More lifts come alive | SierraSun.com

More lifts come alive

Seth Lightcap
Sierra Sun

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunFreestyle riders tackle a mini-park complete with multiple rail features and a tabletop jump at Northstar-At-Tahoe on opening day Saturday.

Despite a view of brown hills on every chairlift ride, local skiers and riders had good reason to celebrate Saturday as North Tahoe resorts Northstar-At-Tahoe and Squaw Valley USA both opened for the 2008/2009 winter with ski runs constructed of all manmade snow.

Northstar flexed the capabilities of the largest snowmaking system in Tahoe for opening day using 125 of its nearly 250 snow guns to make enough snow for three runs including a terrain park run complete with boxes, rails, and a table top jump.

Both the Vista Express and the Arrow Express lifts ferried opening day guests to the top of the runs.

“Getting back on the skis feels marvelous,” said Erik Heinke of Sunnyvale, Calif., after a few laps at Northstar Saturday. ” My new boots still hurt a bit, but the snow conditions are much better than I had expected. I’m impressed with how much snow they made.”

Squaw also used the recent cold snap to their advantage creating an exciting run next to the Exhibition/Searchlight lift. Skiers and riders of all ages took to the slope ripping their first turns of the season in the storied Olympic Valley.

“I’m stoked to have the lifts spinning again at Squaw, ” said Kerim Hussainy of Cedar Flat. “Good to get back on the snow and get some exercise.”

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The two resorts joined Boreal Mountain Resort, Mount Rose Ski Area, and Heavenly to bring the total number of Tahoe ski areas open for the winter to five.

Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Kirkwood, and Tahoe Donner Ski Area have tentatively announced they will open Friday, Dec. 12; Homewood on Dec. 18, and Diamond Peak as conditions permit.