One last weekend for snow sports

It looks likes this is the last weekend for resort skiing and boarding.

After Monday it's back country unless Squaw Valley decides to repeat its Fourth of July reopening.

Last time that happened snowsporters took the cable car up midpoint and walked the rest of the way to a narrow band of snow that allowed one to ski down to the bottom of Shirley Lake quad. It wasn't so much the skiing that mattered, it was more the date. And Kirkwood sometimes reopens again for a race on the Cirque later in spring.

This Memorial Day weekend four resorts will be operating -- Squaw and Alpine Meadows, which haven't closed yet, and Kirkwood and Heavenly, which will both reopen for the weekend, with Heavenly running on Monday as well.

Of course, Mammoth Mountain hasn't announced a closing date yet.

If you make it out this weekend be sure to remember to wax; spring stuff can get sticky. And an early start is mandatory as the slush starts about noon on most runs. A good idea is to try to follow the sun around, moving on to another run when one gets hit by the sun and softens up.

Sunscreen is a must, although the Food and Drug Administration has been making noises that no SPF higher than 15 is meaningful.

Before you stow your boards and skis Tuesday don't forget to back off the safety bindings, noting your DIN numbers for next season. Clean the springtime guck off the bases and dab a little oil on the edges to keep rust away.

With the resorts closing most skiers and boarders will be looking at the mountains for hiking. Many trails at the upper altitudes are still snow-covered but the lower tracts are open for business.

Rim Trail at Spooner Pass has patches of snow but is mostly cleared. And Horse's Tail off Highway 50 has some clear patches but it's snowshoes to the base of the falls.

Personally, it's been a poor season. An operation on the right knee in November and then a too-early attempt to ski in December sidelined me through January. February was better but I discovered that the brace that had been made for my right knee worked to realign my knee, thus overcoming the cants under my right binding. Thus I fell a lot until I figured it out.

The April trip to ski in Switzerland with the International Ski Journalists Club resulted in two black toes, one so bad the doctor had to step in. Then late April and a miserable day at Alpine Meadows (visibility was barely a ski length) and then another loser at Squaw Valley in fresh, heavy snow better than a foot deep almost wrapped things up. A continuing bout with bronchitis has kept me down, but I'll be up there this weekend hoping to snap some photos of boarders and skiers in bathing suits on the snow. Then a couple of weeks off before it's really hiking season. See you then.

-- If you'd like to try a raft trip on the East Fork of the Carson River, give the Sporting Rage a call at (775) 885-7773. The Get Outfitters is staging a river rafting Sunday. Fee is $99 per rider and call for reservations.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.


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