All systems are a go at local resorts
Recent storms have done a lot to put the snowsporting scene in action. And after last weekend’s skiing disaster when I fell six times on two easy blue runs, it was a pleasure to hit Heavenly from the Stageoach lift and find out that the skis knew where we wanted to go and did so with minimum effort.
What caused the disastrous first day out is unknown, but it’s behind us now. Old dogs do learn old tricks.
No need to track down the list of local areas and how much they are open. Just check at Kirkwood where the resort got about five feet of snow and is counting for more this weekend. Every resort around Tahoe is open, to varying degrees of course. Heavenly is well over the 60 percent mark and last Saturday we enjoyed a ride on the new quad high-speed Olympic lift, the fruit of debate and compromise. The lift sits just where the old two-seater used to creak and it cuts ride time to about four minutes.
No new trails yet, but they will come along with more snow. Meanwhile, the old Olympic trail is in fine shape, one half side open. Tree running is a a mite chancy, but then tree skiing always is.
The new lift is sure to bring a lot of sporters to Olympic, which is good and bad. The good is that it will relieve the crowds at Comet and Dipper lifts. The bad is that the trails there will become crowded. The good outweighs the bad, we figure.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN LIVES
Mammoth Mountain’s Super Pipe is now open for the season. Ranked No. 2 in North America by Transworld Snowboarding in 2006 and 2007, the Super Pipe has been groomed to perfection and is 450 feet long with 18 foot walls and 22 feet of transition.
The brand-new Wonderland Park, a $250,000 investment that replaced Family Fun Park, is open for the season. Mammoth’s Unbound Crew worked closely with Mammoth’s Ski and Snowboard School to develop entry-level terrain in Wonderland focused on freestyle development. Features include box tops that sit on the snow, short rail slides, banked turns, rollers and jumps.
The new Wonderland Mini Pipe is now open and joins the entry-level features in Wonderland Park. The Unbound crew used a new technique in the build – instead of carving a dirt ditch out of the ground, the dirtwork was done above-ground. To accommodate snowmaking required for the pipe, 3,500 feet of plumbing and 25 snow guns were added to the area.
The new Quicksilver Signature Jib is now up in Main Park. It is a three-sided pyramid battleship-box hybrid covered in clear Lexan plastic for your jibbing pleasure. Jibs Galore, Mammoth’s run dedicated solely to jibs, is also open with a variety of rails, boxes and bonk barrels.
Meanwhile, January Midweek Madness returns to Mammoth for its sixth season and brings with it great deals on lift tickets, lodging packages, food and drink specials and more every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all over town. Midweek in January has great snow conditions and less crowded slopes. Midweek Madness kicks off Jan. 8 and runs through Jan. 31.
Midweek Madness means $55 lift tickets for adults (19-64 years old) and youth (13-18 years old). Tickets must be purchased three days in advance by calling (800) MAMMOTH or logging on to MammothMountain.com/jmm. Midweek Madness Lodging Packages start as low as $120 per person per night and include a limited edition Mammoth beanie. Call (800) MAMMOTH to book.
VONN WINS TWO
Lindsey Vonn took over as World Cup points leader and passed childhood idol Picabo Street as she won a World Cup super combined race on Saturday for her second World Cup victory in 24 hours, and the 10th of her career. The wins were at St. Anton, Austria.
Olympic Valley’s Julia Mancuso placed third for the second day in a row, having also finished third in Friday’s downhill. Vonn, though, was the real star for the U.S. Ski Team as the Vail, Colo., skier became the American woman to win two races on back-to-back days since Tamara McKinney won a giant slalom and slalom in 1984.