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Tahoe Fund partners with SOS Outreach to get youth outdoors

The Tahoe Fund announced its support of SOS Outreach with a $30,000 program grant to expand its impact in North and South Lake Tahoe. SOS Outreach is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for underserved youth to experience the outdoors while participating in a mentorship program that is designed to prepare them for life’s challenges.
Courtesy of SOS Outreach

When he participated as a mentor for the SOS Outreach program for the first time last year, Crew Stover had few expectations. He finished the first day of skiing at Northstar with his group of fifth graders with a renewed sense of purpose and understanding of the real, impactful ways the program gives back to the kids and the community.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to be part of the SOS Outreach program. Not only is it awesome to see these kids learn how to ski or snowboard and become passionate about recreating in the mountains, it’s a privilege to help them grow as people,” said Stover who is also a program and outreach coordinator for the Tahoe Fund. “The SOS Outreach program curriculum both on and off the mountain helps kids build confidence and develop skills they’ll use throughout their lives.”

The Tahoe Fund announced its support of SOS Outreach with a $30,000 program grant to expand its impact in North and South Lake Tahoe. SOS Outreach is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for underserved youth to experience the outdoors while participating in a mentorship program that is designed to prepare them for life’s challenges. Every winter, kids who would not normally have the opportunity, enjoy five ride days at Northstar or Heavenly with their mentors. Off the slopes, they engage in social service projects that help improve their local community.

In North and South Lake Tahoe, more than 250 kids learn to ski and snowboard, learn leadership skills and the importance of protecting the environment through service projects each year. In the summer months they learn to fly fish, river raft and mountain bike.

The effectiveness of the SOS Outreach program is clear. Over the past 10 years, SOS programs have led to more kids graduating from high school, attending college, finding careers and giving back to their communities. In fact, 96% of SOS youth plan to attend college, and 61% return to mentor peers.

“Our programs are designed to help underserved youth in our community discover joy through outdoor recreation they might not otherwise have access to, feel included, overcome challenges, improve their mental health, and become strong leaders,” said Theresa Papandrea, senior regional director, SOS Outreach. “We’re thrilled the Tahoe Fund supports our goals and has agreed to help us deliver this important programming to local kids.”

“The goals of the SOS Outreach program align perfectly with the Tahoe Fund’s commitment to sustainable recreation and environmental stewardship,” said Katy Simon Holland, Tahoe Fund board member. “On behalf of our donors, not only are we pleased to contribute to such a valuable program, we appreciate the opportunity for our staff to participate as mentors to the local youth who are part of this incredible program.”

Learn more about the Tahoe Fund and the programs it supports at www.tahoefund.org.

Source: Tahoe Fund

Local rider Toby Miller posts fourth-place finish at U.S. Grand Prix (VIDEO)

Local rider Toby Miller was the top finisher for the U.S. Snowboard Team at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado on Saturday, claiming fourth place in the men’s halfpipe World Cup event.

“First contest back since I broke my wrist 10 months ago!” Miller posted to his Instagram account. “Could not be happier to end up 4th at the Copper Grand Prix last weekend! Everyone absolutely killed it in the gnarly conditions.”

Miller finished the day with a score of 87.75.

“Today was great,” Miller told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “The weather was definitely a big challenge in today’s final. Everyone out there rode like true champions and proved how good of snowboarders they truly are. I am very proud to have landed my first run and end up in fourth place. I’m looking forward to the rest of the up and coming season.”

Australia’s Scotty James, 25, won the halfpipe competition with a score of 96.00. Japan’s Yuto Totsuka, 18, was third with a score of 94.50, followed by another Japanese rider, Ruka Hirano, 17, in third with 89.25 points.

The event marked the first of five World Cup halfpipe competitions in snowboarding. The series will shift to Genting Resort Secret Garden in China, and will feature men and women’s competition on Sunday.

Truckee’s LaPlante returns from ACL tear to claim 13th in big air

Truckee’s Cody LaPlante, 17, joined six other members of the U.S. Snowboard and Freeski Teams in Beijing, China for the International Ski Federation Snowboard Air + Style World Cup at Shougang Park.

