Local resorts need some snow

Sam Bauman

With any luck the predicted storms this weekend will drop some fresh snow on the resorts.

Clearly, most of them need it badly. Northstar reports 16 of 21 runs open with five lifts running. Boreal has three lifts churning and night snowsporting. Soda Springs comes in with two lifts open. Sugar Bowl up at Donner Pass is in good shape with lots of natural and man made snow. Four lifts open, one beginner, two intermediate and the Lincoln Mountain detachable quad.

At Squaw Valley Siberia is due to reopen this weekend but meanwhile several other lifts, number unspecified, will be whirling. Special lift ticket prices not announced.

Alpine Meadows will have five lifts running this weekend with its new all-season $39 lift ticket. Groomed pack with variable conditions off piste.

Heavenly is probably the best venue for this weekend, with its mighty snowmaking system. Most of the Nevada runs are open (except Motts and Killebrew canyons) with both Dipper and Comet chairs running. The kids' Magic Carpet at the top of the gondola is open. Gunbarrel lift is running as are Patsy's, Waterfall, Sky Chair and Tamarack. The tram runs weekends only.

Considering the lack of natural snow, Sierra resorts are doing fairly well. Mount Rose is looking pretty bare in places such as the Kit Carson Bowl, but with its highest base in the Tahoe, it's up and running from top to bottom with four lifts. Tickets are $38 for adults, $12 for those 12 and under.

- From an Associated Press story, Alpine skiing could disappear altogether at some European resorts, while at others a retreating snow line will cut off base villages from their ski runs as soon as 2030, warned the U.N. Environment Program. The magic number for ski resorts right now is an altitude of 4,265 feet, according to Rolf Buerk, an economic geographer at the University of Zurich who led the research behind the report.

At that level and above, there is reliable snowfall. In the future, however, global warming is going to push the regular snowfall altitude to between 4,900 feet and 6,000 feet, Buerk said.

Of course, many European resorts start skiing at 2,500 feet so they will be affected before we are here.

- Northstar-at-Tahoe invites all aspiring skiers and snowboarders to start the season off right by enjoying a weekend dedicated to fun, camaraderie and learning to snowsport.

North Lake Tahoe's Learn More on the North Shore weekend has returned to Northstar for the fourth season, where $20 includes an all-day beginner lift ticket, lessons and equipment rental on Saturday and Sunday. Upon completion of lessons, skiers and riders will receive discount coupons for return visits. Reservations are not required, but participants should arrive early. Lift tickets can be purchased at Northstar the day of the program.

- Action ski and snowboard photography and video from around the world highlight the 10th annual "In The Mood" benefit Dec. 12 at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

"After 10 years this event has grown in popularity," says Robert Frohlich, one of the organizers for the charitable evening. "It's a fun party, a celebration of the coming of winter, and a great way to give back to the community."

The evening program showcases the talents of the biggest names in snowsport photography and video. Featured artists include filmmakers Scott Gaffney, Tom Day, Steve Siig and Josh "Bones" Murphy. Nationally recognized photographers include Keoki Flagg, Deacon Chapin, Dave Norehad, Robyn Scarton, Dave Nettle, Aaron Sedway, and Hank deVre.

All ages are welcome. There is no admission charge. The show begins at 7 p.m. and beverages are available. A drawing with more than 150 prizes is also part of the night's festivities. Grand prizes are an adult mid-week pass to Squaw Valley and Chugach Range heli-skiing at Points North in Cordova, Alaska.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor. Contact him at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.


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