Resorts lift into new season |

Resorts lift into new season

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunSkiers and snowboarders ride up the Arrow Express lift at Northstar-at-Tahoe on Monday. Northstar opened on Saturday.

The first substantial snowstorm to sweep through the Northern Sierra has Tahoe-area ski resorts firing up lifts and, if not already operating, announcing season-opening target dates.

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort opened Jerome Hill Lift, with access to 700 feet of vertical terrain on Trail Blazer run, Saturday on a man-made snow base of slightly less than a foot, said Kris York, the resort’s marketing manager.

“It was good,” York said of the opener. “There was a very nice sized crowd, a lot of season pass holders. There was actually a lot of pass holders from other mountains just because they were dying to get a taste of it.”

Recently retired Alpine ski racer Daron Rahlves of Truckee was among those on hand on the opening day, York said.

As of Monday afternoon, York said that Sugar Bowl had received 14 to 20 inches of fresh snow since the first flakes began falling on the slopes at around 9 a.m. on Sunday. Although it was “dumping all day” on Monday, York said, the resort will continue its snowmaking efforts throughout the week and is working to open Lincoln and Christmas Tree chairlifts by Thursday.

Ticket prices are being offered at a reduced rate of $25 for adults and $15 for children.

Northstar-at-Tahoe also opened on Saturday.

Over the weekend the resort operated its Arrow Express and Bear Paw lifts, with Woodcutter and Snowboard Alley open in the Northwest Territory area and upper and lower Main Street and Lumberjack open on Mt. Pluto, said Jessica VanPernis, communications supervisor for Northstar owner Booth Creek Resorts. Northstar had four terrain park features available, as well.

“We had quite a lot of people here,” VanPernis said of Saturday’s opener. “I think people are pumped that the season is finally starting.”

VanPernis said Northstar had received about 10 inches of new snow on its summit by midday Monday, and that there was already between an 8- and 18-inch base on the open runs over the weekend.

The resort will continue to make snow in an effort to open Pinball and Vista next, VanPernis said. Ticket prices remain at a reduced rate of $29 for adults and $9 for children.

Alpine Meadows is scheduled to open on Friday.

As of Monday afternoon the resort had received 10 inches of freshly fallen snow at the base lodge, said Rachael Woods, public relations manager.

And with “massive amounts of snow blowing around,” on the mountain the entire day, the storm had yet to finish packing its punch, Woods said, adding that she expected another 5 to 10 inches overnight.

“It’s nice snow, too, because of the cold temperatures,” she said. “It’s nice and wind-packed, which gives a good base.”

Woods said that with single-digit temperatures forecast for much of this week, the snowmaking guns will be pumping out the white stuff full force.

“It’s prime snow-making conditions. We’ll continue to do everything we can to push for as much terrain as possible,” she said.

Boreal Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows’ sister resort on Donner Summit, was the first Tahoe-region ski and snowboard area to open when it started running Gunnar’s Chair on Nov. 14. Boreal has since opened its Skate Bowl and an additional staircase feature by Planet Earth ” for a total of nine park features on the mountain, Woods said.

“So far it looks good (at Boreal),” Woods said. “Everything is starting to come together.”

Boreal lift tickets are priced at $30 for adults ” $25 at night ” and $10 for children.

Squaw Valley, which according to its Web site is scheduled to open for skiing and snowboarding on Friday, closed High Camp on Monday because of “high winds and a BIG winter storm.”

Diamond Peak and Homewood Mountain Resort are scheduled to open Dec. 14, according to the resorts’ Web sites, and Sierra-at-Tahoe and Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe have yet to announce an opening day.

On the South Shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort opened on Thanksgiving and Kirkwood kicked its season off on Saturday. Heavenly’s lifts were on “wind hold” due to the stormy conditions on Monday.

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