October 24, 2012 | Back to: News

Lake Tahoe ski resorts claim industry spotlight

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - Resort acquisitions and the subsequent outpouring of capital investments into the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts have created a resurgence of energy and excitement in the local ski industry and Lake Tahoe region heading into the 2012-13 season. Lake Tahoe resorts hold a promising future thanks to more than $100 million in ongoing capital improvements designed to enhance the guest experience. Bucking the industry trend of reduced capital spending this season, Ski Lake Tahoe resorts have announced a number of new chairlifts, mid-mountain lodges, base area renovations and added guest amenities that will welcome skiers and snowboarders to the slopes for the 2012-13 winter season."Lake Tahoe is in the unique position of benefiting from significant capital spending by both private companies and public entities who realize that the destination's time is now," said Julie Maurer, president of Ski Lake Tahoe. "The big winner from these ongoing improvements will be destination travelers as they are greeted by a host of new lifts, on-mountain developments, hip restaurants and unique, fun events this season."Improved early season conditions and the return of El NioThis upcoming season looks promising in terms of snowfall, as well, with long-range forecasters calling for a return of a favorable El Nio weather scenario, the last of which had lifts turning in Lake Tahoe from Halloween to the Fourth of July. To supplement the legendary Sierra snowstorms regularly measured in feet rather inches, several resorts have upgraded snowmaking systems and expanded grooming fleets to ensure reliable early season conditions and top-to-bottom skiing and riding in advance of the holidays.Renowned events, festivals and unmatched 24/7 entertainmentIn addition to new chairlifts and expanded terrain options, Lake Tahoe continues to offer a greater variety of diversions both on and off the slopes when compared to other destinations. This winter the resorts will be adding a number of family-friendly amenities and attractions for the non-skier such as ice skating rinks, tubing parks, mini-snowmobile trails and treetop canopy tours. The resorts have also upped the ante in terms of aprs ski parties and 24/7 nightlife options including the return of the second annual SnowGlobe Festival that drew upwards of 10,000 revelers last season. Finally, Lake Tahoe has been selected to host numerous world-class events and competitions this season including the US Alpine Championships, the US Freestyle Championships, the World Freeride Tour and the final stop of The North Face Park & Pipe Open Series.Improved destination accessGetting to Lake Tahoe will also be easier this season thanks to new air service options to the region, airport enhancements and improved local access. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport has announced a number of new flights for the upcoming winter season such as new nonstop service from the Ontario International Airport. Additionally, more than $27 million in new facilities will be unveiled at the airport including a new modern security checkpoint, streamlined baggage handling and vastly upgraded dining and shopping options. Finally, the opening of the entirely new Interstate 580 will shave more than 10 minutes off the drive to the slopes with a long-term goal of providing a stoplight free drive from the airport to the lake.The most affordable, quality ski vacations in AmericaPerhaps most impressive, Lake Tahoe ski resorts continue to offer a totally unique, laid-back California ski vacation while still boasting the most affordable stay-and-ski packages in the entire country starting as low as $79 per person. Guests can also take advantage of the Ski Lake Tahoe Six-Pack Lift Ticket to ski or ride six days at all seven top-rated Lake Tahoe resorts for only $299.What's newAlpine Meadows has partnered with industry-leading Snow Park Technologies to design a mile-long terrain park that will incorporate both manmade and natural features on a top-to-bottom run accessed from the Summit Express chairlift. Already connected via a complimentary shuttle, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley have announced a new pilot program, in conjunction with the United States Forest Service, exploring the feasibility of installing permanent gated access between the resorts for experienced backcountry travelers. Alpine has also completed significant upgrades to its snowmaking systems on a number of top-to-bottom runs on the mountain. For more information, please visit www.skialpine.com.Heavenly Mountain Resort is turning up the volume on its "Unbuckle at Tamarack" aprs ski parties this season featuring DJs, drink specials, go-go dancers and the ever-popular Heavenly Angels. The action takes place at the recently constructed Tamarack Lodge located mid-mountain atop the resort's scenic two-mile long gondola. The LEED-certified lodge houses Bar '9150 with a dcor of rustic chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows and seating for 500 inside and 250 patio seats. Tamarack Lodge is the centerpiece of more than $30 million in recent upgrades to the family friendly Adventure Peak area that includes lift-served tubing lanes, snowbikes and a new kids' adventure zone called Black Bear Hollow. At the base of the gondola, guests will be greeted by smells of basil and tomato from the doors of the newly opened BaseCamp Pizza. Vail Resorts has also announced the next generation of its ever-popular EpicMix technology that will allow guests to compare their race results against those of Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn. Log on to www.skiheavenly.com to learn more.Recently