Resorts will be opening throughout month of November
BY SAM BAUMAN
There’s snow capping the mountains and more due Saturday and next week, so snowsporting time is here.
Over at Mammoth Mountain they are up and running with limited trails but that should improve over the weekend (see below for opening dates). Boreal is hoping to open this weekend and all the other mountain resorts are gearing up for Thanksgiving openings. At A-Basin in Colorado, perched on the Continental Divide, they’ve been open weekends for almost a month. Temperatures have been cold enough in the mountains here to let the snow blowers begin building a base.
Hiking is far from over, however, and there are a couple of the lower trails that will be passable for a while. One that invites is off King Street to the left heading west. No big challenge, it seems, but should offer some nice local views. Then there are all those 4-wheel drive roads south of Highway 50. For a map of those roads contact Parks and Recreation Commission and ask for the open spaces map.
TUNING UP FOR THE SNOW
As the snowsport season starts it is time to do some maintenance on skis and snowboards. If you’re pressed for time you can always take them to the Sporting Rage on Highway 395 on the south end of town. They do a fine job of tuning and while they are undoubtedly swamped right now, they’ll work to get you up on the slopes.
But if you’ve got a little time and modest shop skills, you can do the tuning at home. Since skis and snowboards share the same basic components ” a P-tex base, steel edges ” the same procedures work for both. You need a flat surface and if possible ski clamps to hold the skis in place.
First off, either get wax remover or a good scraping blade. With the wax remover use as the product directs. With the scraper lock the skis base up and scrape away, peeling the old wax off. Before adding new wax, check the edges. Small burrs or slices can make turning and speed difficult. Use a file to take out the worst dings, then use a Colorado stone to smooth things out. Try not to alter the bevel edges as ski makers have specific angles built in. A dish scrub pad can add the final touches.
For the waxing you’ll need either a tool made for the job or an old electric iron plus, of course, new wax. I buy the big block such as Sporting Rage uses; get the appropriate wax for your skiing or riding style.
With the ski base up, hold the wax against the plate of the tool, and as the wax melts dribble it the length of the surface. Don’t try to coat the entire base, just a dribble along the way is enough. Then with the iron set at medium slide it across the ski (or board) surface, melting the wax over the entire surface of the ski. Try to make it the same thickness throughout and go back over it a couple of times to make sure all the surface is covered.
A time out.
The idea of waxing is not just to make the ski or board go faster and turn easier, although both are enhanced. What this does is fill the tiny pores in the P-tex so that they will not suck up the melted snow and make speed and turning more difficult. Don’t hold off on waxing because you don’t want to go fast; the wax makes the skis easier to turn.
Once you’ve waxed the skis put them out in the cold for an hour to let the wax set. Then bring them in and again scrape the wax down to a smooth surface. You’ll take off wax but enough will remain to plug those holes. When you transport the skis try to put something between the bases so the wax won’t get rubbed off.
Bindings are another matter. If you released the pressure on the bindings when you put the skis away, be sure and restore it, using the same DIN number as in the past, unless significant body changes have taken place. I’ll probably use a slightly lower DIN number this year because of the the right knee. If you have any doubts about your bindings, take the skis (and boots) to the Sporting Rage; the shop there can test your bindings and make to crank in the right DIN setting.
Boots usually don’t need any repairs, but check for the locks that limit play. Remember, toes should move freely to keep the feet warm. If you’re buying new boots, be sure and try new ones on in the afternoon; feet expand during the day and a morning fit may not be right. Similarly, not much need be done with poles unless you banged them up last season and need new ones.
As for clothing, everyone to his or her own taste. I came across a pair of old ski pants the other day ” padded, tight fitting. Nowadays I wear cheap silk underwear with a shell outside. My ski helmet is a must; it has saved my head a couple of times, once when skiing the trees and going between two tree trunks I was impacted by a jagged tree limb that I hadn’t seen. It left a mark on the help but I hate to think what my head would have looked like.
What else? Remember that in these days of high-speed lifts you get a lot more runs in a hurry. Don’t try to ski the whole day nonstop, and never “take that last run.” Always quit before that.
I hope to be teaching at Heavenly this year, so check on the Nevada side for any questions or just to ski with me.
Drop in to the Chocolate Bar in downtown Reno and enjoy crafted appetizers and drinks while getting the opportunity for savings up to $50 on a Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort season pass. That’s today from 4 to 7 p.m. Savory small plates, drink creations and up to $50 savings on your Double Whammy season pass. Guests will have the chance to purchase their season pass from a Northstar representative at the Chocolate Bar, or receive a coupon in their bill redeemable at Northstar Resort on or before November 30.
Look for the Grand Opening of The Chocolate Bar in the new Village at Northstar in December.
Opening dates are around the corner, with Boreal scheduled for today, Heavenly for November 21 and Squaw Valley USA and Northstar-at-Tahoe for November 22. Alpine Meadows plans to open November 26, Sugar Bowl is November 27, Mt. Rose is the week of December 8 and Diamond Peak is scheduled for December 11. All openings are weather permitting. Other ski resorts throughout the region plan to open later this year.
Novice skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to take part in the 9th Annual Learn to Ski and Board Weekend, December 13-14, when for just $25 they receive a lift ticket, rentals and lesson.
First-timers have their choice of nine resorts to learn at, including Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Diamond Peak, Granlibakken, Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA and Sugar Bowl. Reservations are not required, but participants should arrive early. Click to http://www.GoTahoeNorth.com.
Incidentally, Homewood is offering an “Own the Mountain for a Day” program where a group or club can rent part of the mountain for that day. Call (530) 535-2992 or see firstname.lastname@example.org.