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Resorts open for ski season

ANDREW BECKER, Sun News Service

While Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows opened Nov. 24, most resorts will have to rely on machine-made snow to keep conditions fresh over the weekend.

According to Mike Peschner of Golden West Meteorology, the Tahoe Basin should experience a dry, mild Thanksgiving weekend, typical of late fall weather in the area.

“It should be a nice weekend for a vigorous hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail or to hike Mt. Tallac, if one doesn’t mind the snow,” Peschner said.

An inversion should occur in the Tahoe Basin, with warmer temperatures at elevations above lake level. High temperatures for the weekend should be in the 30s to mid to upper 40s, with lows ranging from 12 to 24 degrees. Increasing clouds are expected Sunday with Monday being mostly cloudy and rain likely at lake level turning to snow Tuesday.

Although snow isn’t in the immediate forecast, ski enthusiasts need not be overly concerned about dry early season conditions, Peschner said. He still predicts a colder than normal winter, with above average snowfall. Using the Donner Summit snow lab as a resource, Peschner indicated that snowfall for this season is not far behind what it was last year.

“On November 23 last year there were 18″ of snow on the ground with a seasonal snowfall to date of 43.” As of the same date this year snow cover was 14″ with a seasonal snowfall of 32.” So, it’s really only four inches behind.”

Peschner’s long range forecast calls for all resorts to be open by the end of the first week of December to the middle of the second week.

“Storms should come through that will give us the good snow cover we need,” Peschner said.

Both Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows have taken advantage of recent cold temperatures in production of snow. As a result, Alpine Meadows has two feet of natural and machine made snow on its trails and opened Nov. 24 with intermediate and advanced runs, including Roundhouse quad chair.

“It’s a real winter-winterland up here,” said Rachael Woods, public relations coordinator at Alpine Meadows. “People were skinning up on Tuesday, and rumor has it snow was waist deep at Beaver Bowl.”

Woods said Kangaroo chair was not far behind Roundhouse in opening, but she couldn’t guarantee its running Nov. 24.

Alpine Meadows concessions are operating as well with instruction, food and rentals all available for kids and adults. Opening day lift tickets (Nov. 24) are $26 for adults, $17 for ages 13-18, $14 for ages 65-69 and $6 for children 12 and under and adults 70 and up.

Squaw Valley USA also opened Nov. 24, exactly 50 years to the day of its inaugural season in 1949. As weather permits, lifts operating on opening day include the Funitel and the Cable Car as well as Siberia Express, Shirley Lake Express, Mainline, East Broadway, Belmont, Bailey’s Beach and Links. Opening day lift ticket prices are $39 for adults ($29 for adult afternoon tickets from 1 to 4 p.m.), juniors (13-15 years) and seniors (65-75 years) tickets are $19, children 12 and under tickets are $5 and seniors 75 and older ski for free. High Camp is also open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Currently making snow, Homewood Mountain Resort is scheduled to begin operations Dec. 15 with its first Wild Wednesday of the season.

“Our policy here is to open with 100 percent of terrain available,” said Collier Cook of HMR. The resort will host its 10th annual Ho-Ho-Homewood toy drive Dec. 17. With the donation of a new and unwrapped toy, skiers can purchase a lift ticket for $5.

All Truckee and Donner Summit area ski resorts should all be open by Thanksgiving, but it’s like eating corn one kernel at a time.

Due to the fact that it’s so early in the winter season, none of the resorts are fully open.

Boreal, which has been blowing snow since mid-October, has about 70 percent of the mountain open. With 13-20 inches of snow cover, it has six lifts operating and about 18-20 trails from which to choose.

The front side of the mountain at Donner Ski Ranch is open, representing about 35 percent of the trails accommodating all levels of skiing. On Donner Summit, the area has about 8-16 inches of snow.

Sugar Bowl has about 2-3 feet of snow but has only one trail open. The “trailblazer” is an intermediate run.

Northstar-at-Tahoe opened three beginner runs this weekend. It has two lifts running and about 12-18 inches of snow.

Soda Springs and Tahoe Donner both have chosen Thanksgiving as their opening day.


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