welcomed to the Vail Resorts family, Kirkwood Mountain Resort received a resort-wide facelift this off-season that included upgrades to its food and beverage outlets, comfort bars being added to all chairlifts and significant investments in state-of-the-art snow removal equipment. Boasting more than 600 inches of annual snowfall, Kirkwood has purchased a new Howitzer avalauncher intended to get the resort's infamous steeps open on time as well as a Zaugg snow blower, the very same rotary plow used by the California Department of Transportation, to keep parking lots open and accessible during big storms. Certain to be the tip of the iceberg, these initial upgrades follow last year's $6 million in capital improvements that included a complete renovation to the slope-side rooms of the Mountain Club property along with a new state-of-the-art facility for the resort's Expedition: Kirkwood program. Vail Resorts' Epic Mix platform extends to Kirkwood this season and the resort will serve as one of six stops worldwide for the recently merged Freeride World Tour. Visit www.kirkwood.com for more information.Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, in cooperation with the with the Nevada Division of Forestry, has continued work on a multi-year forest management project that includes the thinning and removal of diseased, damaged trees with an ultimate goal of a healthier forest. Other off-season projects included the re-alignment of the Little Mule conveyor lift resulting in a friendlier layout for the Rosebuds teaching terrain. Guests can get a feeling for the resort's bright future by visiting the recently constructed, modernistic Winters Creek Lodge complete with state-of-the-art windspires designed to help power the facility in a more environmentally-friendly fashion. Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe has also partnered with a number of Reno casino properties to offer stay-and-ski packages starting as low as $79. Log on to www.mtrose.com for further details.Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this season, Northstar California will be showcasing more than $30 million in capital improvements including the new Promised Land high-speed detachable quad chairlift and the stunning new Zephyr Lodge that offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Crest. This winter will mark the first full season for guests to explore two entirely new runs, additional gladed tree skiing and sign up for guided backcountry tours via snowcat on the advanced terrain found off of Sawtooth Ridge, an area marked for future expansion. The resort has also partnered with Burton to introduce a new Riglet Park that eases the learning curve for 3 to 6-year-old snowboarders just getting started, and will once again work with Olympic gold medalist and perennial X Games Champion Shaun White to construct a 22-foot custom Superpipe. The resort will also open Tavern 6330', a slope-side American grill, joining the scores of restaurants and bars in its mountain village. For more details, visit www.northstarcalifornia.com.Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has collaborated with Burton Snowboards and LucasFilms LTD to create the one-of-a-kind Burton Star Wars Experience. Complete with chainsaw carvings of Yoda, R2D2, Chewbacca and the adorable Ewoks, it entices kids as young as 3-years-old into snowboarding, combining Burton's tested teaching methodologies with the storylines of the Star Wars saga. The resort has also upgraded the family-friendly offerings at its Blizzard Mountain snowplay area to include snowcat rides, snowman kits, snowball makers, fire pits, s'mores and more. This season backcountry enthusiasts can sign up for guided snowcat tours of the recently incorporated steep and deep terrain found in Huckleberry Canyon. Visit www.sierraattahoe.com for complete details.As part of its five-year, $70 million "Renaissance," Squaw Valley will be unveiling two new lifts this season - the high-speed, detachable six-pack "Big Blue Express" and the upgraded "Mountain Meadow" triple chair. The resort has also significantly upgraded its snowmaking systems to improve and more efficiently cover the mountain from top to bottom. A major emphasis has also been placed on improving the flow and feel of the village base area along with upgrading the dining and shopping options. This season's additions will include a completely remodeled Olympic Plaza Bar celebrating the resort's storied past, the new Parallel Sports offering the convenience of slope-side ski demos and the Ledge Board Shop promising a cool vibe and a welcoming staff. Further information can be found at www.squaw.com.For complete details on booking a winter getaway to Lake Tahoe visit SkiLakeTahoe.com to conveniently access resort profiles, weather forecasts, real-time snow reports, webcams and online discounts on both lift tickets and lodging.About Ski Lake TahoeSurrounding North America's largest alpine lake, the seven resorts that make up Ski Lake Tahoe are Alpine Meadows, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar California Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and Squaw Valley. Lake Tahoe boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, and the region has some of the highest annual snowfall amounts in North America. The seven resorts, all offering unparalleled scenic vistas of panoramic mountain and lake views, are located less than an hour from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For further information and to directly book travel, lodging and transportation for Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and its travel partners, visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 24, 2012 03:14PM Published Oct 24, 2012 01:47PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.