Matthew Renda

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November 15, 2012
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Tahoe area ski resorts to open early

Last ski season, if it can even be called that, did not witness a substantial amount of snow drop on the Lake Tahoe ski resorts until Valentine’s Day.

Those in the ski industry
will point out that once snow came in mid-February, it did not stop until early May, making March and April replete with powder days.

But those in what ski resorts call the “drive-up market” — residents of the Bay Area, Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills — have typically moved onto other recreational activities by the late spring, said Jennie Bartlett, a spokeswoman with Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

This year, the precipitation has hit early and often, causing many ski resorts to open early and others to strongly consider it.

“(The early snow) has done wonders for getting skiers and snowboarders excited about the upcoming season,” said Paul Raymore, spokesman for Homewood Ski Resort.

“The new snow and cold temperatures mean all the Tahoe resorts are making a concerted effort to open as soon as possible.”

Northstar-at-Tahoe and Heavenly Mountain Resort, both owned by Vail Resorts, have already opened their gates, moving their opening day up to Nov. 14.

The resorts had originally planned to open Friday.

Kirkwood, purchased by Vail Resorts in February, will open Friday.

“With the recent snowfall and incredibly cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing … our two resorts are opening early,” said Jessica VanPernis in an email.

Sugar Bowl, which is the nearest major resort to western Nevada County, will begin spinning the ski lifts Saturday.

“As diehard skiers and riders, the starting line is a beautiful thing … filled with the anticipation of deep powder days, high-speed corduroy cruisers, solitary tree runs and the undeniable, alluring and utterly compelling beauty of winter in the mountains,” wrote John Monson, spokesman for Sugar Bowl, on the resort’s website.

Last year, Sugar Bowl opened briefly in November but had to wait until mid-December until operations began in full force, and even then, the entire resort was not open, Monson said.

“Obviously, we are off to a way better start,” Monson said.

Squaw Valley also pushed its opening date up, as preliminary plans call for the resort to open Friday.

Alpine Meadows, which is owned by the same company as Squaw Valley, has tentatively scheduled its opening date for Dec. 7.

However, an earlier start date is possible, said Jenny Kendrick, Alpine spokeswoman.

Homewood Ski Resort still plans to open Dec. 14, but serious consideration is being given to moving up the opening date, Raymore said.

Sierra-at-Tahoe has plans to open Nov. 22.

Mt. Rose Ski Resort in Nevada has yet to announce an opening date, and nearby Diamond Peak plans to open Dec. 13.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or call (530) 477-4239.

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The Union Updated Nov 15, 2012 07:23AM Published Nov 16, 2012 11:29PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.