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Resorts in full swing with snow

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Sam Bauman

Snowsports have taken an upswing this week with snow measured in feet rather than inches falling in the Sierra Nevada.

Heavenly is in full swing with the Stagecoach lift opening Friday. Also at Heavenly this weekend is the annual Winter Wakeup Call for the media. That means a hundred or so news types will be skittering about. Be nice to them, snowboarders.

Alpine Meadows checks in with more than 4 feet of fresh snow this week, with more expected today. Alpine is opening two more lifts this weekend for a total of seven rolling, with its low $39 tickets on sale. Northstar-at-Tahoe has seven lifts out of 17, and Sierra-at-Tahoe checks in with six lifts running, including the West Bowl.

Squaw Valley is running on all eight with 11 lifts moving. Also open at Squaw are three snowboard parks. Mount Rose should be running everything except the Slide Mountain side, with that possibly coming on over the weekend. Kirkwood hasn’t reported in but everything there should be in full swing.

– Squaw Valley USA’s season-long recreational race series, The Squaw Valley Challenge, is returning for its third season.

The recreational and fun race series, open to skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers, kicks off on Jan. 8 with the first of seven dual slalom races to be held on Squaw Valley’s lower mountain Ford Race Arena and on the Upper Mountain Coin-Op Race Course. The location will switch each race with the first event taking place on the lower mountain. The format for the series is on each of the race days the course will be open between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Competitors may arrive at their convenience, register for $5 at the top of the course and take two timed runs. Racers may compete in one of six categories: men’s and women’s ski, snowboard or telemark. At 3:30 p.m. each race day, participants are invited to Le Chamois’ Loft Bar for an awards presentation and Challenge After Party. Top finishers from each race qualify for the finals scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 17.

Squaw Valley USA is offering guests a chance to help raise money for the Excellence in Education Foundation and the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation, and ski or ride and ice-skate at Squaw Valley USA for only $29 on the resort’s Community Benefit Day Sunday, Dec. 14.

To participate, guests simply pre-purchase $29 vouchers online at http://www.squawshop.com valid for an adult all day lift ticket and a two-hour ice skating session at the Olympic Ice Pavilion on Dec. 14. The tickets can then be picked up in the Cable Car Lobby on Benefit Day. Vouchers are on sale now and only 1,000 are available.

– Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe’s weekend warriors can save up to $19 on lift tickets this season by stopping by a Reno ski/snowboard shops and picking up a coupon valid for a $39 adult all-day lift ticket, valid seven days a week during early and late season.

No purchase necessary. The discount coupons are valid from opening day through December 22, 2003; January 5-16; and March 22 through closing day. Skiers and riders can bring the coupon to any ticket window and redeem it for a $39 lift ticket.

The following shops are participating in this year’s program: Bobo’s Mogul House, Reno Mountain Sports, REI.

– Homewood Mountain Resort will host its 133th annual Ho Homewood Toy Drive on Thursday Dec. 18. Guests who donate a new, unwrapped toy enjoy a day of skiing for just $10. Last year’s event brought in 850 toys for the area’s less fortunate.

Skiers may pick up their discounted ski coupon early by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at Prudential Realty branch offices in Tahoe City and Truckee.

The coupons will be available at these locations through Dec. 17. Coupons will also be available at Homewood Mountain Resort on Thursday, Dec. 18. Call HMR at (530) 525-2992 or check http://www.skihomewood.com.

– Diamond Peak is selling discounted lift tickets at Costco stores for $115.99, or $29 a day versus the usual $44. Costco in Douglas County and Reno are taking part.