The World Cup stop also served as a preview of the same venue that will host competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“Seeing the photos of the big air jump here at the Beijing Olympic venue had us all super excited to check it out,” said U.S Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air Head Coach Mike Jankowski in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “However, seeing how spectacular it is in person has been a next-level experience. The jump doesn’t just look amazing, but the athletes have all been extremely happy with how the jump is riding overall. We expect the competition here this week and in the future to be nothing short of incredible.”

For LaPlante, who is a rookie on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, the event also marked his first competition back from a torn ACL and meniscus suffered last season. He finished seventh in big air qualification, and then posted a score of 167.25 during Saturday’s finals to take 13th.

Two time Olympic gold medalist, Jamie Anderson, of South Tahoe, was also competing at Shougang Park in the women’s snowboard big air competition.

“The venue is super nice,” said Anderson in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “It’s definitely one of the best big air infrastructures I have ever seen. I’m stoked to be here.”

Anderson, 29, finished in sixth place at Saturday’s big air event with a score of 90.25.

Snow report: Travis Ganong details conditions at Alpine Meadows

After more than 2 feet of snow fell at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows last weekend, the resort is set to open more terrain, including Squaw Valley’s KT-22 chair, which will begin spinning Wednesday for the first time this season.

Recent storms have pushed Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ snow totals at its upper mountain areas past 100 inches for the season. The resort didn’t hit the 100-inch benchmark until Jan. 6 last season.

Video courtesy of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

“It’s amazing. Winter is on here,” said professional skier Travis Ganong on skiing at Alpine Meadows on Monday after competing last weekend at Xfinity Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek, Colorado. “I was just out in Colorado and up in Lake Louise, Canada, and conditions are good out there, but here, it’s unbelievable. We have so much snow, and before the holidays, having this much snow is amazing — some of the best early season coverage I’ve ever seen.”

Squaw Valley has received 110 inches of snow at its upper mountain, thus far. The resort will begin spinning KT-22 tomorrow morning.

Video courtesy of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows has been hit with 105 inches of snow this season. The mountain began spinning Summit Express yesterday and will fire up Sherwood Express tomorrow, giving skiers and riders access to the back bowls for the first time this season. Guests can also hop on the new Treeline Cirque chairlift to reach backside terrain from the base area in roughly 5 minutes. Alpine Meadows will have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new $11 million, high-speed, detachable quad chairlift on Saturday morning. The first 50 people will receive free yeti mugs, and signature beanies.

Vail operated resorts

The area’s three Vail operated resorts, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and Northstar California Resort are planning on opening more terrain ahead of this weekend.

Each resort has received more than 4 feet of snow in December, with Kirkwood leading the way at more than 6 feet for the month.

Heavenly, which has received 109 inches of snow this season will open the California side of the resort tomorrow. Starting tomorrow, Heavenly will have more than 50 open trails and more than 1,200 skiable acres. Guests will have access to terrain off of the Canyon Express, Sky Express, Powderbowl Express, and Patsy’s chairlifts. The resort’s Aerial Tramway, and Gunbarrel Express will also open tomorrow.

Kirkwood leads the Truckee-Tahoe area resorts with 125 inches of snow for the season, and is planning on opening the mountain in its entirety on Friday. The resort will be the first in the Tahoe Basin to offer access to 100% of its skiable terrain.

Near Truckee, Northstar is at 110 inches of snow for the season, and will open additional terrain on Friday via the Tahoe Zephyr Express chairlift, and the resort’s Cross-Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center. On Friday, the resort will also begin its daily tradition of tōst, a 2 p.m. champagne or apple cider toast at the area’s only ski up bar.

At Donner Summit

Sugar Bowl Resort has reached 103 inches of snowfall for the season. The resort is spinning nine lifts, giving access to 88 runs.

Boreal Mountain California picked up 18 inches of new snow from the recent storms, moving the resort’s season total to 92 inches. Boreal is spinning six of its eight lifts, providing guests access to 15 trails.

Soda Springs is up to 86 inches of snow for the season, and has all five of its lifts spinning, giving access to seven trails.

Donner Ski Ranch is set to open on Saturday, conditions permitting.

Tahoe Donner

Tahoe Donner is scheduled to open the downhill area on Friday, conditions permitting.

