OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. - Skiers and riders can make their first Tahoe turns Thursday at Squaw Valley for a special one-day "Welcome Winter Fundraiser" in celebration of the significant pre-season snowfall, officials announced late Tuesday afternoon.With snow still expected to fall through Wednesday, the first snow storm of the 2012-13 winter season has already delivered 28 inches to Squaw Valley and 36 inches to Alpine Meadows, and another 6-9 inches are expected by Thursday, officials said in a press release.Due to the snowfall, Squaw will run its Searchlight chairlift this Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering skiing and riding to the general public for a $20 lift ticket, the proceeds of which will benefit the newly formed Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Teams Foundation.According to the press release, Squaw/Alpine passholders can pay a $10 voluntary donation, and Squaw/Alpine will match the donation. Searchlight is recommended for intermediate to advanced ability levels, not beginners."With the excitement of this abundant first snowfall we want to give our customers a taste of winter," said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, in a statement. "We hope everyone will take this opportunity to get out on the slopes in celebration of the new snow and to help support the Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Teams Foundation."According to the release, the Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Teams Foundation is "dedicated to supporting young amateur athletes interested in developing skills in snow sports through participation in a Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows competitive or non-competitive ski or snowboard team."The foundation was created to help with financial assistance to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows snow sport team athletes who either have a financial need or have achieved a higher level of competition, which requires extensive travel and specialized training programs.Additionally, the foundation will provide financial support for coach continuing education programs with the goal of increasing the quality of coaching, instruction and development of athletes.Squaw's official opening day is scheduled for November 21, with Alpine's at December 7.
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