Prepping for spring hiking in Los Angeles | NevadaAppeal.com

Prepping for spring hiking in Los Angeles

SAM BAUMAN

While there is still plenty of snow up there – thank the snow gods – last weekend I decided it was time to get back in the hiking mode for a day. Thus, off to Los Angeles’ Burbank air terminal (makes Reno look like the Taj Mahal) and then to a friend’s in Thousand Oaks. Much partying first, and then Sunday to Wildwood Park, just a few blocks off Highway 101. Plenty of parking there and plenty of hikers – more than one sees in a month on our trails.

The trail follows the Moonridge looking down on Indian Creek. Trail narrows, then drops down steeply into an area of volcanic rock to Paradise Falls, a spectacular 70-foot waterfall cascading into a clear pool. More smaller waterfalls along the return loop, an easy meandering trail along the banks of Indian Creek. Picnic tables at one point along the creek.

It was a three-mile round trip, moderate category, with an elevation gain (up and down) of about 400 feet. The falls are lovely but apparently dry up in the summer.

There are trails leading from the parking lot off to everywhere. To the west are towering volcanic ridges, but didn’t spot any trails there. This is metro hiking, civilized and not demanding. Large mansions scattered about. Four seniors made it without much huffing and puffing.

Fun, but give me Horsetail Falls anytime, like May 1 when we’ll probably finish skiing. Checked on the hike afterwards on the Web and on Google Earth and found plenty of info. Have looked up Natural Bridges National Monument in anticipation of hiking there this May.

It’s the “darkest” national park and is the world’s first International Dark Sky Park so I’ll take my cheap $20 telescope along. And maybe once again enjoy that “river in the sky,” the Milky Way.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

I’s dummy day at Diamond Peak Saturday. The Dummy Downhill has been a favorite event for eight years and every year it gets bigger and better. Build a dummy on skis or snowboards that can be launched off of a big jump.

Those who enter a dummy will receive a free commemorative T-shirt and lift ticket for the day (limit 4 per dummy). The Dummy Downhill is open to the public and there are no registration fees. Dummies need to be at the base lodge by 11 a.m. to be judged on creativity. The jumping will begin at noon and an award ceremony will follow.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will also be joining us for this special event. The organization is a one-to-one youth service that’s been around for more than a century, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada will be enjoying a free ski day. Call 832-1177 or visit http://www.diamondpeak.com.

The triathlon of our generation, Ultimate Boarder, is the only event of its kind: a one-week competition to find the first athlete who can conquer the art of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Opening the field to both amateur and professional athletes, the Ultimate Boarder, held April 13-19, gives unknown riders a chance to shine alongside the pros and compete for the first-ever Ultimate Boarder champion title and a first place prize of $30,000. The snowboard competition will be held at Squaw Valley April 13.

The snowboard competition at Squaw Valley is followed by the surf competition on a date to be determined from April 16-18 and will complete with the skateboard competition and awards ceremony on April 19.

The one-of-a-kind athletes will be competing for a combined $50,000 prize purse, with $30,000 awarded to the first-ever Ultimate Boarder champion, $10,000 to second place, $5,000 to third place. The remaining prize money will be awarded through 10th place. To register visit http://www.ultimateboarder.com.

Northstar-at-Tahoe – The resort is offering a one-day Telemark Camp Sunday for those looking to learn, improve or perfect their technique.

Squaw Valley – Free live music après ski in the Village with Emily Tessmer from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Projected closing date is May 11 (a week later than last year).

Boreal Mountain Resort -Ð The Academy Snowboard Co. is hosting an annual snowboard camp Saturday and Sunday with professional riders Jonas Milchilot, Mike Casanova and Melissa Evans. Projected closing date is April 13.

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort – Throughout the month of April, free lessons and rentals seven days a week with the purchase of an all-day lift ticket (ages 13 to 69 years). Projected closing date is April 27.

Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe – The resort opens the gate to high-flying, speed demon dummies of every shape and size at their annual Dummy Downhill Saturday.

SEASON PASSES

Next season Mammoth season passes are on sale at half-price for a limited time only. Formerly the Gold Pass, the Mammoth Season Pass at half-price ($786) offers the best price available for any full-season pass product. The pass pays for itself in just 10 days of skiing, plus, the pass is unrestricted with no holiday black-out dates. Mammoth Season Pass is also good at June Mountain.

The pass is valid this season, beginning May 1, and with a current base of 8 to 10 feet there’s plenty of great skiing to be had this spring.

Heavenly reports that 2008/2009 season passes will be available for a limited time, for renewal or purchase at last year’s prices.

New buyers who purchase a 2008/09 season pass before the end of the current ski season will be rewarded immediately with free skiing and riding for the remainder of the season (extended to May 4) as well as full summer access to Gondola sightseeing and $10 off the price of the Heavenly Flyer Zip Rider. To make this offer more compelling, Heavenly is offering the adult Pass at last year’s price of $369.

Existing Heavenly season pass holders who renew their Adult Heavenly Pass prior to June 21 receive a $20 price reduction, rolling last year’s price of $369 back to $349. Renewing pass holders also receive a full summer of free Gondola sightseeing access.

The Heavenly Pass is valid all season long, seven days per week, with only nine Holiday blackout dates. New this season, the Heavenly Pass also includes unlimited and unrestricted half-price lift tickets to any of the Vail Resorts’ four Colorado resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone. The Heavenly Pass is available in adult, teen, child and senior prices.

All Heavenly Pass holders who provide their e-mail addresses are eligible to join the exclusive Heavenly Pass Holder Club, giving its members access to on-mountain information and special deals all winter.

Season passes can currently be purchased at the two Heavenly season pass offices, at the Gondola and California Lodge, by calling (800) HEAVENLY, or by visiting http://www.heavenlypass.com.

Heavenly’s prices for all 2008/2009 pass products are through 6/21/08:

Adult Pass (19-64) – Valid 7 days/week, with blackout dates, $349/$369; Teen Pass (13-18) – Valid 7 days/week, with blackout dates , $279/$299; Child Pass (5-12) – Valid 7 days/week, with blackout dates, $169/$189; Senior Pass (65 and up) – Valid 7 days/week, with blackout dates, $269/$289.

Blackout dates: Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29. Holiday, Saturday, Dec. 27 through Wednesday, Dec. 31; Presidents’ Weekend: Saturday, Feb. 14 and Sunday, Feb. 15.

And the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area is open daily through April 13. Great conditions! Call (530) 583-5475.

• Contact Sam Bauman at Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.