Tahoe Downhill Ski Guide | Winter 2017-18

Courtesy Kirkwood Mountain Resort

How much snow will Tahoe receive this year? It’s a question on everybody’s mind. Forecasters are already posting their predictions while the rest of us are taking bets. Will we receive another epic record year of 573 inches? Will it be an average year? (Tahoe’s average snowfall is 409 inches.) With all of the talk there is one thing for certain: winter is coming. So let’s talk about skiing, resorts and all the reasons we visit and live in the Tahoe Sierra.

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Courtesy Auburn Ski Club

Auburn Ski Club Training Center
Opens Nov. 18

Auburn Ski Club Training Center offers multi-discipline winter sports programs and affordable winter activities. With a full range of programs and facilities for alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding and biathlon, the ASC Training Center on Donner Summit provides a one-place-fits-all solution for families looking for top-notch and affordable winter recreation opportunities. The Center includes a 6,000-square-foot winter sports facility, a 25 km cross-country center and a competition venue.

With roots in ski jumping that date back to the club’s founding in 1928 at Cisco Grove, the center has evolved to become a premier training center that offers ski racing and a premier snowboard training center. Junior programs for 6 to 18 year olds and adult programs are available. Anyone that is in a downhill ski program also receives a Boreal ski pass. | auburnskiclub.org


Jake Pollock | Boreal Mountain Resort


Boreal Mountain Resort
Open

With six lifts and 41 trails, Boreal is renowned for its state-of-the-art terrain parks and is the home for Woodward Tahoe, which fosters lifestyle and action sports progression through daily programs and week-long camps. The Playland snow tubing area offers additional fun on the hill.

Boreal and Woodward Tahoe recently launched the largest solar PV system in the California ski industry. The resort has expanded its base lodge and the eatery offers guests a new dining experience with grass-fed burgers, artisanal French fries and more vegetarian options.

Look for the Burton Qualifier on Jan. 27 and the Boreal Banked Slalom on March 10 and 11. As well, Boreal will introduce a Spring Music Series this season. | rideboreal.com


 

Chris Bartkowski | Diamond Peak

Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Opens Dec. 14

Diamond Peak has announced new improvements for the upcoming ski season including a new terrain park on the Lakeview run, more perks for season passholders, increased snowmaking productivity and a new program highlighting the resort’s history and natural beauty. There will also be on-mountain interpretive ski and snowboard tours.

Terrain park skiers and riders looking to progress his or her park skills will have a new, beautiful venue to practice in as Diamond Peak is relocating the small to mid-sized progression park from Popular to the Lakeview run. The benefits for riders include an incredible Lake Tahoe backdrop, plus the ability to quickly ride laps in the park when the Ridge chairlift is running. Accessible via the Crystal Express and Ridge chairlifts, the new Lakeview terrain park will offer creative features and a flowing layout focused on maximizing fun, building confidence and preparing safely for Diamond Peak’s larger features in the Spillway terrain park. | diamondpeak.com


 

Nicole Cheslock

Donner Ski Ranch
Opening TBA

Exciting things are happening at Donner Ski Ranch as the resort has added two terrain parks this season. The resort has purchased two new snowcats this year: one for trail grooming and the other for terrain park grooming.

DSR also welcomes Day Franzen as its new general manager. Franzen has an extensive background in terrain parks. In addition they’ve hired a new chef who has created a new menu and the Lytton Lake Lodge is open seven days a week from 11a.m. to 9 p.m.

Historic and iconic, Donner Ski Ranch is a family-friendly resort that features a variety of terrain, where skiers and riders of all abilities can enjoy this mountain oasis. With one of the highest base elevations in the Sierra, Donner Ski Ranch boasts incredible powder, along with aggressive high-mountain and backside terrain. The resort offers easy access to novice runs, offers group and private ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals and a tubing park. | donnerskiranch.com


 

Courtesy Granlibakken

Granlibakken Tahoe
Opens Dec. 15

Granlibakken Tahoe is an excellent learning slope for beginning skiers and riders. Affordable lift tickets and group lessons are offered Fridays through Mondays. Granlibakken’s popular sled hill offers winter fun for guests and locals alike and is open daily.

For those who enjoy the uphill as much as the downhill, Granlibakken offers 74 acres of trails to explore by ski or snowshoe. There is easy access to Page Meadows or the Tahoe Rim Trail for those who wish to explore Tahoe’s snowy back country. | granlibakken.com


 

Courtesy Heavenly Mountain Resort

Heavenly Mountain Resort
Opens Nov. 17

Heavenly is the only ski resort in North America to span two states. The resort allows skiers and riders to experience the absolute best of both California and Nevada terrain.

