Finally, it’s snowtime for Tahoe area; in New Mexico, the snow’s up | NevadaAppeal.com

Finally, it’s snowtime for Tahoe area; in New Mexico, the snow’s up

Sam Bauman
Appael staff writer

While the snow may be falling this weekend, we’re a long way from being the Lake Tahoe that so many snowsporters expect. June Mountain, down by Mammoth Mountain, has apparently shut down for the season and at Mammoth, layoffs are cutting hundreds of jobs. Nothing like that yet at our area resorts, but business is bad all around.

Lucky for us, snowmaking equipment has really done the trick of keeping trails open and in pretty decent shape. This could be the crucial snow weekend for a good spring season – always the best skiing and snowsporting. Lots of predictions of snow throughout the weekend, let’s hope they are on the button.

Meanwhile, we spent a week in New Mexico and discovered a state that is rich in history as well as snowsporting. We skied four areas: Santa Fe Ski, Red River, Angel Fire and the late Ernie Blake’s Taos Ski Valley. Snow coverage was excellent, thanks to a dump of several feet just before Christmas. Many of the lifts are high-speed detachables, but most are old fixed two- and three-seaters. No matter, they get you up the hill and the runs aren’t as crowded as when served by the high-speeders. New Mexico doesn’t have a great reputation as a snowsporting area, but with the fine snow there this season that’s likely to change.

LOCAL HIKES

Those busy folk at the Tahoe Rim Trail Association will host their second annual Winter Trails Day at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 3. The association along with the U.S. Forest Service and the Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol will be staging winter activities for all ages. There will be a snowshoe hike for the children and adults. The Ski Patrol will hold an avalanche and snow safety session, while the U.S. Forest Service will present an interpretive program along with Tahoe Rim Trail adding in Leave No Trace for Front-country use.

This is a fine way to get out and enjoy winter sports and learn about Lake Tahoe’s surrounding environment. Warm refreshments will also be provided. Reservations are required. Call (775) 298-0231 or e-mail alexiso@tahoerimtrail.org for reservations, location and event details.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest-Carson Ranger District is offering a free backcountry safety program this Saturday and the following two Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the western end of Tahoe Meadows. These outings include a safety program of 20 to 45 minutes and a guided educational hike of about three hours. Just look for the Forest Service banner and Ranger. The Meadows are about one mile west of Mount Rose Summit on Highway 431. Call 884-8122.

FAMILY DAYS

Diamond Peak is offering a special ticket deal Sunday – $20 for an all-day adult lift billet. Offer is good for residents of Carson City, Dayton, Minden and Gardnerville. Bring resident proof and photo ID to the guest services window. This is a fundraiser for the Carson City Junior Ski/Snowboard program. Call 887-2290.

Diamond Peak also offers a new kids’ ski program, Snowfall Cinema. Kids ages 7 through 12 can enjoy an afternoon ski or snowboard lesson then have a pizza party and watch a movie in the Diamond Peak Base Lodge. The package is $55. Parents can drop the kids off prior to the 2 p.m. lesson then pick them up at 6:30. The event will be March 31. Call 832-1253.

NORTHSTAR DISCOUNTS

Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort is offering discounts to season passholders from other Lake Tahoe resorts, ski and snowboard shop employees, ski area employees and firefighters and police officers. Season passholders can purchase full-day lift tickets Monday through Friday, non-holiday, for afternoon rates of $55 for ages 23 and up; $49 for those ages 13-22, and $19 for children ages 5-12.

Ski and snowboard shop employees pay $15 when they present a current pay stub and photo ID. Ski area employees from other resorts can also enjoy $30 discounted lift tickets valid Sunday through Friday, nonholiday, with a letter of introduction and a photo ID.

Firefighters and police officers ski or ride Monday through Friday, nonholiday, for $55 for those ages 23 and up and $49 for those up to age 22.

• Contact SamBauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.