While I more usually writing about things for Carson seniors, sometimes I like to branch out and comment on politics and sports such as skiing and hiking. Now that ski season is fully with us and all Tahoe resorts spinning their bull wheels, I’d like to share my experiences in skiing and 15 resorts, one all in one day.
Let’s start with resorts closest to us at Carson City: Diamond Peak, Mt.
Rose and Heavenly. Each has its special term and challenge.
Diamond Peak in in the posh Incline Village on Lake Tahoe. It is run by the village and doesn’t seek tourist skiers or boarders; this is a traditional resort which only wants to satisfy the locals. That means the crowds are modest and mostly Incline Villagers and friends. Lift tickets are about the less expensive around the lake, $59-67.
There’s a fine beginners lift and run right outside the lodge, and the quad chair takes riders to the peak. Runs can be challenging or easy, up to you.
And the ski/board school really is fun for kids, it’s not out to make a lot of moon. Many of my friends have enrolled their kids there. Parking is good, get there early and you can walk right up to the ticket booth.
Phone (775)832-1177, email www.diamondpeak.com
Mt. Rose boasts the highest base around Tahoe as well as a wide variety of runs, some really challenging like the Chutes. But it also have all levels of fun trials, the ones on the back pleasant touring.
The front runs face the main lodge, while those on Slide Mountain side are served by a qud chair an the River Lodge with its great view of Washoe Valley. Ski school here is fine and Rusty Crook used to hold Saturday group lessons preceded by frill lunch at the lodge bar. Rusty’s retired after more than 50 years of teaching (he helped prepare Mt. Rose as an alternate site for the 1960 Olympics which were saved by a surprise snow storm).
Lunch on the deck at either lodge offers a nice view of skiers and riders skimming the snow with a fine beginner are nearby. The Bowl on the front side of the resort is an intermediate’s delight, the Chutes only for experts.
Two parking areas, one serving the Slide Mountain side, the other at the top about 500 yards farther up the hill. Incidentally, Mt. Rose ski area isn’t on Mt. Rose; that peak is adjoining.
Phone (775) 849-0704, email www.skirose.com.
Which brings us to Heavenly Mountain Resort, which straddles California and Nevada. Four base areas for this gigantic mountain resort: Calbase in South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Village/Gondola in Stagecoach/South Lake Tahoe; Boulder lodge/ski school in Nevada; and Stagecoach lodge/area in Nevada.
Having taught skiing there for several years, it’s hardly surprising that it’s favorite Tahoe ski and riding area. I worked at the Boulder are, then pretty much a backwater for Heavenly, with Boulder lodge at the base and the big East Peak lodge halfway up the hill.
All the bases offer parking ($10 at the Gondola).
The resort is basically two resorts, Nevada and California. Cal side tends to be more crowded, with Nevada offering a wide range of trail levels. Killebrew and Mott canyons are in Nevada; they are expert only runs and and served by lifts from the Milky Way bowl.
Heavenly is so big and varied it’s near impossible to describe it all. The Gondola, starting in the Village, has an observation deck two-thirds of the way up, get off see Lake Tahoe in winter splendor, hop back on and get off at 9,136 feet, warm up at the Tamarack lodge and pick your fun. I’ve always enjoyed taking the Olympic Downhill from the top to the Boulder Lodge, knee-burning notwithstanding. Just a nice advanced blue run, leading back to Boulder base.
There’s a big ski/ride school at Calbase, smaller one a Boulder and another at the top of Adventure Peak, off the Gondola. As at all Tahoe resorts, ski and board instructors at members of the union, Professional Ski Instructors of America. Phone (800) 432-8365, email skiheavenly.com. Heavenly is owned by Vail Resorts.
I don’t do the bumps or black runs anymore with my iron knee, but I do love all of Heavenly, as well as Diamond Peak and Mt. Rose and … let’s save Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl for next time.
Sam Bauman writes an online-only column about skiing for the Nevada Appeal.