The ski season is inching closer and Lake Tahoe ski resorts are hoping for another La Nina visit this winter.
Long-range forecasts indicate ocean conditions this summer mirror last year, setting up the region for plenty of powder. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center issued a La Niña watch for the 2011-12 season and the Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for stormier-than-normal periods between November and December, with the heaviest in January.
With new terrain, wider runs and expanded resort options, skiers at South Lake Tahoe can anticipate bountiful skiing, boarding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing with arguably the best combination of beauty, recreation, dining, entertainment, gaming and nightlife in the country.
All-time records were approached in 2010-11 with more than 700 inches of snow at many Lake Tahoe resorts.
Heavenly ski resort: The south shore resort has several new mountain enhancements, including new and wider runs, new grooming machines, ground-breaking EpicMix technology and state-of-the-art learning tools for kids.
Heavenly added three new trails on the Nevada side of the mountain, accessed by the Galaxy Chairlift and providing a haven for intermediate and lower-intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
Trails have been widened on the California side making Heavenly’s 4,800 acres even bigger, spreading people out and allowing more groomed surface for skiers and riders to enjoy. Heavenly added two new Prinoth Beast grooming machines, increasing the largest fleet of the most technologically advanced and efficient groomers on the market to four.
A new 2,200 square-foot ski school facility at the top of the Gondola will match the level of its Heavenly’s world-class instructors. Kids can explore in the new adventure zone called Black Bear Hollow, a meandering, low angle skiing and riding trail with groomed whoop-de-doos, entry level progression park features small rails, gentle jumps and boxes designed to help youngsters explore.
The next generation of Vail Resorts’ popular ski and snowboard application, EpicMix will definitely change how guests take and share photos when it launches this season. Upon request, Heavenly’s photographers will take portrait and action photos and deliver to the guest’s EpicMix account by scanning a guest’s RF-enabled lift ticket or season pass. See www.skiheavenly.com for more information.
Sierra-at-Tahoe: A number of new features include Huckleberry Cat Tours, The Burton Riglet Park, additions to Blizzard Mountain and more value-added rates.
Thrill-seeking expert skiers and boarders will now be able to access the backcountry with the addition of the Huckleberry Canyon Cat tours. The guided tours shave time and energy getting to the canyon’s edge to access cliff and cornice drops, rock chutes, open bowls, gladed runs and powder pillows.
In partnership with Burton Snowboards, Sierra Resort’s new Burton Riglet Park is a mini-snowboard park designed to introduce kids as young as three to snowboarding. Along with its Learn to Ride Program, the resort will utilize Riglet Reel technology, allowing instructors to tow kids around obstacles.
The all-new Blizzard Mountain, a snow play and tubing area features two rope tow-accessible tubing lanes, an expanded snow play area, a bounce house, snack bar, fire pits, picnic tables and sledding. The 3-Pak lift tickets include Skiing or Riding for $51 a day over three days and are available through Dec. 16, 2011. Visit www.SierraAtTahoe.com or call (530) 659-7453.
Kirkwood MountainResort: The popular resort off Highway 88 has invested over $6 million in capital improvements, including upgraded on-slope accommodations at The Mountain Club. The upgrades include new two-bedroom condos converted from hotel suites, full workout room, spa and message treatment facilities. The improvement also comprises a newly re-designed, state of the art rental facility – one of Lake Tahoe’s most complete demo centers and the new Monte Wolfe’s restaurant.
Kirkwood Outfitters, a new $1 million facility, provides special clinics, private guides, backcountry awareness, classroom/conference center, high end retail, demo gear and is the hub for leaning about and exploring the backcountry.
The year-round Zip-Tahoe Tree Top Canopy Tour continues flying this season with eight lines with speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Kirkwood is vested in offering a diverse resort experience for kids of all ages with Thunder Mountain Snowmobiles – Tahoe’s only kids snowmobile park – evening snow cat tours and a new Tube Park.
Kirkwoodhas several new season pass deals starting at $199. For more information visit www.kirkwood.com or call (209) 258-6000.
Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center: For the person who doesn’t ski or snowboard, this snowmobile operates from late November until mid-April, featuring lake views at 9,000 feet. Lake Tahoe Adventures offers unguided snowmobile rentals for seasoned riders into the heart of Tahoe’s forest lands to the top of the mountain ridge as well as guided off-the-trail tours for less-experienced adventure seekers. Both locations feature moonlight snowmobile tours along with ride and dine options.
The winter months feature helicopter tours; horse-drawn sleigh rides with Borges Sleigh Rides; dog sled rides; boat cruises on the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II; and ice skating at the Heavenly Village or indoors at the City of South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.
Snowshoe and cross country trails abound Hope Valley, Fallen Leaf Lake and Camp Richardson’s 35 kilometers of groomed trails through dense trees and snow-covered beaches.
Read more knotmove.com ski stories:
- Sierra-at-Tahoe still has season pass deals
- Snowbomb Festival shows take place November in San Franicsco, Santa Clara
- Heavenly improvements for upcoming 2011-12 ski season
- Buy discount Tahoe Card by Sept. 15
- Shaun White talks about his snowboard/skateboard career
- Shaun White designing halfpipe at Northstar ski resort in Lake Tahoe
- Squaw Valley announces $50 million project
- What’s new at Kirkwood for 2011-12 season
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