Tahoe Donner is reporting a base of 36 inches of snow, and plans on spinning Eagle Rock Chairlift, Snowbird Chairlift, and Caterpillar Conveyor on opening day.

The Cross-Country Ski Center reported a base of 26 inches, and already has a lot of advanced through beginner trails open.

Around the lake

On Tahoe’s West Shore, Homewood Mountain Resort opened for the season last week. The resort has received 73 inches of snow this season at its summit, and currently has four of its eight lifts spinning, giving access to 39 trails.

Also on the West Shore, Granlibakken Tahoe will open for weekend skiing on Friday. Daily sledding is also scheduled to begin on Friday.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort has received 61 inches of snow this season, and has four lifts spinning.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe was hit with 28 inches of fresh snow from recent storms, giving the resort a total of 119 inches for the season. Mt. Rose currently has five of its lifts spinning.

Game on! Pickleball players from 11 states come to Truckee

More than 300 players from across the United States came to Truckee to play in the Tahoe Peak Pickleball Tournament, Truckee’s first ever pickleball competition.

Held at Northstar’s homeowners recreation center, from Sept. 5-8, players competed on 20 courts for 10 hours of match play each of the four days.

“It was one of the best run tournaments I’ve ever been a part of,” said Trisha Pollack, who won gold in the 35-plus ladies 3.5 bracket. “Everyone was so kind and helpful, and we all hope they do it again next year. It was a blast!”

The tournament was the dream of Truckee’s Pickleball Ambassador, Matt Juskiewicz, and retired tennis professional, Fred Safipour. They wanted to bring the community together in a big, fun way, and to showcase the potential of this booming sport in this top vacation destination.

“I really wanted everyone to see what a beautiful place Tahoe is for pickleball,” Juskiewicz says. “The best thing about this sport is that every age can play. We had a 12-year-old playing with his grandfather. And we had an 88-year-old player from Reno.”

The local pickleball community volunteered in droves to support to the tournament, arriving before dawn to stripe tennis courts, set up check-in, and welcome players from 11 states. Some traveled from as far as Hawaii, New Jersey, Minnesota and Arizona. The match schedule stayed on time thanks to volunteer court monitors and score runners. All in all, volunteers dedicated hundreds of hours to make the tournament a huge success.

“We embraced the vision of the tournament directors as a way of supporting and increasing the interest of pickleball in our community,” said volunteer Roger Wells, a long-time Truckee resident and avid pickleball player.

As planning for the tournament progressed, the dream grew from hosting a tournament, to working with Truckee-Donner Recreation Center officials to eventually build a permanent pickleball complex in Truckee. Rec Center officials gave their enthusiastic support to the community effort — and proceeds from the tournament, including a daily raffle, will be given to the town to start that project.

Organizing the event took months of planning. Numerous local businesses supported the tournament, confirming Tahoe’s commitment to its active and healthy outdoor lifestyle.

Sponsors included the Truckee-Donner Recreation District, Best Western Plus, Ace Mountain Hardware and Sports, Tahoe Trail Bars, Alibi Ale Works, Safeway, Raley’s, and Starbucks. Major pickleball companies, including Pickleball Central, Paddletek, Head, and Selkirk, also made significant contributions.

“I’ve been to hundreds of pickleball tournaments across the nation and never have seen one in such a beautiful of a location, run so smoothly and professionally,” says Joan Deputy, who teaches a weekly Drills and Skills class in Reno. “It’s unheard of to get over 300 players to register for a first-time pickleball tournament. They knocked this one out of the park!“

See this story at SierraSun.com to view the final results of the tournament.

Cyclists on the road for Tour de Tahoe

The roads around Lake Tahoe will be teeming with cyclists today as participants in the 17th annual Tour de Tahoe make their way around the basin.

The Bike the West event, in partnerships with the National Psoriasis Foundation, will take roughly 1,500 riders on a 72-mile loop around Lake Tahoe.

Riders began the clockwise trip around the lake at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe at 6:30 a.m. The group should reach the North Shore of Tahoe at around 8:30 a.m. Law enforcement will be staged around Lake Tahoe today, according to event director Curtis Fong, and there is signage in place reminding drivers of the event. Cyclists have also been instructed to ride single file.

