Lots of good snow at local resorts

No big crowds last weekend happily, so Rod Angove, Jane Chai (both from the Bay area) and I headed for Mount Rose on Friday. We skipped the Rusty Crook seniors clinic (best deal in the west) and instead took the two beginner lifts so that Jane could get back on skis after six years away from them. Surface was boilerplate at first but softened up nicely and after several runs on the Kit Carson Bowl we moved to the Slide Mountain side.

Couldn't have been better. The long, fairly steep runs are just right for letting the boards run. Well groomed, it was a race course for fun.

And no lines at all at the back bowl four-seater. Mount Rose isn't the biggest resort in the Sierra Nevada, but Upper and Lower Lakeview runs give plenty of scope for skiing moderate steeps.

Saturday was Sugar Bowl, and again the surface was icy at first but softened up nicely. Sunday was Heavenly, from the California lodge. We get separated and spent an hour looking for each other but finally Rodney and I gave up and we headed for the Nevada side. Lots of good snow (Heavenly has kept on making snow long after it usually turns in the compressors) on Dipper and Comet. No black diamonds or bumps, thanks to the knee operation, but the joy is back and skiing is as much fun as ever. Even the french fries at the East Peak Lodge were tasty!

A good weekend, but there's plenty more coming up, and we aren't even to spring skiing yet. And that's the best there is -- great weather, good snow (early in the morning anyhow) and warm enough to ditch the heavy gear.

Meanwhile, now that we're halfway through the season, it's time to pay some attention to your board or skis. You may have had them tuned early on but if you're like most snowsporters you haven't rewaxed or tuned the edges.

It's easy to forget that P-tex, that plastic coating on the bases, can dry up if it isn't waxed at least once in a while. I wax mine each morning before hitting the hills. Lots of new rub-on wax available now and it works, particularly the fluoride based stuff.

When it comes to edges I try to work them over at least once a month. The little nicks and burrs can really affect your turns.

Meanwhile, fellow Appeal staff skier Karl Horeis tried Kirkwood last weekend and offers the following report:

Despite our late start, the cloudy conditions and those two raccoon-faced boarders in the lot who said it was "just a sheet of ice up there," I had a fun day at Kirkwood on Tuesday with my friend Liz Dall from Portland.

But there's more important news for skiers and boarders right now: IT'S SNOWING!

For the first time in over a month Tahoe ski resorts are getting real, natural snow.

Kirkwood, with its high base elevation, reports getting snow from top to bottom, rather than drizzly rain down low.

So far it's added up to 5-7 inches and there's more in the forecast.

Kirkwood's Marketing Manager Tracy Miller, gazing out an upstairs window in the Red Cliffs Day Lodge on Tuesday as flurries started coming down, explained.

"You know, conditions are pretty good out there, it's fun -- but no one's going to complain about getting new snow."

Kirkwood staff are a cut above. After an afternoon of hunting loose surface snow, Liz and I took a run on the Slide Mountain inner-tube runs.

"This tube is supposed to be the fahs-test," said Temay Rigzin, 19, from Melbourne Australia. "We call it the Red Devil."

Another nice feature at Kirkwood out Highway 88 (which, the resort reports, is clear thanks to Cal-Trans) is the new superpipe. Almost by definition, a "superpipe" requires the specialized Zaugg Pipe Monster to shape its 22-foot walls. Kirkwood, it so happens, has Tahoe's first.

Another great addition to the 2300-acre natural freestyle playground that is Kirkwood. Keep coming, new snow. Call for updates (877) KIRKWOOD.

What's happening:

Here are some Diamond Peak special deals:

College Special --After 12:30 p.m. college students can ski at Diamond Peak for only $15. Just bring a valid College ID to any ticket windows at Diamond Peak. This offer is good Monday-Friday during any non-holiday periods.

$25 Lift Ticket -- Present any valid season pass from any mountain and receive a lift ticket for $25. This offer is good anytime of the season.

$48 Beginner Package -- First timers can come to Diamond Peak and receive a one-hour, 45- minute lesson, rentals and a limited lift ticket all for $45. This offer is valid anytime of the year.

Twilight Pass -- Purchase Diamond Peak's Twilight pass and ski after 2:30 p.m. for only $20. This is valid any day of the season.

Mini Pass -- Diamond Peak will be offering a great deal for those who only plan to ride a few times this winter, the Mini Pass. The Pass is an electronic card that holds multiple day passes on it. You can purchase the Mini Pass in increments of 2 passes for $72 ($10 savings), 3 for $99 ($24 savings), 5 for $150 ($55 savings) or 7 for $189 ($98 savings). The Mini Pass has no holiday or weekend restrictions and can be purchased at any Ticket Window at the resort. However, only one ticket can be redeemed per day. Call (775) 832-1177 or visit diamondpeak.com.

In honor of this year's Sustainable Slopes campaign, Keep Winter Cool, Sierra-at-Tahoe will celebrate what its guests and employees are doing to reduce the potential impacts of global warming on winter recreation on Saturday, Feb. 22.

The National Ski Areas Association created this year's Sustainable Slopes theme to encourage resort guests to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change.

On Feb. 22 and on every day throughout the year, SAT encourages its guests to car pool, drive an efficient car or ride shuttles to the resort. To reward its guests SAT will participate in Sustainable Slopes Outreach Day with these incentives:

--The first 200 cars that come to Sierra-at-Tahoe with three or more passengers inside will receive $5 in Sierra bucks per passenger that can be used in food and beverage and retail outlets.

--Any guest or employee who rides the South Tahoe and West Slope shuttles will receive $5 in Sierra bucks.

--Anyone who drives a hybrid car to Sierra-at-Tahoe gets FREE preferred parking for the day.

--The U.S. Forest Service will have Woodsy the Owl on hand to promote environmental awareness for the day.

However, protecting the environment is a year-round job at Sierra-at-Tahoe. The Grandview Bar & Grill operates mainly on solar power. Since 1993, Sierra has decreased waste by 44 percent by implementing low-cost solutions such as receptacles for recyclable glass and plastic in the restaurants.

Good job, SAT!

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.


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