Get off your duff and head to the summer slopes
Tahoe ski resorts are geared up and outdoor enthusiasts are going full speed ahead into the summer season following a mostly mild weather spring. Locals and visitors will find hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing and even stargazing at the resorts around the Tahoe Truckee area this summer.
As the snowpack has receded up the mountain, Northstar-at-Tahoe has answered the call of summer by gradually opening its warm-weather activities. The 18-hole golf course is now in full operation.
The par-72 course has a wide-open front nine holes and narrower, tree-lined varied back nine holes. There are a driving range, restaurant, pro shop and lessons.
Higher up on the mountain the trails are opening soon for hiking and mountain biking. Two lifts will begin running June 16. The first day of operation, mountain bike riders may ride and use the Northstar Mountain Bike Park free. The Mountain Bike Park has 100 miles of trails, two chairlifts and a full-service bicycle shop with bike rentals.
The trails are a mix of single track and dirt roads that crisscross Mt. Pluto and Lookout Mountain. They tie into trails and roads that access Lake Tahoe’s North and West Shores and Truckee.
Full suspension mountain bikes are available for rent for children and adults. The rental includes a free souvenir water bottle and use of a helmet and gloves.
Cycling lessons and daily guided mountain bike tours of the mountain are offered.
Northstar also offers horseback riding, an adventure park and fly-fishing to the public. Swimming pools, 10 tennis courts and a fitness center are available to the resort’s lodging guests.
– SQUAW VALLEY USA
Squaw Valley USA closed its mountain to skiing on May 29 and is wasting no time jumping into the summer season. The new Adventure Center, featuring the indoor climbing wall, orienteering (map and compass) course and the ropes course is already open.
Regular favorites, such as the Olympic Pavilion ice skating rink, swimming pool and spa at the top of the tram are in operation and the mountain should be open by July 8 for mountain biking and hiking, said Katja Dahl, media/public relations manager.
Also at the mountaintop Shangri-la are six tennis courts and a 25-foot-diameter hot spa. Full moon hikes are held in July and August at the top of the tram. Hikers may explore and walk at their own pace the trails on the upper mountain. The three-hour hikes depart from the High Camp Bath and Tennis Club at the top of the tram.
Stargazing is offered on four weekends throughout the summer with telescopes provided by Bob Graf and associates from the Astrological Society of Nevada. They will answer astronomy questions while viewing the stars, nebulas, galaxies, double stars, planets and the occasional comet and meteor shower that may not be visible with the naked eye.
Horseback riding is available in the Squaw Valley meadow at the Squaw Valley Stables. The stables offer a variety of rides daily through Labor Day.
For golfing at Squaw Valley, the Resort at Squaw Creek has 18 holes on its par-70 Scottish-style links course on the south side of the meadow.
– HOMEWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT
New this summer, Homewood Mountain Resort will be operating one lift for hiking and mountain biking access to the mountain. June 24 is the scheduled opening date.
There will be five hiking trails, including Ore Car, Flume Trail and Lombard Canyon, which is the longest, about a four-hour round trip, said Collier Cook, marketing director.
The Madden Chair will be open for scenic rides every day except Mondays. There will be 10 to 15 miles of basic biking trails, but with superb views, Cook added.
The resort’s Quail Lake Fly-fishing Club is an exclusive private lake fishing experience open to members only.
The fly-fishing club is entering its second year of operation. The secluded 11-acre lake is stocked yearly, said Cook, with thousands of pounds of “hot fish” – Rainbow Trout – that are purportedly “fighters.”
The fishing opens June 15 and runs through Oct. 1, weather permitting. Fly-fishing and catch-and-release only is permitted with barbless hooks required at Quail Lake.
Membership to the fly-fishing club is $1,000 yearly.
The Homewood Paint Ball park opens June 24. The popular diversion is also entering its second year of operation.
The basic package includes 100 paint balls, CO2 tanks, use of goggles and chairlift access. Several packages are available.
– TAHOE-DONNER SKI AREA
The Tahoe-Donner Association in Truckee operates a downhill and cross country ski area in the winter and golf, horseback riding and a campground in the summer season.
“We have 33 horses available to the public daily, with barbecue rides on Fridays,” said Kit Kelly, Amenities Manager.
The Equestrian Center is located on the upper end of Alder Creek Drive at the cross country ski area site. It offers guided rides of various durations with the first ride departing at 9 a.m. and the last ride of the day at 4 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Hay rides are available for the those who may not want to go for a horseback ride, Kelly said.
The 18-hole Tahoe Donner Golf Course is open for the season along with the driving range, pro shop and restaurant. The 6,917-yard course has a par-72 rating. The campground is at the lower end of Alder Creek Drive.
– DONNER SUMMIT RESORTS
There are hiking trails, mountain bike trails, small lakes and the Yuba River for fishing in and around the ski resorts on Donner Summit.
Donner Ski Ranch offers motorcycle, bicycle and auto show events throughout the summer. Sugar Bowl, Boreal Mountain Playground and Soda Springs Ski Area do not offer organized outdoor activities in the summer.
The Pacific Crest Trail can be accessed from Donner Summit and some of the resorts near the trailhead allow backpackers to park in the lots. Call ahead to confirm.
– ALPINE MEADOWS SKI AREA
Alpine Meadows closes up shop for the summer, but there are trails in and around the area for hiking and mountain biking. Near the bottom of Alpine Meadows Road is the Alpine Meadows Stables, open daily for horseback riding with a variety of trails for one-, two- and half-day rides.
The half-day ride follows trails to the top of Scott Peak at the eastern end of the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.
Trips are offered through mountain forests with fields of wildflowers and to vistas of Olympic Valley. The stables are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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