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The powder’s cool and I’m getting used to it

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

One more demo before a new ski decision. Sunday it was to Stagecoach at Heavenly with the Atomic M2tron 9s at 171cm.

This was one of those nice January days, sun and snow a nice mix. And the skis, courtesy of the helpful Sporting Rage staff had been waxed and were ready to roll.

So was the skier, after an initial period of getting back in stride the week before. First off, over to Nevada’s Comet and Dipper lifts. As it was early, not much crowd and some corduroy untouched. Warm-up run was fine on the Comet side, then over to Dipper and that long roll between Dipper Knob and Orion. Sticking to the trail edges, the snow was rubbly but solid, not too solid, just right.

The shorter length (compared to the 187cc formerly used) made the turns dirt-easy, short swings endless and effortless. The skis were a bit soft but the earlier test had shown that they could handle ice nicely.

And that’s the verdict: great skis. Only question would be the 9s vs. the 11 stiffer boards. Now to check the bank account.

SQUAW SAVINGS

Squaw Valley will host the annual Community Benefit Day Sunday, Jan. 22. This event offers guests the chance to pre-purchase $35 donation vouchers that are valid for an adult lift ticket and ice skating session on Benefit Day. Proceeds from the online sale of the donation vouchers will benefit the Excellence in Education Foundation and the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation.

To participate, guests must pre-purchase donation will-call vouchers for $35 each online at http://www.squaw.com. Each voucher is valid for one adult all day lift ticket and a two-hour ice skating session at the Olympic Ice Pavilion on Jan. 22.

On Sunday, come to Squaw and head to the base area ticket portals (D Booth) to pick up your tickets. These tickets are only valid on Jan. 22. Only 1,000 vouchers are available for pre-purchase online only.

Local students (Tahoe, Truckee, Incline Village), ages 13-18, with proper ID can register for $10 (one time fee) and receive $5 all day lift tickets on Sundays, snowdays (when school is canceled), holidays, and “in service” days throughout the season. Squaw will be registering for this program on benefit day.

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

NO SNOWBOARDERS, PLEASE

Four U.S. resorts are sticking to a policy of “skiers only.” “When it comes right down to it, it’s our guests who have the largest say in the determination,” said Chuck English, director of mountain operations at Utah’s Deer Valley.

Alta, southeast of Salt Lake City, New Mexico’s Taos and Mad River Glen in Vermont are the others willing to turn away potential business because enough skiers seem to like it that way.

COST CUTTING

Since Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe understand that the holidays can put a dent in the pocketbook, so both resorts are offering ways to save big.

Guests can pick up a coupon valid for a $41 lift ticket at Northstar or

Sierra at Reno ski or snowboard shops. The coupon entitles the holder to purchase a full-day lift ticket at the $41 rate any day from Jan. 2-13 or from March 20 through April 16. Call (530) 550-8364 for a listing of participating shops or visit NorthstarAtTahoe.com or SierraAtTahoe.com.

Three is the magic number at Sierra this season with a variety of three-paks offering big savings on tickets, demos and lessons. Guests can ski or snowboard for as low as $39 per day when they purchase Sierra’s three pak of adult lift tickets for $117. Guests can use this pass any day with no blackout dates.

NORTHSTAR QUAD TICKET PAK

The Quad Ticket Pak is back for the 2005-06 winter season. With the adult Quad Pak guests can ski or snowboard for less than $50 per day. Valid any day of the season, the Quad Pak does not need to be used consecutively. The Quad Pak costs $199 for adults, $169 for young adults and seniors and $49 for children and super seniors. The Quad Pak is non transferable and limited to one ticket per day.

Visit NorthstarAtTahoe.com or SierraAtTahoe.com or call (800) GO-NORTH or (530) 659-7453.

DIAMOND PEAK PARTY

The power is on and the chairs are turning at Diamond Peak. It’s time to celebrate. Diamond Peak will host a party at the Hacienda Friday. Enjoy drink specials, live music and great prizes from Diamond Peak and Village Ski Loft. Party starts at 7 p.m. The Hacienda is at 931 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village. Call (775) 832-1177 or visit diamondpeak.com.

KIRKWOOD UPDATE

Kirkwood is 100 percent open with all 2,300 acres available. With more than 10 feet of snow at the top of the mountain, the mountain is in fine fettle. Kirkwood is grooming right from the top of the mountain.

Slide Mountain Tubing Hill is open; the Village Ice Rink as well. All three terrain parks are open with features for all levels of the freestyle set, gentle rollers and banked turns in Adventureland (Chair 9), low to the snow rails and fun boxes in the DC Playground (Chair 7), and a full blown rail yard and a series of high flying hits in the DC Stomping Grounds (Chair 5).

The Subaru Master of the Mountain arrives at Kirkwood. Join Subaru for free mini-lessons, demos and giveaways at Saturday’s Master of the Mountain event. Sign up on the Village Plaza for mini lessons and to enter to win a pair of skis, snowboard or other prizes.

The Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Center is open, with 80K of groomed double track with skating and snowshoe lanes to the top of the trail system. Call (209) 258-7248.

Season passes are still on sale, starting at just $199 for an Adult Midweek Pass. All paid lift tickets can be turned in for full credit on a season pass; pass must be purchased same day. Call (209) 258-7254 for more information.

AVALANCHE ALERT

For all who need to expand knowledge of avalanches, the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol Avalanche Education Fund Presents “Steep and Deep.” The annual event is a free avalanche awareness clinic that includes multi-media presentations by local guides, extreme skiers, weather forecasters and terrain analysts.

The event will take place at Plaza Bar in Squaw on Friday, Jan. 20th at 7 p.m. This clinic is free.

FULL MOON FUN

Zephyr Cove Resort and Snowmobile Center offers a new “Full Moon Tour” that includes a guided ride to the mountain peaks overlooking Lake Tahoe nights when the full moon is visible.

On three dates this season – Jan. 14, Feb. 11 and March 12 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Zephyr Cove’s professional guides will lead groups on single and double-rider snowmobiles to a trailhead at the top of a 9,000-foot peak for spectacular full moon views across the lake. At the summit, riders will enjoy a bonfire, s’mores and hot cocoa before heading back down the mountain.

The Full Moon Snowmobile Tour is $99 for single-riders and $145 for double-riders. Price includes transportation to the mountain, an open-faced helmet, a snowmobile, and a professional tour guide.

Reservations can be made by calling (800) 23-TAHOE.

KIDS NEXT X

The Sports Illustrated Next X Snow Search Qualifier is Saturday at Kirkwood. The winner is flown to Killington, Vt., to compete in the nationally sponsored Kellogg’s Next X Snow Search competition, which will be covered by NBC during the Olympics. Call (209) 258-7406.