With 4,800 acres of off-the-grid terrain and incredible views of Lake Tahoe combined with high-energy on-mountain experiences and nightlife, Heavenly offers an amazing resort experience. With customized on-demand ski and ride school lessons and GoPro Ski and Ride School lessons, Heavenly takes ski and ride school to a new level.

The Tahoe Mountain Lab On-Mountain Co-Working Space offers a place to work when not on the hill. Vail Resorts has committed to a zero net operating footprint by 2030. This includes zero net emissions, zero waste to landfills and zero net operating impact on forests and habitat. | skiheavenly.com


 

Kiwi Kamera | Homewood Mountain Resort

Homewood Mountain Resort
Opens Dec. 8

Homewood Mountain Resort offers a host of options for all levels of skiers and boarders. Wide-open beginner runs near the base area, hidden powder stashes in the trees and multiple terrain parks are just a few of the adventures waiting on this hill.

Located on the West Shores of Lake Tahoe, the views from the slopes are awe-inspiring. Expanded terrain offerings include terrain parks and back-country skiing and riding with Snowcat Adventures.

Homewood is implementing environmentally conscious snow grooming technology, new season pass perks and a new Web site that makes trip planning easy. Passholders will also receive access to Silverton, Brundage and Red Lodge Mountain. Homewood will also participate in the Tahoe Fund’s Green Bucks program to support the efforts of the Tahoe Fund and the Truckee River Watershed. | skihomewood.com


 

Courtesy Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Opens Nov. 22

Magical, raw, expansive and remote, Kirkwood is the stuff of legend. With some of the deepest, driest snow around and some of the most diverse and challenging terrain, Kirkwood offers big mountain riding with small town attitude.

Explore 2,000 feet of vertical drop and more than 2,300 acres of terrain from calm groomed beginner runs to hair-raising cornices, cliffs and the highest angle grooming around, there’s something for everyone at the ‘Wood.

Safety and avalanche education allows skiers and riders to hone in on his or her skills while navigating Kirkwood’s signature chutes, cornices and bowls. American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) classes, along with women’s clinics and camps are offered on the mountain, along with guided excursions into the back country through Expedition: Kirkwood. | kirkwood.com


 

Courtesy Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
Open

Following a record-setting season that extended until Memorial Day, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe was the first resort to open in the Tahoe Sierra for the 2017-18 season on Oct. 27 and 28.

Mt. Rose invested more than $2 million this year in capital improvements. The resort introduces MAGIC, a modern, dual conveyor surface lift in an enclosed gallery that is designed to offer an enhanced experience for beginners and children with unprecedented access to Mt. Rose’s learning terrain and protection from the elements.

Additional projects include expanded snowmaking and snow grooming capabilities, and facility upgrades at the Winters Creek Lodge. Additional snowmaking at the top of the Blazing Zephyr 6 lift allows snowmaking on the Return to Rose trail. The increased capacity will allow the Slide Bowl side of the mountain to open earlier, giving skiers and riders access to more of the mountain earlier in the season. Pole Cat snow machines will be installed in the Enchanted Forest Area, just above the Wizard loading station, and on the Lower Lakeview trail to enhance early season snow coverage and terrain access.

Mt. Rose boasts the highest base elevation in Lake Tahoe at 8,260 feet. With panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, Reno and the Carson Valley and plenty of varied terrain for all skiers and riders, Mt. Rose is a must-ski location. | skirose.com


 

Courtesy Northstar California

Northstar California
Opens Nov. 23

Boasting 2,280 vertical feet and 3,170 acres of skiable terrain, skiers and snowboarders can begin the day at sunrise at Northstar with First Tracks this season, where mountain guides take two groups on a tour of the mountain before lifts open to the public and offer private access to freshly groomed runs across the entire mountain.

This year skip the lift lines with the Platinum Piste experience where skiers and snowboarders with Platinum Passes have access to the exclusive, location-rotating run offered on Saturdays, experiencing the best conditions throughout the day.

The Epic Local Pass offers skiers and snowboarders unlimited access to Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe, Park City Utah, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, as well as 10 days at Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, Beaver Creek and Stowe Mountain Resort. | northstarcalifornia.com


 

Courtesy Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra-at-Tahoe
Opening TBA

Since 1946, Sierra-at-Tahoe has been shoveling out fun for the entire family. Sierra has expanded its learning environment and features Smart Terrain, a designated, sculpted terrain that fosters an elevated learning curve so guests can progress more efficiently and gain confidence in the sport.

