End is near, but Rick Gunn returns

Two weekends more and we're just about done skiing and snowboarding. Squaw Valley is supposed to close May 11 and Heavenly same time, although it may shut down this weekend.

Check Heavenly.com to confirm. Mammoth plans to keep running until late in May, snow permitting. Alpine closes Sunday.

So today it'll be one last run at Heavenly, Nevada side, of course. Nothing running in California, and Tamarack, Dipper and Comet in Nevada. East Lodge is supposed to be open for a final deck sitting.

Saturday it's off to the Bay area to welcome Rick Gunn home from his round-the-world bike odyssey, more than 25,000 miles through umpteen bike tires, three frames, a couple of laptops and lots of scrapes and bruises. We're to meet on the east walkway of the Golden Gate Bridge at 11 a.m., pop some champagne and then head for a lodge to hear his tales of beauty and breakage.

It's not too late to get him on his tele skis for an outing at Mammoth, and then to bring him home to his ranch in South Tahoe. A few days later his friends Karen and Bob Ostrow of South Tahoe will be returning from their winter home in New Zealand to host a welcome home party at their place.

A while back Rick and some Nevada Appeal staffers were doing the complete Tahoe Rim Trail and I was to bring them beer and sandwiches at Velma Lake. Somehow I got lost and they never got their beer or sandwiches. But I'll bring the bubbly to the Golden Gate.

TIM PALMER TO SPEAK

Outdoor photographer and writer Tim Palmer, author of the new book "Luminous Mountains, the Sierra Nevada In California," will present a slide show at the Sorensen's Lodge in Hope Valley Thursday May 8 at 7:30 p.m. I wrote a review of the book in yesterday's Appeal, praising it as the kind of coffee table book that will be read again and again. The photos are simply magnificent - from unknown waterfalls to familiar spots such as the walkway on the trail from Echo Lake to the Desolation Wilderness.

Palmer has written 17 books about the outdoors and he knows what he writes about. Sorensen's is on Highway 88 out of Minden and Palmer's slide show is sure to encourage viewers to try some new trails. Donations will be accepted and the cafe is open for dinner before the talk. See you there.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Northstar-at-Tahoe Tour De Nez, a six-day celebration of cycling June 17-22 in Reno, Truckee and Northstar, is seeking volunteers for a variety of positions. Volunteers get a front row seat to all the action and the chance to be an integral part of an A list cycling event that draws competitors from around the world.

Volunteer positions include production assistants, century ride course support, merchandise assistants, film festival coordinators and kid's race coordinators and staff support. For those who want to take on a bigger challenge and who have a little more cycling experience, there are several positions as race captains.

Volunteers for all locations are needed and the time commitments varying depending availability. Anyone who lends time to Tour de Nez will get a great swag bag, which includes a T-shirt, a water bottle and plenty of other goodies. E-mail Lindsey at tourdenezvolunteers@yahoo.com or visit www.tourdenez.com to sign up.

HIGH HAPPENINGS

• Squaw Valley- Free live music in the Village with Tim High, from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday. The Cinco de Mayo Reggatone Party, sponsored by Corona and Hornitos, is Monday, May 5 at Zenbu.

• Alpine Meadows - Enjoy live music on the Sun Deck Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., with Delta Nove, a six-piece band from Long Beach. Also on tap is the Mad Cow Downhill Saturday, a no-holds barred race to the finish with an Alpine midweek season pass as the grand prize. Projected closing date is Sunday.

KNEE NEWS

OK, I give up. Last Friday at Squaw the snow was fine early on, but by noon it was pretty slushy at Shirley Lake. Normally, I would have just taken the long Mountain Trail to the base, but the right knee said otherwise, so I took the Funital down. Which means the knee operation is a must just as soon as possible to not cut too deeply into the summer hiking season. Doc Edmunds, are you listening?

• Contact Sam Bauman at Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.

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