Springtime skiing is the best | NevadaAppeal.com

Springtime skiing is the best

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

Last Sunday morning was a day to cherish for snowsporters. Heavenly was closing, true, and most of the other resorts around Tahoe had closed (Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth are still open).

The dining room at the California base lodge was deserted, parking lot less than 20 percent filled. No line at the Gunbarrel chairlift. There were low clouds hanging over East Peak. Gunbarrel run still looked doable.

Once off Gunbarrel and up the Powder Bowl six-pack, it was clear that there were a few inches of fresh snow on top of ice. To Sky chair was a smooth cut through trees. Again, no line, just clouds and a bit of dampness in the air. Sky chair was cloaked in more misty clouds and at the top the choice was either Nevada for Dipper chair or the Ridge Trail (Ellie’s looked fine, save it for last). Clouds hung over the Nevada cross trail, so we opted for California.

Most guests had headed for Nevada. But Ridge Trail lured. And in moments we were off the cat track and on open slope. The clouds lifted, the sun powered up and the snow was practically untouched. Halfway down the initial slope the pitch increases and we stopped for a look.

There wasn’t a soul in sight. Nobody. Just a big, empty slope with Lake Tahoe out there somewhere. Empty. Just me. Never had I skied the Ridge Trail without another skier or rider in sight. I could look back and see my parallel tracks in the fresh snow. Nobody around to mess them up. It was weird.

And it was kind of epiphany of sorts. This was why we ski in the springtime. These moments of splendor all of our own. There will never be another one. Thanks, mountains and skies and snow.

The rest of the run was pure silk, the light snow masking the ice, making one feel like a true skier. And that was the last day at Heavenly.

The last day on the slopes for the year? Nope, Squaw Valley this weekend, thanks, and Alpine if time and gardening permit.


To celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, Squaw Valley is offering $10 off on lift tickets to moms when accompanied by a son or daughter purchasing a regular lift ticket. High Camp will be open, so there is a hot tub, swimming pool and poolside bar waiting, plus a special mountaintop brunch buffet at High Camp.

Call (530) 583-6985 or visit http://www.squaw.com.


Alpine Meadows Ski Resort has begun its official spring hours of operation. Daily skiing and snowboarding will be offered from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. throughout the month of May.

Spring prices are also in effect, with adult lift tickets $29 every day. Spring skiing and riding diehards also have the option of purchasing a $99 spring lift pass, valid every day with no restrictions until the end of the 2005 season.

Upcoming events like the Mad Cow Downhill Saturday, Annual Snow Golf Tournament May 14, and scheduled weekly Saturday live music perk the days along. Call (530) 583-4232 or visit http://www.skialpine.com.