Tahoe skiing: Opening dates, can’t-miss deals for all 14 downhill resorts
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — You hear that thumping sound? That’s the sound of skiers and snowboarders across the Truckee-Tahoe region — with bated (oftentimes visible) breath, gazing longingly at the mountains — eagerly tapping their feet like caffeinated teenagers bracing for the school year’s final bell.
Instead of itching to scurry into the warm freedom of summer, though, these snowsport enthusiasts, aching for snow-summoning temperatures, are primed to dive into the powder days of winter.
That’s right, winter is on the horizon, and the anticipatory buzz for the 2016-17 Truckee-Tahoe ski season to get underway is as high as a Sierra Nevada summit.
Just ask Tucker Norred, marketing and communications manager of Boreal Mountain Resort at Donner Summit. Boreal, which annually attempts to be the first Truckee-Tahoe area resort to open, is projected to open its slopes on Oct. 28.
“There was a lot of pent-up demand this past year, and it’s definitely trickling into this year,” Norred said. “There weren’t too many good winters recently and with last year being a good one, people are very excited.”
Indeed, last year’s strong winter has people all the more amped for this ski season. This was evident to Norred a few weeks back, on Sept. 22, when Boreal posted an Instagram video of the region’s first flurries of snow dusting the resort. To date, the video has more than 5,000 views and nearly 200 ecstatic, emoji-filled comments.
“Our social media posts have more likes and more shares than we’ve ever had,” Norred said. “I think last year not only created some new skiers and snowboarders, but we’re getting a lot of people to dust off their boards that have been sitting in the garage for multiple seasons.”
In fact, for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the resort saw skiers and riders carve down its 6,000 acres of terrain all the way through May 30 last year — Squaw’s longest season in a decade.
Looking to keep the pace, Liesl Kenney, public relations director at Squaw | Alpine, said the resort is opening earlier than originally planned this season, as it eyes the week of Nov. 11-18.
“Hosting Tahoe’s longest season adds momentum on both ends of the winter season,” Kenney said. “Once we get our snowmaking system fired up we will keep making snow around the clock, getting our guests on snow earlier than any other major resort in the Tahoe region.”
When the cold temperatures allow for snowmaking remain to be seen, however. The upper digits continue to hover around 60 degrees and are predicted to stay there through Halloween — though, with low temps dipping below freezing this time of year, snowmaking guns are at the ready.
“We always hope for as much as snow as Mother Nature is willing to give us,” said Cass Walker, senior communications coordinator at Northstar, which is shooting to open Nov. 18. “Of course, our snowmaking teams are really incredible at what they do and have their operations down to such a science that whether we get natural snowfall or not, the chairs will turn at Northstar.”
Check out when all 14 area resorts are projecting to turn their chairlifts below:
Opening day: Oct. 28, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Unlimited Season Pass — Ride every day of the season from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The adult pass is discounted at $259 through opening day.
Opening day: Dec. 15, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: The College Pass gives students ages 13-23 the option of a seven-day pass for $199 and a midweek pass for $159. Discounted rates run through Halloween.
Donner Ski Ranch
Opening day: TBD, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Season passes for adults (ages 18-69) are at a discounted rate of $249 through Oct. 15.
Opening day: Nov. 16, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Adults can ski a full day for $30 ($16 half day), while children can ski a full day for $20 ($10 half day).
Opening day: Nov. 18
Must-have pass: Tahoe Value Pass — ski or ride seven days a week at Heavenly and six days a week at Kirkwood and Northstar. The adult pass is $459. Sale prices only guaranteed through Sunday, Oct. 9.
Opening day: Dec. 9, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: 3-pack lift ticket, regularly priced at $198, is on sale for $177. The 3-pack can be used on any three days of the season.
Opening day: Nov. 18
Must-have pass: Kirkwood Pass — Perfect for people who only plan to ski or ride at Kirkwood with unlimited access. The adult pass is $549.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
Opening day: Oct. 31, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Adult Premier Pass — ski or ride seven days a week with no blackout dates for $529.
Opening day: Nov. 18
Must-have pass: Tahoe Local Pass — valid at Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood all week, every week; $549 for adults, $439 for teens and $279 for children.
Opening day: To be determined, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Sierra-at-Tahoe Value Pass — for $269, get full access Sunday-Friday (excluding blackout dates), along with free skiing and riding on select days at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.
Opening day: Dec. 4, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Unlimited Season Pass — $199 for adults; $149 for young adult and teens; $99 for children; $49 for seniors; and $29 for ages 4 and under.
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows
Opening day: Between Nov. 11-18, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: Tahoe Super Pass — get the Silver pass for $600 and ski all season at Squaw | Alpine (with just 10 blackout dates), as well as any two days at both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl.
Opening day: Dec. 10, conditions permitting
Must-have pass: College Pass — Unlimited access to Sugar Bowl for $489.
Opening day: Cross country: Nov. 23; Downhill: Dec. 9
Must-have pass: Combo Pass — offers the flexibility to cross-country ski, downhill ski, snowshoe or snowboard, starting at $335 for members and $419 for public.