technology sometimes seems stuck in low gear. Either that or it’s so esoteric that only the elite, the real ones, not the faux strutters, either appreciate it or have use for it. However, light weight and uber strong is something that all of us, regardless of age, easily understand. That’s especially true when you’re hauling your bones uphill.

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show that was held in Sacramento the last weekend of February brought an amazing array of handmade bicycles, bicycle gear, and cyclists to the Sacramento Convention Center. The variety of bikes easily covered just about everything anyone who has an interest in bikes could possibly imagine. Judging from the crowds over the three days of the show the success level was over the top.

While we wandered about the Convention Center we came upon a really different bike. You could see through the tubes. The guy at the booth, who turned out to be the head of Razik bikes, handed me a frame. It was like lifting air. Read on.

Razik Bicycles easily had the standout, and most interesting, bikes in the show. On any other bike the top tube, seat tube and down tube are formed tubes of steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber. Razik has stepped out of that mold and into something entirely different. Those parts very different on their bikes.

Ryun Noble, who is the co-founder and president of the company, was on hand at the show, letting the curious know what Razik had done. The frames are very light. The top tube, seat tube, and down tube are an open tubular lattice. It’s known as¬†IsoTruss technology. It looks like a woven tube. Noble said that this technology uses carbon fiber and takes advantage of the strength of reinforcing pyramids and triangles. You see this type of construction all over the place in all kinds of towers, beams, bridges and support structures.

His frames are very light. According to Noble, they are also extremely strong, and very responsive, more than “any other bike.” When asked about wind resistance, Noble said that the technology works just like the dimples on a golf ball, which is to say it helps reduce drag on the frame. Less resistance to wind is always a plus, on any kind of bike. Razik seems to have nailed it quite well.

This technology is available only on Razik bikes. Additionally, the bikes are handmade in the United States, “…Not part of it‚Ķ the whole thing.” That in itself is noteworthy.

Your next chance to see these bikes out here in California will be at the¬†Sea Otter Classic, April 14 to 17. The Sea Otter Classic is held in Monterey, and Razik Bicycles will be in the Loaded Precision booth at this iconic bike race. It’s well worth the trip. You’ll have to contact Razik to see if they will be anywhere close to where you live so you can see one of these beauties.

Do yourself a favor if you’re going to the Sea Otter, and stop by their booth. Talk to the Razik folks, pick up one of the frames, then a whole bike. They really are light, and really do look pretty amazing. This may be the next bike in your line up of bikes.


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North America Handmade Bike Show

stainless steel bike, car

Tune it up, then ride/photo J Ferris

The NAHBS will be in Sacramento this year at the end of February, from the 26th to the 28th. If you are anywhere near Sacramento, are a cyclist of any kind, make plans to see this. It is, in a word, fantastic.

The Sacramento Convention Center will be filled with all things bicycle, and all handmade. Some of the tools that make parts and frames will be on display too. ¬†There are bike accessory makers all around, including clothing, hats, and all kinds of gear. Handmade, by the people standing there at their booth. It’s more than just a little interesting. Even if you don’t ride, the art of bikes, and the art of making bikes, is stunning.

The last time the NAHBS was in Sacramento I urged parents to take their children out of school for the day and go to the show instead. Bear in mind that I am a retired teacher. I simply saw more value at this show than could be had in a classroom for the day.

If you want to encourage your child’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, the much spoken about STEM component of school, you have to see this collection of bikes, artists, and makers. It encompasses all of STEM, plus art, in a very real world setting.

The people at the booths, and there are a lot of booths, are there because they made what ever is displayed in the booth. These are some extremely competent builders. Bikes aren’t just bikes, even the mass produced kind. The amount of science that goes into the design is massive. The technological aspects, combined with the engineering to make it work, requires very bright minds. Along with that, the angles, the stresses, the strength of the materials, are all math based.

On top of that, the bikes are simply works of art. From fantastical to very functional, these bikes are rolling examples of how function, form, and art work together with the STEM processes to produce bikes that will make you smile. You’ll see very futuristic bikes, along with memory jogging retro designs, and everything in between.

NAHBS rotates between cities each year. The last time it was here was in 2012. You’ll want to come to this, as the wait for a return could be a few years. Bring your camera and make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card. You’ll need it.

Mt. Bike at NAHBS/photo: J Ferris

Mt. Bike at NAHBS/photo: J Ferris

Bamboo bike, NAHBS, 2012/photo J Ferris

Bamboo bike, NAHBS, 2012/photo J Ferris

The future is here: internal hubs/photo J Ferris

The future is here: internal hubs/photo J Ferris

retro style bike, 2012, Sacramento, CA

Retro style at NAHBS 2012/photo: J Ferris


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