Excellent spring skiing conditions

Thanks to the continuing snowstorms sweeping the Sierra Nevada resorts are rethinking closing plans. For instance:

-- With the deepest snow and some of the best conditions Sierra-at-Tahoe has seen all season, the resort has opted to stay open through April 27 -- one week longer than the closing date that was originally planned.

Beginning next week, the resort will offer all-day lift tickets at the afternoon rates, which are: $40 for adults, $33 for young adults and $11 for children. The entire front side of the mountain will be open for the final week of the season with Nob Hill, Grandview Express and Easy Rider Express in operation. There will be two terrain parks open on Upper Main and Broadway, as well as the ever-popular 17-foot Superpipe. Base services and lessons will be available.

Also Monday, Sierra-at-Tahoe will hold its annual Customer Appreciation Day, to thank all of its guests for making it a great 2002/03 winter season. All-day lift tickets for adults, young adults and children will be sold for just $10. The money made that day will be used to sponsor local sports teams and support other philanthropic efforts in the community.

After receiving more than 4 feet of snow last weekend, the resort has a current base depth of seven to 11 feet of powder, machine groomed and skier packed powder. Log onto http://www.sierraattahoe.com/.E

--Sugar Bowl's final day of operation for the 2002/2003 season will be Sunday, April 27. The base depth at Sugar Bowl's summit is back up to 15 feet and the mid-winter conditions are fantastic.

The sales price for Sugar Bowl's hugely popular Slightly Restricted pass (valid Sunday through Friday, holidays restricted) is currently only $359 for adults for the 2003/2004 season. That is $40 less than last year. Young Adult (13-22) passes are $259.

You can buy your pass today by calling 530-426-9000.

Use your Visa card or cash and pay only $35 Monday through Friday this spring at Sugar Bowl.

Guests presenting their season pass from any other resort can buy a $20 lift ticket at Sugar Bowl.

-- And despite rumors to the contrary, Heavenly will remain open through April 27.

"Snow conditions are possible the best of the season," reports marketing department's Molly Cuffee.

-- At Alpine Meadows they haven't even set a closing date. This is the best snowfall in April for Alpine since the resort began keeping records in 1991, with 43 to 54 inches falling over last week.

"Ski and snowboard conditions are the best they've been all year," says Brad Wilson, marketing director. The Pig Air Festival returns to Alpine Meadows Saturday, April 26. This will be a benefit for the North Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club. Entry fee is $15 with a season pass, Call (530) 581-8328.

-- As a result of the new snow, Squaw Valley USA, the Spring Skiing Capital of North America, expects to remain open for skiing and snowboarding through May 26. The current base depth at 8,200 feet is over 11 feet with over 3 feet falling during the past 24 hours.

"The new snow is incredible," says Jimmy King, mountain manager for Squaw Valley Ski Corp. "It is deep and should make for an excellent spring season."

Saturday at noon, kids of all ages are invited to bring anything that can be pushed, pulled or pedaled and does not have a motor to the Village at Squaw Valley for the first "recycling themed" Push Pull or Pedal Eco Parade. The parade route will wind through the Village and base area of Squaw and prizes will be awarded to the best creations based on originality, creativity, appeal and environmental friendliness.

Following a sunrise service, the search begins as soon as the lifts open on Easter Sunday for the resort's all-mountain egg hunt. Squaw Valley's Easter Bunnies will strategically place 20 eggs at locations around the resort. All guests need to do is find them. Once found, they simply bring the eggs to High Camp's Poolside Cafe after noon where they can be exchanged for cut-price lunch and discount lift tickets.

For the kids, the Easter Bunny will be on hand at the Squaw Children's Center throughout the day to entertain Squaw Valley's younger skiers and snowboarders, participate with lessons and help eager youngsters with a special egg hunt of their own.

The Resort at Squaw Creek also hosts a festive Easter Egg Hunt at 9 a.m. for kids ages 2-6 and at 9:30 a.m. for ages 7-10.

-- At Homewood they are still open but will probably close this weekend, depending on skier traffic. An Easter egg hunt will be staged on Saturday. (Almost all resorts will be holding Easter egg hunts.) As usual, adult all day lift tickets are only $25.

-- Northstar-at-Tahoe said yesterday that the resort will be open through Easter, but odds are an extension may come about.

-- And down Highway 395, start a new holiday tradition with Mammoth's first annual Easter Pond Skim. Try your skills at crossing Mammoth's pond or just come on out to watch this. Event registration begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday with Pond Skim kicking off 2 p.m. Incidentally, they have 3 feet of fresh snow at Mammoth.

It's a jungle out there as far as closings and Easter egg hunts, but one thing is for sure: we've got outstanding spring skiing conditions. Let's see, which resort tomorrow ...

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.


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