A magnificent finish to skiing season | NevadaAppeal.com

A magnificent finish to skiing season

Sam Bauman column

And the beat goes on.

Last weekend we made it to three ski resorts for this report: Mt. Rose, Sugar Bowl and Kirkwood. All three are closed now but it was a glorious way to go.

First was Mt. Rose a week ago Friday for Rusty Crook’s final senior ski class. Crook usually confines himself to the basics, since that is what most skiers are weak on. This time it was survival.

Clouds obscured the top of the resort from Highway 395 and it got no better the closer we got. At the top visibility was limited so it was Braille skiing. Then it got worse. Snow started flying and we headed for Kit Carson Bowl along with the remaining class members. It was mostly chopped fresh snow several inches deep, usually about as much fun as it gets, but with visibility so poor it was flex, start the turn and extend.

Two hours was plenty in those conditions but after lunch the sun sort of peeked out and it was better, although much of the new snow was scraped off.

So a week ago Saturday to Sugar Bowl, that venerable but distant resort near Donner Pass. Happily, the Donner Road was open so we could skip the longer drive up I-80. The Mt. Disney side was closed except for a service lift so it was off to the new Mt. Lincoln lift which replaced the old Silverthorn.

The Lincoln lift has been shifted from the old Silverthorn so that it opens a new trail, steep and bumpy but fast and a pleasure. Skiers and boarders were all over the mountain, although some of the trails didn’t thaw out from chopped ice until noon. But the snow was excellent, and we tried just about every trail there. All were fine, plenty of sun.

Last Sunday it was Kirkwood where the crowd was mid-season big, the snow truly superb, not a rock showing, just a few brown spots. No back bowl open so it was the Reut, Water Wheel, Cornice and Silverado. Lift lines were short despite the big crowd.

And it is almost impossible to overemphasize how good the snow was. No bulletproof from the start and no slop until well into the afternoon. It was truly a magnificent end to a fine season.

As of this weekend, there were still four resorts in operation. Heavenly’s Gondola offers access to the Nevada side Comet and Dipper chairs via the Tamarack six-pack. No California lodge.

Squaw Valley is offering top of the mountain sporting with the spa, hot tub and swimming pool open. Access is via the tram.

Alpine Meadows is up for the top of the mountain by the small gondolas, with riding to the village, sort of. And down Highway 395 Mammoth Mountain folk say the resort will be open until May 27. Skied there a couple of years ago on the Fourth of July.

OK, remember to clear up the gear, back off the bindings and oil the edges. We can now start looking forward to next season.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.