The recent storms are enough to trigger celebrations by snowsporters in the Sierra Nevada, with all resorts still in business and lots of fresh stuff. Powder of one sort or another should be the order of the weekend.
Squaw Valley reports 10 feet of fresh snow since March 19 and counting. To date this season, Squaw Valley USA has received 431 inches, or 35.9 feet, of snow on the upper mountain with current base depths measuring 16 feet on the upper elevations and nearly 7 feet on the lower mountain.
"This is the most amount of snow we have received in more than six years and we'll expect to be skiing and snowboarding through May 30 as planned," said Eric Brandt, director of marketing for Squaw.
Squaw Valley's Spring Magic means High Camp Swimming Lagoon Spa is open through May with mountain events, competitions, concerts, parties and more. The season is scheduled to end on May 30.
A nice weekend would be Mount Rose on Friday with Rusty Crook for a quick clinic, then the Chutes there; Saturday at Squaw or Sugar Bowl and Sunday at Sierra-at-Tahoe or Kirkwood.
Last Saturday was a break from skiing with a hike in the Bay area Santa Cruz mountains with an old friend, former Associated Press Paris correspondent Rod Angove. Despite the rain, Coal Creek with its waterfalls beckoned. The trail isn't terribly steep and meanders down a couple of valleys to Alpine Road via Crazy Pete's Road. After about 3 miles along the Valley View trail to Page Mill Road we decided that the mud and rain were less than enjoyable so we turned around.
Rod isn't the fastest uphill hiker (he's a demon going downhill) so after about 20 minutes I stopped to let him catch up. Then, 20 minutes later, I got worried and turned around and hiked, skidding and slipping in the mud, the mile and a half back to where we parted, fearing to see a prone body. No such bad luck. I retraced my steps slowly as I had used a lot of energy rushing downhill and took the Meadow trail back to Clouds Rest trail. I got to the stage where I was progressing slowly in 100-step legs.
I finally got to Skyline Boulevard, but wound up at a trailhead east of where we parked. No car there, of course, so I sat and mulled my stupidity until a Chinese couple in a Subaru drove up, offered me a bottle of water and a ride. A half-mile up Skyline and there was Rod, comfortable and dry.
That's the bad news about a hike. The good news is that I'll never get that far ahead of a fellow hiker again, and I'll also take walkie-talkies along. Another bit of sunshine: An arthritic back, triggered by an inadvertent excursion in the woods, didn't complain for a moment. Thanks I think to massage treatment instead of pills.
DEALS FOR COSTCO MEMBERS
Costco members can now purchase value packs to ski and ride Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe with two offers.
Northstar offers a Costco 3-Pack that includes three interchangeable lift tickets valid any day of the season and three $10.75 meal vouchers all for only $169.99, a savings of $45. Members can also take advantage of the value pack for Northstar's sister resort Sierra-at-Tahoe. Costco members can take advantage of Sierra's mid-winter conditions by purchasing the Sierra 2-Pak featuring two interchangeable lift tickets, valid any day, and two $10 meal vouchers for just $99.99, a savings of more than $30.
Lift tickets $20 at Diamond Peak
Ski Saturday or only $20 if you wear a Hawaiian shirt. The Aloha spirit continues with a great Hawaiian style BBQ and live music on the Diamond Peak Base Lodge Deck.
Sunday is Crazy Hat Day. Anyone wearing a crazy hat can get a lift ticket for only $20. Wear a crazy hat to the Base Lodge Deck at 2 p.m. for a prize. Call (775) 832-1177.
SQUAW VALLEY UPDATE
Action begins Saturday, April 9, with a one-of-a-kind North Lake Tahoe tradition, the Billy Dutton Uphill. You can use any non-motorized gear to climb the mountain. Popular choices include snowshoes, skating skis, hiking boots and tennis shoes. The race begins near the bottom terminal of Squaw Valley's KT-22 chairlift and climbs 2,000 vertical feet and approximately 3.2 miles up the Mountain Run to High Camp. Registration takes place at 7 a.m. in The Olympic Plaza and the race begins at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $15 and includes a t-shirt and goodies.
Following the uphill racing, skiers, snowboarders and telemark skiers are invited to switch gears and race downhill in the Squaw Valley Challenge last chance qualifier and finals. Skiers and snowboarders have been racing all season long in dual-slalom races on Squaw's lower mountain Ford Race Arena. The top finishers of each of these races are qualified for the finals at 11 a.m. Saturday April 9. All finalists are entered into a raffle for two airline tickets to Hawaii courtesy of Runaway Vacations.
Rounding out the entertainment on Saturday is the third ever Undie 500, one of Squaw Valley's most popular events. The running event features teams of two as they race relay-style in only their undergarments (including a pair of boxers that are provided) around Cushing Pond. Registration for the Undie 500 is $10 per team and begins at 3 p.m. on the Olympic Plaza deck with the race taking place at 4:30 p.m. Participants must be 18 or older to race. The first place team walks with cash.
On Sunday morning, skiers and snowboarders are invited to the upper mountain Ford Recreational Raceway for the Spring Blast Bikini & Boxers Race. Competitors are encouraged to race in their finest swimwear on the dual race course for prizes. The racing begins at 10 a.m. and the cost to participate is $5 for two runs. The top combined times win.
Last day for skiing and snowboarding for the season scheduled for Monday May 30. Call (530) 583-6985.
KIRKWOOD ANNUAL JAMMIN' PARTY
Kirkwood Mountain Resort will kick off its annual spring party JAMMIN', for the 12th time April 8-10 with more than 700 inches of snow to date this season - more snow than any resort in America.
The Jammín lineup on Saturday includes a Rail Jam at noon, a Big Air Competition at 1 p.m., Pond-Skimming at 2 p.m., a Bikini Race, Snow Volleyball, a Bungee Pull for prizes, karaoke and tanning and beers while DJs spin on the Plaza starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All open to the public.
Bring the cowboy hats for Western theme day on Friday and dig out the neon for retro day on Saturday. On Sunday, Kirkwood will sway to tropical breezes on Island theme day.
Other happenings around the mountain include a Spring Corn Camp on Saturday April 9. The Camp includes five hours of on-mountain training, lunch and a video analysis (weather-permitting). Cost is $95 for pass holders, $120 for ticket holders.
Female skiers interested in improving their style and technique can join the Women's 1-day Camp for intermediate and expert skiers on Saturday, April 9. The camp includes 5 hours of on-mountain training, lunch and a video analysis (weather permitting). Cost is $95 for pass holders, $120 with a lift ticket.