Ride updates will be provided by KRLT 93.9 FM.

For more information, visit BiketheWest.com.

Northern California PGA Foundation graduates 100-year-old Navy veteran from HOPE program

The Northern California PGA Foundation recently announced that 100-year-old Stephen Layton, a U.S. Navy veteran from South Lake Tahoe, has become the oldest graduate of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), a national program that introduces golf to military veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Today, as golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many veterans living with disabilities, PGA HOPE has helped thousands assimilate back into their communities through the social interaction the game of golf provides. Led by PGA professionals, PGA HOPE programs are currently being offered at more than 90 locations in the U.S. today, positively impacting more than 2,000 veterans annually.

Born in Highlands, New Jersey, Layton was a Gunner in the U.S. Navy and fought in the battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he was injured by a bomb explosion that earned him a Purple Heart.

After serving in the Navy, Layton spent his career as a switchman for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Today, he resides at the Community Living Center, a part of the Palo Alto Veterans Healthcare System. As a member of the PGA HOPE program, Layton and fellow veterans were transported to Pleasanton Golf Center for weekly PGA HOPE clinics throughout May and June. Following his graduation from the program, Layton became the oldest living PGA HOPE graduate.

“The Northern California PGA Foundation is extremely proud of all our Veterans who participate in the PGA HOPE program, as they are America’s heroes and deserve our support and dedication,” said Northern California PGA Foundation Executive Director Nancy Maul. “Our program in Northern California is one of the largest in the country and to have Stephen Layton, a 100-year old U.S. Navy Veteran, graduate from the program, speaks volumes to the commitment of our PGA Professionals who give back to the deserving men and women of the military.”

The Northern California PGA Foundation is home to one of the most prolific PGA HOPE programs with nine locations positively impacting more than 600 Veterans annually. The program, which is fully funded by the foundation, features six- to eight-week instructional golf clinics, followed by a graduation, on-course golfing opportunities, and is offered at no cost for military veterans.

Vail Resorts to add 17 ski areas through acquisition of Peak Resorts

Vail Resorts, Inc. announced on Monday it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire the outstanding stock of Peak Resorts, Inc., which will add 17 US ski resorts to the company.

Through the acquisition, Vail Resorts will nearly double the amount of resorts it operates through its subsidiaries, expanding from 20 (17 mountains and three urban ski areas) to 37 locations. The company will add Mount Snow in Vermont; Hunter Mountain in New York; Attitash Mountain Resort, Wildcat Mountain, and Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire; Liberty Mountain Resort, Roundtop Mountain Resort, Whitetail Resort, Jack Frost, and Big Bolder in Pennsylvania; Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine, and Mad River Mountain in Ohio; Hidden Valley and Snow Creek in Missouri; and Paoli Peaks in Indiana.

“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to add such a powerful network of ski areas to our Company,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts in a news release. “Peak Resorts’ ski areas in the Northeast are a perfect complement to our existing resorts and together will provide a very compelling offering to our guests in New York and Boston. With this acquisition, we are also able to make a much stronger connection to guests in critical cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and build on the success we have already seen with our strategy in Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit. The acquisition fully embodies our philosophy of Epic for Everyone, making skiing and riding more accessible to guests across the U.S. and around the world.”

“The ski areas within the Peak Resorts portfolio exemplify the spirit of our sport as well as our Company’s mission to provide an Experience of a Lifetime to guests,” Katz added. “We’re thrilled to welcome the resorts and their employees into the Vail Resorts family and invest in their continued success.”

Vail Resorts will acquire 100% of Peak Resorts, Inc. at a purchase price of $11 per share, according to the company, which is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory review and Peak Resorts’ shareholder approval. The aggregate purchase price for all Peak Resorts common stock is estimated to be approximately $264 million. The company plans on financing the transaction through a combination of cash on hand, its existing revolver facility and expansion of its credit facility. In addition, Vail Resorts will be assuming or refinancing Peak Resorts’ outstanding debt.

