While most of the ski resorts around Lake Tahoe have closed for the season, three remain open -- Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Homewood Mountain Resort on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.
Homewood is only open Friday through Sunday this weekend and may close next, but while it's open treat yourself to some beautiful if not too stressful skiing and boarding.
Homewood is on Highway 89 coming from either South Lake Tahoe or Tahoe City. This is one of those largely unknown Tahoe resorts, one of several gems that don't get a lot of ink over the season, but it's a full service resort with a pleasant lodge on the ground and a barbecue shack on the mountain. There's another lodge on the back side of the area reached by turning off Highway 89 just before or after, depending on which way you're coming from.
Lift tickets are $34 for adults and kids ski free. The resort is divided into two areas, both with parking nicely close to the base lifts. No long hikes from car to lift here.
From the highway Homewood doesn't look like much -- just a parking lot, a four-seater fixed lift and a couple of surface lifts for the ski/snowboard school. But ride that first chair from either side and a whole vista will open up for you.
Admittedly, the black diamond runs are limited to Quail's Nest, and you have to hike to get there, but the many other runs mostly blues offer pleasant running and there is often stash of overlooked powder snow here and there.
The view of Lake Tahoe from the runs is magnificent, probably because the resort is practically nestled up against the lake. For a family outing it is hard to beat Homewood.
Heavenly closed last Sunday and I was lucky enough to get a couple of runs in Saturday. Well, maybe not so lucky. I taught skiing at Heavenly for several years and have run just about anything that has snow on it. But last Saturday I must have left my head somewhere because I fell cruising down Patsy's one of the few green runs at Heavenly. I've never fallen on Patsy but there I was on my back with one ski off. Happily, none of my compatriots of ski school days was around.
But the snow was just as it has been all spring, fresh and unrutted. Both Comet and Dipper chairs were running and there wasn't a big crowd so it was one of those days when the joy is unconfined.
Didn't make it to Squaw or Alpine but will do so this weekend.
-- At Alpine Meadows the action continues with a pile of snow 168 inches deep at the mountaintop. This April Alpine got more snow than any April in recorded history. Total for the season is 360 inches with a 30-year average of 359.9 inches. Predictions are for about 4 inches more tonight. Spring rates are in effect: $49 for adult, $36 for teens 13-18, $8 for seniors over 70, $6 for those 6 and under.
Saturday is the rescheduled Tom Burt Pig Fest Big Air competition for boarders and skiers and a pond skim; on Sunday tequila specials and live music by the Samba Da on the sun deck.
Next weekend it's the Mad Cow Downhill and Wakes fun day, and on May 25 the annual snow golf tournament.
And it just keeps going on and on ...
Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.