Early alert on cheap hill lessons | NevadaAppeal.com

Early alert on cheap hill lessons

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

This might be a bit early considering the event is three months away, but you can help tell friends who don’t take to the hills about this. Not all of us can gracefully boom down black diamond slopes and North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are giving novice skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to learn at if not to boom at least get down the hill safely if not gracefully at bargain prices.

The 8th Annual Learn to Ski and Board Weekend, for the weekend of Dec. 8-9, costs $25 and includes an all-day beginner lift ticket, group lesson and gear rental.

First-timers have their choice of resorts to learn at including

Alpine Meadows, Boreal Mountain Resort, Diamond Peak, Granlibakken, Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl. Reservations are not required, but participants should arrive early. Lesson packages can be purchased at individual resorts the day of lessons. Students should contact

resorts directly for resort-specific information. Some restrictions apply. Resorts not open Dec. 8-9 due to early conditions may offer a Learn to Ski Weekend later in the season when weather permits.

This is not a new program but reflects the ski and board industry’s attempts to increase snowsporters. Biggest problem is getting first-timers to come back for a second try, If the resorts were smart they would offer a second day of free stuff to those who tried the sport.

NORTHSTAR, SIERRA SEASON PASSES

Skiers and riders need to act quickly to lock in current season pass discounts for the upcoming winter at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Pre-season discounts will end Sept. 30. Most season pass prices, including the Sierra Only and Northstar Only passes, will increase by $50 effective Oct. 1. Information on Double Whammy season passes, rates and how to buy before prices increase is available on DoubleWhammyPass.com.

Lake Tahoe’s original dual mountain pass, the Double Whammy, is still the best season pass value in Northern California. The Double Whammy is the passport to nearly 4,500 acres of terrain, 115 runs, 27 lifts (including 10 high-speed quads), 11 award-winning freestyle parks, two halfpipes and snowshoeing trails at both resorts, plus 30 kilometers of cross-country trails at Northstar.

The most popular Double Whammy pass, the Value pass, is now priced at $389. Oct. 1, the price will increase to $439. The Double Whammy Value pass allows skiing and riding any day except blackout days at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and Sunday through Friday excluding blackout dates at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.

There are several categories of season passes that cut the cost of a season’s skiing, raging for those for kids to seniors. Check the Sierra and Northstar Web sites for those special rates.

SQUAW TALKS

Oct. 4, Thursday: THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE. Steve Brandt presents his third lecture in the fascinating Quest for the Pacific series. Follow maps, satellite pictures and research to discover what happened when the British Navy put up a million dollars to anyone who could find a way between the oceans, over the top of the continent. PlumpJack Conference Center, Squaw Valley. Socialize at the no-host bar at 6:30 p.m. Program begins at 7.

Oct. 7, Sunday: GEOLOGY HIKE. Frank DeCourten, professor of earth sciences at Sierra College, at 9 p.m. will describe the geological forces that shaped Blackwood Canyon on a hike to Eagle Rock, Blackwood Creek and Barker Pass. See for details on meeting place and what to bring see http://www.squawvalleyinstitute.org.