Want snow? Boreal’s already on it | NevadaAppeal.com

Want snow? Boreal’s already on it

Sam Bauman
Special to the Appeal
Sam Bauman/Special to the Appeal

In the past it was always a race to see which mountain resort would open first, with Boreal up on I-80 usually winning.

And Boreal will do it again this year with snow-making already in progress for the annual Jibassic Pro Invitational meet Oct. 25. Unless we get a major weather shift, Boreal will close down after the Invitational and keep on making snow.

This year Boreal is using a new snow-making system with fans rather than compressed air power. This will save some 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel used by compressed air systems and reduce carbon emissions by more than 300 tons, according to Mountain manager Shaydar Edelmann. The new snow-making system is by Snow Machine Inc.

Boreal has long been highly popular with Bay Area skiers and borders because of its location on I-80, a straight shot from San Francisco. While Boreal doesn’t rival such as Squaw Valley and Heavenly for size, its nighttime operations draw plenty of business.


Two new surface lifts will debut this winter at Kirkwood, which has gone from the locals’ favorite to big-time real estate developement. The two lifts will service Covered Wagon Peak and Fawn Ridge, both open only to hikers in the past. No firm word on which kind of surface lift will be used.

The two most popular are the T-bar, which hangs a T from a cable attached to the main lift cable, and the Poma, which is a disk attached to the main cable by a spring-tensioned cable. Both lifts can be built where terrain makes chairlifts impossible to build. And obviously they are cheaper to build and maintain.

Both require moderate skill to use. The T-bar can usually pull two people at once, the Poma just one. Both are in wide use in Europe where terrain is not suitable for chair lifts. Not many surface lifts have been built in the United States in recent years, but back when I started skiing in Colorado they were the mainstays.

At Arapaho Basin on the Continental Divide in Colorado, they had a Poma serving one of the black diamond runs. It was quite tricky as you would stand at the base tower, put the disk between your legs and hold on. The liftee would trigger the lift and you would go flying for about 10 to 15 feet as the spring cable suddenly tightened and jerked you into midair. And that wasn’t all; halfway up the terrain flattened and the hook on the cable will slip and again you would go airborne for 10 or 15 feet.

That Poma is long gone now; a couple of years ago I skied A-Basin, which has ties to Vail resorts for lift riding. A-Basin is still a purist’s resort; no accommodations, just a restaurant and some of the best skiing in the West. I learned to ski there at $5 a lift ticket. Those indeed were the days.


Squaw Valley has embarked on a complete redo of its restaurant at the top of the Funitel lift. All new menu, all new decor, all new prices. The Funitel is one of the real successes at Squaw at the 28-person capacity gets riders up the hill a lot faster than the cable car. Squaw also takes care of super seniors with free lift tickets for those over 80. Mt. Rose is also nice to the supers, with free lift tickets Monday-Friday and free clinics with Rusty Crook daily. Hard to beat a deal like that – and they give seniors a free continental breakfast as well.


Some 15 years ago I lived on Kahle Drive in Stateline in an apartment with a fine view of what we called then the Kahle Meadow.

Once upon a time the meadow was to become a casino, but the owners couldn’t get a gaming license so they gave the property to the state or Stateline.

Back then I would hike or bike the crude trail as it paralleled Highway 50 on the way down to Nevada Beach, then as now a state park and campground. Lots of trails going off in various directions and plenty of un-tracked piles of rocks alongside.

It’s different now, with the trail heading down toward Lake Tahoe and no trailhead for the old track. The trail is beautifully maintained and is about as civilized as any I’ve trod, and it is popular, as I met at least 20 people there on a midweek day.

First thing you spot is a pond, fed by a spring on the other side of Highway 50. Not big, but it is quiet and ducks love it. About 100 yards farther and you come to a bridge over the trickling steam. This is one of the best built and longest bridges I’ve run across in Nevada – arcing around the wet stuff.

The trail is mostly modest up and down and is a little less than a mile to Nevada Beach. A large meadow stretches toward Kahle Drive with some house trailers tucked into trees, the only sign of habitation. A couple of benches are along the trail offering places to sit and enjoy the views. A big part of the meadow is closed for native plant rehab. But meadows reach out on both sides of the trail as it curves toward the lake. A side trail leads northwards across another meadow and there are hillocks that are tempting along the way.

The trail winds up at Nevada Beach which offers some magnificent views of the mountains to the west. There are camping spots with grills and bear-proof lockers for food. Camping starts at $5 and goes up for RVs. Maybe this is too close for Carson City campers to enjoy, but it would be a nice place to send visitors wanting to camp.

The beach itself is long and sandy; it ends to the left in the trailer park; to the right is a commercial recreation site. This, incidentally, is a fine place to view fireworks from South Lake Tahoe. And for a light picnic lunch the beach couldn’t be prettier.

You can start at Elks Point for Nevada Beach, $5 to enter. With two cars you can leave one at one end and the other at the other end for a single pass trek.

All the signs have been taken down so I have no idea of what the restrictions are for dogs, but most I saw were not on the leash, except for one young lady pushing her baby in stroller with a small dog on a leash.

In the old days we used to hike the trail all year long, explore the hills of rocks amid the trees, and from the looks of the trail, it’ll be good all winter. I

t’s also one of those places where you can take visiting flatlanders that isn’t demanding so they can enjoy the beautiful scenery and get up close to the lake. Not a lot of work here, but a lot of natural beauty and fragrance from the pines and shrugs. It’s Nevada at its best.