New Mt. Rose Trail set to open |

New Mt. Rose Trail set to open

For those who have problems with knees, I’ve found a partial help. Since Doc Edmunds did arthroscopic surgery on my right knew two years ago, I’ve found that hiking has been a bit of a grind.

Particularly when going downhill, where the impact on the knees is more severe. A recent hike to Round Lake wrung this comment out of me, “This ain’t any fun anymore.”

So after talking with the physical therapist who helped me after the operation (“Wear your brace when hiking and ice the knee afterwards”) and talking with Doc Edmunds (“Take two Advil before hiking; considering the condition of your knee when we operated it’s hardly surprising that you’re having problems”), I decided to take some advice from fellow hikers.

“Try using two hiking sticks,” they said.

So I did. Two fancy, telescoping poles with extra-long handles. I gave them a workout at Dead Man’s Creek on East Lake Boulevard, going up past the gazebo to the ridge overlooking the late Washoe Lake – it’s all dried up now. I wore the brace, of course, but skipped the Advil.

This is not a demanding hike, and most of the trail is just dirt, not much in the way of rocks. I had been told not to swing the poles out front as in cross country skiing, but rather to plant them vertical just ahead of me. So I did, and after climbing up I turned around to descend, fearing the worst.

Didn’t happen. The knee held up just fine. No pain, no discomfort. Of course, this was a no-strain hike. I’ve yet to give the two poles a real workout. I did find that it’s a slightly different experience. The poles are easily deflected by brush along the trail. And developing a regular rhythm to make best use of the poles takes practice. Adjusting the poles to shorter going uphill and longer going down will take some fine tuning.

And afterwards the knee didn’t seem to be swollen, so I skipped the ice pack. Now we’ll just have to see how the poles work on a rocky trail, like Echo Lake to Lake Aloha, about as rocky as anything short of Sherton Lake over by Kirkwood.

• The Mt. Rose Trail and Welcome Center Ribbon Cutting is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the new Welcome Center off 431 (Mt. Rose Highway). Trail folk would like to invite anyone interested in sharing the day with us to attend. The TRTA crews have been working hard this summer to complete this new piece of trail. Join us in celebrating the grand opening of the trail and the welcome center. Sounds like a fine idea.

• This winter marks the official beginning of a tipping point at Northstar-at-Tahoe as the resort seeks to become one of the best mountain villages in North America.

Here’s what’s in store this winter:

Northstar-at-Tahoe will invest nearly $1.5 million in two different facilities located west of the current Gondola building on an elevated plaza, east of the new Village at Northstar site, collectively known as the Village Plaza.

The Village Pavilion will have 10 flat screen televisions around the bar broadcasting sports and live entertainment. The facility includes indoor and outdoor seating, fire pit gathering areas and a barbecue. The second facility houses skier services.

A new Echo Express Quad Chairlift is the big news. The Dopplemayr high-speed quad will replace the old Echo fixed-grip triple chairlift. The new lift opens in December.

Northstar has added three state-of-the-art Bombardier snowcats to the grooming fleet, along with a Zaugg halfpipe cutter.

Northstar has created a new family terrain park on “The Straights.” From rails and fun boxes located mere inches from the snow to gentle rolling jumps that allow riders to get the feeling of air for the first time, this park allows children and parents to test gravity at their own pace.

And a new rental season pass for frequent renters – only $99 for season long ski or snowboard rental equipment – excludes holiday periods.

• Squaw Valley USA is offering Tahoe locals a chance to enjoy the local’s favorite time of year Sunday, Sept.12 when the resort hosts the Squaw Valley Towne Picnic and Local’s Day, offering locals $10 Cable Car tickets, a special mountain-top barbecue and DJ music by the pool.

The $10 discounted “local’s” tickets are available to residents living within a 50-mile radius of Squaw Valley USA (as the crow flies). Children 12 and under always ride the Cable Car for only $5.

At High Camp, guests can choose from a variety of activities, including ice skating, swimming, or hiking (additional charges apply).

(This sounds like the place to try out the two-pole system, hiking up to the cable car and riding it down.)

Sam Bauman is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact him at or 881-1236.