When the transaction closes, Vail’s 2019-20 Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Military Epic Pass will include unlimited and unrestricted access to the 17 Peak Resorts ski areas. Guests with an Epic Day Pass will also be able to access the new ski areas as a part of the total number of days purchased. For the 2019-20 season, Vail Resorts will honor and continue to sell all Peak Resorts pass products, and Peak Resorts’ pass holders will have the option to upgrade to an Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass, following closing of the transaction.

“Vail Resorts has a proven track record of celebrating the unique identity of its resorts, while continually investing in the guest and employee experience. For this reason, we are confident that our resorts and employees will continue to thrive within the Vail Resorts network,” said Timothy Boyd, president and chief executive officer of Peak Resorts, in a news release from the company. “We are very proud of our track record over the last two decades in building the breadth, quality and accessibility of our resorts. We are thrilled that our guests will now have access to some of the world’s most renowned resorts.”

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, currently operates 17 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including locally at Northstar California Resort, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

The transaction is expected to close this fall, according to Vail. The parties expect operations at all Peak Resorts ski areas to continue in the ordinary course of business. Upon closing, Vail Resorts said it plans to retain the vast majority of each resort’s employees.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.

Permanent pickleball court served into play at Kilner Park

Tahoe Public Utility District hosted a July 11 grand opening and ribbon-cutting at the new Kilner Park pickleball courts, with over 30 pickleball players of all ages and abilities — including three past national champions, Matthew Blom (USA Champion), Emanuel Sanchez (Mexico Champion) and Ron Schmeck, USA’s oldest pickleball champion at 88 years old.

Pickleball is one of fastest growing sports and combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and is played with a paddle and Wiffle ball in singles or in teams of two. The project was identified as a community need and embraces an emerging recreational group.

Kilner Park is located 3.5 miles south of Tahoe City on the corner of Highway 89 and Ward Avenue. This wooded 7-acre park adjacent to the west shore bike trail has a playground, lighted tennis and pickleball courts, sand volleyball court, walking and biking trails, picnic tables, group BBQ area and restrooms.

The public pickleball and tennis courts are open daily in summer and fall from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

For more information about TCPUD Parks and Recreation and other District services, please call 530-583-3796, visit tcpud.org.

Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic ends run at 10 Truckee area tournaments

After 10 years of tournaments and fundraising in the Truckee area, the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic will not be held this year.

The annual tournament had traditionally been contested in the days ahead of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament, attracting dozens of professional and retired athletes to local courses for a round of golf benefiting the Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund.

“After 10 very successful years, Terri Upshaw, Sam McCullum and Pat Allen, the Executive Planning Committee for the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic, have decided not to continue the tournament in 2019,” wrote Gene Upshaw’s wife, Terri Upshaw, in a letter posted to the tournament’s website. “Everyone is extremely grateful to all of the sponsors, participants, celebrities, volunteers and staff for their role in the success of the event. It would not have been possible without all of you. Our communities and the entire team at Tahoe Forest Health System are forever grateful.”

During the tournament’s 10 years, more than $1.5 million was raised for the Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund, which supports the Tahoe Forest Health System, the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, and the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research.

“The golf tournament was always intended to be for 10 years. It’s all part of what was expected to happen,” said Tahoe Forest Health System Director of Marketing and Communications Paige Thomason. “We’re not sure if there will be another tournament in the future.”

Upshaw was a Pro Football Hall of Fame guard, who played for the Oakland Raiders from 1967-81.

“Gene was a good friend and mentor. We used to go at it at times, but I had the greatest of respect for him,” Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen told the Sierra Sun during the 2017 tournament at Schaffer’s Mill Golf & Lake Club. “When I was a 22-year-old rookie, Gene was in his 16th year in the NFL, and he was almost like a big brother, kind of looking out for me. So it’s great to come up here and to continue to perpetuate his legacy.”

Off the field, Upshaw was a member of the bargaining committee for the NFL Player’s Association in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also served as the association’s executive director.

While at his home in Lake Tahoe in August of 2008, Upshaw fell ill. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Aug. 17, and passed away three days later. A year later, his wife Terri Upshaw began the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic

“Gene Upshaw meant a lot to a lot of people – head of the (NFL Players Association),” said former Olympic athlete and NFL wide receiver Willie Gault following his team’s win at the 2017 tournament. “Really helped us to fight for our rights as players.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.