All three ski resorts in the South Lake Tahoe area are now accessible and ready for riders, following the opening of Sierra-at-Tahoe on Friday for the 2013-14 ski season.
Sierra ran one chairlift, the Easy Rider Express, and one run, Broadway, for the season opener, with plans to make more terrain available shortly.
“We’re really optimistic that this next storm will deliver,” spokesperson Steven Hemphill said. “And with that, we’re looking to open more terrain as soon as possible.”
Although limited terrain was available day one, most snowboarders and skiers seemed to enjoy riding the mix of natural and man-made snow. Beginners practiced on Broadway’s small hills, while more experienced riders took to the terrain park.
Martin Gaughan, owner of Mountain Menace Apparel, was one South Lake Tahoe resident who was busy hitting rails at the park. He said he showed up for opening day because Sierra works with his business, and the resort is one of his favorites.
“Opening day (at Sierra-at-Tahoe) is always a big thing for us,” he said, referring to his friends and business.
Gaughan likes the “family” vibe and “laid back” atmosphere that Sierra has become popular for, he said. He considers the resort “his spot,” but also attended opening day at Mammoth, Northstar and Heavenly this year.
“It’s snowboard season,” Gaughan said. “That’s what I live for.”
South Lake Tahoe resident Bill Coaker was taking a break from the mountain Friday, as he watched other riders glide down Broadway. He said the run was the first he ever rode on when learning to snowboard four years ago.
“I spent my first two years here,” he said. “I just wanted to come back.”
Sierra’s ski season may be up and running, but it’s clear that the resort wants to open more features. Construction of a new facility and outdoor plaza persisted at the base of the mountain, and snowmaking machines continued to coat large portions of Broadway.
Hemphill said the resort is excited to get more guests on the hill.
“Keep doing those snow dances,” he said.