Olympic gold medalists Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman and Hannah Teter train at Sierra as they prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The 320 acres to the east of Grandview Express known as Huckleberry Canyon offer accessible, pristine back-country terrain that winter dreams are made of. There is plenty of great tree skiing on this hill.

Passholder perks include bring a friend for free on select Fridays and the Powder Alliance with three free days at La Parva in Chile or Bogus Basing in Idaho along with 14 other resorts to complete 48 days of free skiing at some of the best powder stashes in the West and around the world. | sierraattahoe.com


 

Courtesy Sky Tavern

Sky Tavern Ski Area
Opening TBA

Sky Tavern Ski located on the Mt. Rose Highway is one of the oldest nonprofit ski and snowboard training facilities in America. Since 1948, tens of thousands of kids have been taught skiing and snowboarding with some going on to greatness as members of U.S. Ski Teams. Tamara McKinney and Reno’s first Olympic Gold Medalist, David Wise, both got their skiing starts at Sky Tavern.

Best known for the Junior Ski Program, a volunteer-staffed program, operating during the winter on weekends with the parents helping for a few hours. Certified ski and snowboard instructors and coaches that oversee all training. Lessons range from first time on the snow to advance all mountain and alpine racing. Sky Tavern may best be described as a co-op where parents and other adults run a training ski area for the kids. The ski area is not open for public use of the runs, but the programs are open to everyone. | skytavern.com


 

Jake Pollock | Soda Springs

Soda Springs Resort
Opening TBA

Founded in 1935, Soda Springs is California’s oldest continuously operating ski resort. Welcoming, relaxed and perfect for families new to snow, Soda Springs offers 15 runs serviced by five lifts. Young folks love Planet Kids, a dedicated snow play area designed for children ages 8 and older, featuring snow tubing, snow volcanoes to climb and the Woodward Experience ski and ride program. The new spin on snowsports includes Woodward experience zones with new snow terrain in the resorts StartPark, an innovative way for people to learn to ski and snowboard. Soda Springs’ snowmaking system uses 100 percent recycled water. In addition, the resort renovated and upgraded its lodge this year.

Soda Springs hosts its Snowball Festival from Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17. The 35th annual Tom Sims Retro Worlds makes its way back to Soda Springs as the longest running snowboard event in the industry. | skisodasprings.com


 

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows
Opens Nov. 17

Following record-breaking snowfall last season and the resort’s latest-ever closing date of July 15, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort has invested $4 million in snow safety tools and training and is hiring more staff. The resort also announced its plan to install a base-to-base gondola connecting the Village at Squaw Valley and the base area at Alpine Meadows. The freshly branded California Express gondola is targeted to open for the 2019-20 season. | squawalpine.com

Courtesy Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows

The lodge at Alpine Meadows saw improvements this season including eight new automatic sliding doors for easier entry from the sun deck into the mezzanine level of the building. An overhaul of several air compressors for a more efficient use of resources when making snow, along with new state-of-the-art avalanche control equipment will support the resorts efforts to keep the mountain safe and maintain Alpine Meadows Road.

Courtesy Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley

At Squaw Valley new things abound. The season welcomes a new trail name, Secret Garden, for Squaw Valley’s competition mogul course, a partnership with Genting Resort Secret Garden in China and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ heightened engagement in the fast-growing Chinese skier market. The resort also added Niseko to the Mountain Collective pass.

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the NASTAR National Championships returns to Squaw Valley from March 21 to 26. Team USA celebrates the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games with a stop at Squaw Valley on Jan. 13.


Courtesy Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
Opening TBA

Sugar Bowl is ready for winter and the resort caters to folks that love the authentic alpine downhill ski experience.

Sugar Bowl has made more than $3 million in improvements this year with enhanced services with the kids ski & board school, snow removal, grooming, lift operations, and food and beverage upgrades. Four new snowcats have been acquired to maintain high-quality snow surfaces: two winch cats will provide cable-assisted snow grooming capabilities that are essential for steep terrain and two additional snow cats have the capability of free-grooming and sculpting terrain park features. Sugar Bowl snow removal fleet will make it easier for skiers and snowboarders to get to the resort improving maintenance of Old Highway 40. | sugarbowl.com


 

D. Hougard | Tahoe Donner

Tahoe Donner Ski Resort
Opens Dec. 8

Summertime trail maintenance will allow additional tree skiing off Eagle Ridge Chair on the backside of the ski resort and allow for earlier operations in lower snow conditions, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for skiers and riders. Tahoe Donner Ski Resort complete renovation of the outdoor sundeck located at the base area lodge was completed over the summer. | tahoedonner.com