Ski season gearing up to shut down |

Ski season gearing up to shut down

Sierra Sun file photoSquaw Valley USAs unrestricted adult full season pass, which goes on sale March 20 for $949, is $940 less than this years price.

LAKE TAHOE Its the beginning of the end for this years ski season as resorts looking to salvage whats left of an economically cold winter begin turning up the heat on skiers and riders with spring deals and discounts on next years season passes.One of the most aggressive deals being touted has been Squaw Valley USAs unrestricted adult full season pass, which goes on sale March 20 for $949, $940 less than this years price.Coined the 50/60 pass, its dramatic drop in price is part of a celebratory season that will mark Squaws 60th year as a resort and the 50th anniversary of the Winter Olympics held there.It is our hope that the restructured season pass pricing is seen as a welcome benefit during these tough economic times, said Squaw Valley USA Chairman andamp; CEO Nancy W. Cushing. As for the rest of this season, Squaw will be offering a $179 unrestricted spring pass, which will be valid through the remainder of the season expected to end in mid may, according to the resorts spokeswoman Savannah Cowley. At other Tahoe resorts, the purchase of next years season pass will get you on the slopes for the remainder of this year, meaning new pass-holders will ski free through most of April.Northstar-at-Tahoe season passes, which will cost the same as this years $649 pass, go on sale March 23 and will be honored through the scheduled closing day of April 19. And Diamond Peak Ski Resorts season passes, which went on sale Monday for $454, will also be valid through the end of their season.We’re going to stay open as long as conditions permit, said Kayla Anderson, marketing coordinator for Diamond Peak, of their tentative closing date. We’re still sticking with our scheduled closing date of April 12, but if we’re not generating enough skier visits after that then there would be no reason to stay open.Likewise, Jessica Van Pernis, Northstars communications manager, said a spring snow and increased demand could keep Northstar open a week or two past their scheduled closing day, but added, Who knows. At this point its not decided.With 171-inch base and $159 unrestricted spring passes on sale, Alpine Meadows season is still too early to call, said their spokeswoman Rachael Woods. Woods also said their vice president and general manager will be taking the economy into consideration when deciding on next years season pass prices, which have yet to be determined. Elsewhere, Vail Resorts Epic Season Pass for its Colorado and California resorts went on sale last Wednesday for $579. The pass has no blackout dates and is accepted at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and Arapahoe Basin.And on the east coast, Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginias largest ski resort, will close this Sunday despite a 35-inch-average base of snow. The resort is losing its customers as spring break comes to an end and Easter break is still weeks away, spokeswoman Laura Parquette told the Associated Press.

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