Lots of snowsports available

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There are plenty of choices for snowsporting this weekend with Mt. Rose coming on line. About the only major resort not opening for the Veteran's Day weekend is Heavenly.

The Heavenly trails look pretty good from a distance and I would love to give them a run. But word is that Heavenly will be the site of the Jeep King of the Mountain race series this season, sometime in February. Nice to see the race coming back to Heavenly.

Last weekend, we did Alpine Meadows on Saturday and Squaw Valley on Sunday. While it's really early, both resorts had good snow, just a few minor sprigs peeking through the snow. At Alpine, the sixpack was running and busy all day. The old two-seater race chair was also running, and both offered decent riding. Squaw started out, with just a beginner run and Shirley Lake, but early afternoon the Emigrant Peak chair opened. Shirley Lake runs off the ridge were quite good, although by afternoon the snow had softened as in spring skiing. But it was a lovely weekend.

If you're considering cants to take care leg problems, do it to the boots, not to the skis. I've switched and happily have found no change in skiing stance. Now I can try all those new skis that I've had to skip when I had the cants on the skis.

You certainly will want to wax up skis or boards for this weekend. The snow is good but can be grabby.

• Squaw Valley is introducing a new Community Skate Pass, a new 'season pass' offering unlimited Cable Car rides and ice skating opportunities to locals.

The new pass offers unrestricted Cable Car rides and ice skating, including skate rentals, through the winter season to residents of the greater Sierra/Tahoe region. This area includes the entire Lake Tahoe Basin, south to Markleeville, north to Quincy/Plumas County, west to Auburn and east to Reno and Sparks (Carson City - maybe). The pass is $179 for adults, $149 for juniors (13-15) and seniors (65-75), and $79 for kids 12 and under. Passes are valid, weather permitting, every day through winter season, from opening day on Nov. 13 to May 30, 2005. There's good skating at Squaw, although I haven't tried it for a couple of years.

The Community Skate Pass is available at the Squaw Valley Special Tickets office. Each purchaser must provide a valid driver's license for proof of residence in the applicable area. Skate passes are only valid on the Cable Car and are not good for skiing or snowboarding.

• Skiers and riders can expect three consecutive days of sport today through Sunday at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. A new generator, 54-inch base and specially priced tickets are part of the resort's earliest recorded opening. Kirkwood begins daily operations next weekend.

Chairs 5 and 6, accessing intermediate and expert terrain, will turn on Friday. Lift tickets will be specially priced at $30 for adults (19 plus), $24 for juniors (13-18), $13 for seniors (65-69), $10 for children (6-12) and super seniors (70 plus) and just $6 for children 5 and under.

Chairs 1, 5, 6, 10, and 11, accessing beginner, intermediate and expert terrain - more than 1,000 acres in all - will run Saturday and Sunday. Lift tickets will be $47 for adults (19 plus), $37 for juniors (13-18), $23 for seniors (65-69), $10 for children (6-10) and super seniors (70 plus), and just $6 for children 5 and under.

Rentals, lift tickets and season passes will be available on the Village Plaza. Ski and Board School will be open for Learn-to-Ski or Ride packages, private lessons and select kid's programs. Kirkwood Sports and the General Store are open for retail operations.

Kirkwood Cross Country Center will also be open with 25 kilometers of groomed trails with skating and snowshoe lanes. Trail passes are $12.

Visitors can take full advantage of the phenomenal conditions for the entire long weekend with a Stay and Ski Free package that starts at $69/person, double occupancy and includes accommodations and a lift ticket. Call Kirkwood Vacations at 1-800-967-7500.

• The fifth Annual Tahoe Cross Country Ski Swap is Saturday at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Great deals on skate skis, classic, telemark, snowshoe, clothing and more. Fund-raiser for the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association. 925 Country Club Drive in Tahoe City. Call (530) 583-5475.

• Something new from Squaw Valley which turns the traditional ski and snowboard show and swap model upside down with the launch of the Virtual Snow Show, an online ski and snowboard show that will run through the month of November. The first of its kind, this online show will offer special ticket and program deals, a vacation sweepstakes, vacation packages and more, all from the comfort of your desktop computer, 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.

Highlighting the show offerings is the introduction of the new Mountain Access X4 Card, a pre-paid 4-ticket card for only $209 (one ticket per day), a 15 percent savings off the regular ticket price (quantities limited). In addition, the Virtual Snow Show features a vacation sweepstakes, discounts on vacation packages, discounted online registration for the Frequent Skier and Snowboarder Program, special beginner lesson packages, clinic discounts and more.

In addition to deals and discounts, the show is slated to feature an online forum section to include classifieds, ride-sharing opportunities, and question/answer strings with resort instructors and Squaw athletes.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal ski columnist. Contact him at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1236.


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