Lake Tahoe-area resorts announce Friday as 2018-19 season opener
Storms have yet to dump snow on the slopes of the Lake Tahoe-area mountains, but weeks’ worth of work by resort crews along with upgraded snowmaking capabilities have made it possible for several mountains to begin spinning lifts this week.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, Heavenly Mountain, and Soda Springs Mountain Resort have all announced Friday, Nov. 16, as opening day for the 2018-19 season, joining Mount Rose Ski Tahoe and Boreal Mountain Resort as the region’s open mountains, thus far.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced both mountains will open on Friday, with access to the SnoVentures Activity Zone and Squaw Kids area at Squaw Valley, and the Kangaroo chairlift at Alpine Meadows.
The resort made opening day official in a release on Tuesday, and credited upgrades in its snowmaking capabilities for being able to give skiers and snowboarders an opportunity for the season’s first turns later in the week.
“We have continued to invest in snowmaking technology, and we are seeing that pay off this season,” Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said in a statement.
“Our snowmakers are some of the best in the business, and they are working tirelessly to get the resort open for our guests. It’s amazing to see our snowmaking and grooming teams putting a great snow surface together, even without natural snow, and even with largely unfavorable snowmaking conditions.”
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow has invested $9 million on snowmaking during the past eight years, and more than $1 million for the 2018-19 season.
At Squaw Valley, two magic carpets and the First Venture chairlift will be spinning at SnoVentures, from which guests can access beginner terrain. The Squaw Kids area will be open for children’s lessons. The scenic Aerial Tram will also open for the season, starting at 10 a.m. with the last download at 4:30 p.m. for sightseeing as well as food and drink at High Camp Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Lifts will spin from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and limited food and beverage offerings will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SnoVentures Activity Zone. Beginner ski tickets for SnoVentures will be on sale for $49 and snow tubing will cost $40. Day tickets at Alpine Meadows start at $84 for adults when purchased in advance. Guests are encouraged by the resort to check out the Opening Day Checklist for all the key information they need to know for their first day on the mountain this season.
The first guests of the season at Alpine Meadows will be welcomed with free coffee in a limited supply of complimentary Yeti mugs. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Ikon Pass swag will also be distributed throughout the day at Alpine Meadows. Last Chair Bar will be open at Alpine Meadows Base Lodge, along with Treats Cafe.
For premium parking, carpool to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this season. Vehicles with three or more people get free access to premium Protect Our Winters,“POW Parking,” situated directly north of The Village at Squaw Valley. The program is a partnership with Protect Our Winters to offer free premium parking to reward guests who elect to carpool to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, with a goal to reduce traffic and the resort’s carbon footprint. Due to the popularity of the program, according to the a statement from the resort, the POW Parking area at Squaw Valley has quadrupled.
At Alpine Meadows, POW Parking is located immediately adjacent to the Alpine Meadows Base Lodge. POW Parking will also be available for paid parking for non-carpool vehicles, with all spaces available on a first come, first served basis.
For more information, visit SquawAlpine.com.
Northstar announced it will kick off the season with three days of celebration, starting on Friday at 8:30 a.m., when the first chairs start spinning.
The resort has yet to announce details in regard to which lifts and what terrain will be open on Friday.
“We are snowmaking around the clock right now,” said Manager of Communications Stephanie Myers. “Things may change depending on how much snow we can make, (Northstar crews) are just cranking it out.”
On Friday afternoon, the Welcome to Winter Weekend will take over The Village at Northstar with live music, family photos, sleigh rides, village-wide Apre’s, and complimentary S’mores at 4 p.m. at The Village Skating Rink.
“Come ski in the the morning, and then take the rest of the afternoon to spend some time with the family and have Apre’s together,” said Myers. “It’s all about sipping, shopping, and hanging out with your friends after a great day. There’s going to be happy hour from 3 to 6 (p.m.) … it’s really going to be a fun, hanging-out atmosphere.”
Across the lake, Heavenly Mountain will also kick off the 2018-19 season on Friday, and like Northstar, the resort is blowing as much snow as possible before announcing terrain and features for opening day.
Heavenly will begin spinning the first lifts of the 2018-19 season at 9 a.m., and will also have complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts.
There will be a live house band at Tamarack Lodge and the resort’s DJ Cat will be cranking out tunes throughout the day. There will also be a complimentary happy hour for season passholders from 1 to 2 p.m. at Tamarack Lodge.
“We’re really excited about opening day, ” said Myers. “Our snowmaking team, I’d love to give them a huge shoutout. They are working so hard, and they are our heart and soul. We wouldn’t be where we are without them, and we all owe them a beer after we get open.”
For more information, visit SkiHeavenlyl.com.
Soda Springs Mountain Resort
Soda Springs announced it will open Planet Kids and Tube Town on Friday, marking the resort’s earliest opening in 85 years of operation.
Planet Kids, a snow playground designed for children (7 and under), and Tube Town will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thanksgiving.
For more information, visit SkiSodaSprings.com.
The forecast, according to the National Weather Service Office in Reno, shows a storm hitting the Truckee area on Wednesday, Nov. 21, bringing the chance of rain and snow showers to the region.