Incoming storm is sorely needed | NevadaAppeal.com

Incoming storm is sorely needed

Sam Bauman column

With luck the incoming storm will actually drop enough snow to open up all the resorts around the lake.

A natural dump is sorely needed. Despite the snowmaking that has been going on furiously, there are still plenty of bare spots and rocks visible.

With the Heavenly annual Media Winter Wake-up Call this weekend it’s time for me to get back on skis. The Wake-up Call brings almost 100 ski and snowboard writers and photographers to the resort for two days of snowsporting and this year to get an update on the big changes at the resort.

First off Friday will be a look at the new Marriott’s Timber Lodge next to the gondola. All reports are that the new hotels/time shares there are as plush as anything around the lake. Certainly from the outside the new hotel looks as spiffy as the new stuff at Squaw Valley, where a whole new village has been built.

The other new hotel/time share is the Marriott Grand Residence Club, also next to the gondola. It looks just as grand and between the two facilities they put a new accent on destination snowsport at Lake Tahoe.

Combine them with the other new things at Heavenly and it should be a great Wake-up. The California Lodge has been redecorated and there’s a new ski trail off Dipper Knob that should open up more tree skiing. Saturday is all-day skiing and boarding with a cocktail party at the Harrah’s convention center featuring Mount Tallac Brewery beverages. Then a dinner with a presentation by Blaise Carrig, Heavenly new chief operating officer along with a representative from Harrah’s.

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Sunday more of the same. It’s not a freebie, but it’s certainly worth the money.

Now, the major question is the right knee. Saturday will be four weeks after the arthroscopic surgery and regular physical therapy. There’s supposed to be a special brace to wear when skiing, but it isn’t in yet. So the first outing will be gentle, I promise. No bumps, no black diamonds, just the easy blues and always under control. If you don’t get going fast you don’t have to slow down, as they used to say at ski school meetings. Heavenly’s massive snowmaking system has created

on-mountain blizzards for 228 hours this month alone, making enough snow to bury 275 acres with a foot of snow. To make things even better, superstar groomers, with more than 100 years of combined experience, take to the mountain nightly laying down miles of our world-class corduroy. If you’ve never ridden untouche corduroy it’s an excellent reason to get up on the slope early!

If the skiing goes well I have to thank Dr. Michael Edmunds and therapist “just the first name” Corrie.

CORPORATE TICKETS

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort is extending the deadline for savings on Corporate Lift Tickets. Through today you can purchase Corporate tickets at $10 off the regular ticket price. Take the time to organize the deal, treat yourself to five free tickets. Call Jay Abdo at (530) 581-8210 or email at jabdo@skialpine.com.

SQUAW WEIRDNESS

In the long held tradition of wild and wacky events, and a need to draw the attention of the snow gods, Squaw Valley USA will hold the 11th annual Snow God’s Ball and a series of fun musical gatherings onSaturday afternoons through December.

Each Saturday afternoon Dec. 14, 21 and 28 from 4-6 p.m. in the new Village Green, guests are invited to come puff their cheeks and pound a drum and participate in a unique homemade Alphorn blowing contest and informal Drum Circle program.

“This is sure to be a good time,” says Squaw Valley’s Marketing Director (and an amateur Alphorn maker) Eric Brandt.

The “homemade” Alphorns can be fashioned for under $5 from PVC piping and a large funnel and do, in fact, make a sound resembling that of an authentic European Alphorn.

No previous horn blowing experience is required (although brass players may find it easier to make a sound). Prizes will be awarded each week for the best decorated homemade horn and the longest continuous note. The drum circle will be informal and some drums will be available.

On Friday Dec. 27, at 5 p.m., Squaw Valley will also host true Alphorn players in a special demonstration.

Following the horn blowing and drumming on that Saturday guests are invited inside the Olympic House to dance for the Snow Gods at the 11th Annual Snow God’s Ball. An array of door prizes and raffle prizes will also be given out throughout the evening.

Tickets to the Snow Gods Ball are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and are available now by calling the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol at (530) 581-7260. Doors open at 8 p.m.

You can help raise money for the Excellence in Education

Foundation and the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation and ski or ride Squaw for only $35 by participating in Squaw Valley USA’s Community Ski & Ride Benefit Day on Sunday.

To participate, guests pre-purchase $35 vouchers at Squaw Valley USA’s Cable Car ticket windows in the Cable Car lobby. The vouchers can then be redeemed at Squaw Sunday, Dec. 15 only for an adult all day lift ticket and a two-hour ice skating session at the Olympic Ice Pavilion.

All ticket sale proceeds benefit the Excellence in Education Foundation and the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation. To learn more about the Community Benefit Day call (530) 583-6985 or visit http://www.squaw.com or http://www.squaw.com.

NEW FACES

Alpine Meadows has named Brad Wilson as its new director of marketing. He’s been around the business, having worked at Heavenly, Brian Head in Utah, Dodge Ridge in California and Southern California’s Mountain High Resort.

At Heavenly, Casey Blann is the new VP of mountain operations, replacing Malcolm Tibbets, long a welcome face at the resort. He was previously at Heavenly (1981-93) as Nevada Mountain manager. Andrew Stain has signed in as vice president of government affairs. Wish them luck!

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.