Time to start preparing for snowsport season

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With snowsport season not much more than six weeks away (Mt. Rose is aiming at Nov. 11, they claim), it's time to get gear in order.

Same routine as in the past. If you're competent and have the tools, you can do the prep yourself.

For resetting bindings on skis, all you need is a screwdriver and last year's DIN settings, which you kept, of course. No need to update unless you've gained or lost a lot of weight, had an accident or have been working out and increased muscle power. If so, let the locals check things at ski and board shops. (No adjustment needed for boarders.)

Ski and board bases need a touchup of wax, hot is the best. Dribble melted ski wax on the base, let it cool for 30 minutes, then scrape much of it off, leaving wax in the minute striations in the p-tex.

If the edges are nicked, smooth them out with a file, being careful not to change the bias angle of the edge. Any rust, remove.

For boots, little needs to be done unless you've radically changed your snow habits. You might want to check the adjustments for tightness - not too tight, just nicely snug. Boots should not hurt. (OK, so ski racers put up with pain for that extra 10th of a second on the course.)


Big ski and snowboard swap on tap Oct. 29 at Harrah's Convention Center, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you want to unload some gear, check it in at the Heavenly Ski Foundation building next to the cable car on the California side Saturday, Oct. 22 noon to 3 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 25 noon to 6 p.m. Call (539) 541-7354.


Everything is going upscale at Northstar with shopping options from stylish boutiques, art galleries and specialty retailers to a collection of cafes and restaurants, all centered around a year-round ice skating rink.

New amenities will including a new skier service facility in the heart of the Village, a concierge service, free on-site shuttles and valet parking for the wealthier sports.

Opening their doors this winter are The North Face, Oakley, The Butterbox - an edgy lifestyle store featuring snowboard and fashion apparel; art galleries, two children's boutiques, a bath and body store. Mall comes to the mountain!

Northstar is to open its year-round ice skating rink in December. The 9,000-square-foot rink will be open days and evenings and will also offer shows. Ice skating will be free, but there is a charge to rent skates. (Can we bring our own?)

Burton Snowboards has created the first Burton Progression Park. It will cater to new riders with small- and medium-sized features, spaced for teaching. Northstar will offer freestyle terrain lessons this season to help riders ease into rails and jumps with proper technique. Burton will also offer beginner-specific rental equipment to accelerate the learning curve.

Northstar will add a standard halfpipe to its collection of freestyle features this season. The pipe will be on Gulch, and will offer a less intimidating alternative to the 17-foot superpipe.

If money is not a problem, you'll find valet parking attendants awaiting your arrival. They take the car (and some cash) and you take your gear to the hills.

Call (800)GO-NORTH or log onto www.NorthstarAtTahoe.com.


Two job fairs in October will staff Kirkwood for the winter season, with plenty of positions available in every department. Applicants should come to The Wall Bar & Grill inside The Lodge at Kirkwood on Saturday Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m.

See www.kirkwood.com/winter/jobs.php for detailed information about current jobs available and how to submit resumes online.

The easiest and fastest way to get a job at Squaw Valley is the Winter Job Fair. As a worker bee you'll ski and snowboard free all season long. On Sunday, Nov. 6, the job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Olympic Village Lodge.

Just go right at the big left turn leading to the cable car. Pass the clock tower building on your left and small fire-station on your right. Stay right, following the signs to the Olympic Village Lodge.

Applicants are encouraged to bring their resume and/or a completed application form. Contact the Squaw personnel department at (530) 581-7112, or download forms from www.squaw.com under the heading of Squaw Info: Employment.


Boreal Mountain Resort (see, no longer is it ski resort) will kick off major pre-season festivity with the First annual Jibassic Pro Rail Invitational and Film Premiere Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Twenty invited professional skiers and snowboarders will compete for $6,000 in prize money on a series of custom-made rails, each spanning 30 stair steps.


Sierra-at-Tahoe's terrain parks will offer a taste of the urban life this winter with the resort's version of city bus stops, appropriately titled Park Stops. The stops will have a covered bench with tools for adjusting bindings, mini trail maps highlighting Sierra-at-Tahoe's park circuit, a sticker wall, and ski and snowboard magazines. Riders can rest and recharge for their next run in comfort and style.

Those who drive to the resort will find a fleet of Bike Taxis patrolling the parking lots, with eager drivers ready to transport guests and their gear from the outer reaches of the parking lots. The bike taxi service is free and each seats a family of three or four comfortably.

Sierra-at-Tahoe terrain features two 15-foot straight rails, two 15-foot straight boxes, One signature C-box and two large custom-designed boxes


SnowBomb.com is offering every Tahoe Card buyer a free "SugarWood" lift ticket if they purchase before Dec 1. That's a free lift ticket to your choice of Kirkwood or Sugar Bowl. The Tahoe Card also comes with more than $300 worth of free items including 8 days of free rentals, unlimited free hot waxes and several free tune ups.

The membership based Tahoe Card is a discount lift ticket program that allows you to purchase discounted lift tickets in Tahoe. Buyers can save 20 to 70 percent per day on lift tickets at Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley, Kirkwood, Alpine, Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose, Boreal, Homewood, Northstar, Sierra, and Bear Valley. The Tahoe Card is on sale for $39.99.

Go to www.snowbomb.com or call (530) 581-0553.


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