The ski industry: Tahoe-Truckee resorts partnering more to provide cross-region travel incentive | TahoeDailyTribune.com

The ski industry: Tahoe-Truckee resorts partnering more to provide cross-region travel incentive

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — The recent announcement by Sugar Bowl Resort that its 2015-16 season pass will provide access to Woodward Tahoe is the latest example of a trend that has been sweeping mountain resort businesses for several years: cross-promotion. For the upcoming winter, a season pass to Sugar Bowl also means you'll get a few day tickets to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, along with some at Woodward, which is located at Boreal Mountain Resort. Woodward Tahoe is marketed as the Tahoe-area's freestyle training center, offering trampolines, foam pits, an indoor skatepark, pump track, and launch pads for park skis and park boards. Both are located within 10 minutes of one another on Donner Summit. Sugar Bowl Marketing Director John Monson said the partnership is about providing value to the customer. In addition to lower ticket prices, season pass holders also receive discounts on food and beverages, rentals and lessons at Sugar Bowl. "We see a big shift toward season pass holders versus day ticket holders," said Monson. In fact, Monson said more than half the ski days at the resort are now used by season pass holders. These pass holders want to get the value of a season pass, but not have to be locked in to only skiing at one resort, he said. If they buy a season pass at Sugar Bowl, and also get to ski a few days at Squaw, it is a win-win for everyone, Monson said — Sugar Bowl sells a pass, and Squaw gets a skier who will be introduced to the area and perhaps support the village and on-slope amenities. FRIENDLY COMPETITION The Wooodward-Sugar Bowl combo is the latest in a newer era in the ski industry, in which resorts are competing with each other — while at the same time encouraging skiers to try out the competition, said Squaw Valley spokesperson Michael Ratliff. "By offering skiers and riders access to multiple resorts on a single season pass, we're increasing the diversity of mountain experience available to our guests," Radlick said. "This gives our guests an unbeatable value and even more access to the most incredible destinations across the country while increasing their flexibility to hit the slopes when and where the conditions are best." For example, a Squaw/Alpine 2015-16 season pass also provides you some tickets to Sierra-at-Tahoe, located south of South Lake Tahoe. Other partnerships recently include Heavenly providing access to ski at its sister resorts, Northstar and Kirkwood; and a Homewood pass that gets you tickets to Diamond Peak and June Mountain. One reason that these cross-promotion programs are a hit is because of how the pricing structure has changed over the last 10 years at mountain resorts. While the cost of a day ticket has gone up to more than $100 at some areas, season pass prices are relatively inexpensive. Passes at the top ski resorts can be found in the $400-500 range (with restrictions), with even the top unrestricted passes in the $600-800 range. Thus, if someone skis 30 days in a year at their favorite mountain, they are paying less then $20 a day. If that pass holder then has to fork out $100 to ski at another mountain just down the road, though, it can be a pill that is tough to swallow. Once several ski areas started providing tickets to other mountains — all the rest needed to jump on the bandwagon to compete. Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, now in it's third edition, as well as Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children. He may be reached at writeonrex@yahoo.com.

U.S. National Skiing Championships to return to Squaw Valley

OLYMPIC VALLEY – For the first time in 22 years, the alpine skiing national championships are returning to Squaw Valley USA. Adding to what already looks to be a momentous year for the resort, Squaw Valley will host the races in mid-March, two weeks after the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics are scheduled to end. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and the ski resort are expected to reach an official agreement this week that would solidify the 2002 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships coming to Tahoe. The Park City-based association held last year’s national championships at Big Mountain in Whitefish, Mont., which was expected to be this year’s venue as well. However, after a drought season, Big Mountain officials determined they couldn’t host the championships due to financial reasons. After considering resorts in Colorado and Alaska, USSA chose Squaw Valley. “It’s a great venue. The biggest challenge is finding an adequate downhill, and obviously Squaw has one,” said Sarah Bergstrom, Alpine events manager for USSA. Squaw Valley’s race director, Gary Pedersen, credited the resort’s diligence, and the USSA-sanctioned events and Ford Downhill Series it previously hosted in winning the bid. It also bodes well for possible future events, he said. “The more of this kind of stuff you do, the more credibility it gives you in this business,” Pedersen said. “It’s a prestige to say you’ve hosted the U.S. Nationals, the highest level amateur ski race in the United States.” In addition to the prestige, Pedersen said, the championships occur after the Olympics, which gives spectators a chance to watch Olympic-caliber racers, and possibly even an Olympic medalist. The entire U.S. Alpine team is expected to compete, including Daron Rahlves of Truckee and other local athletes such as South Lake Tahoe’s Jonna Mendes and Marco Sullivan and Julia Mancuso, both of Tahoe City. The last time Squaw Valley hosted the event was 1980, also following the Lake Placid, N. Y., Olympic Games. “We’re excited because this is a new venue for us. Things have changed a lot since we were there last. It’s a really challenging hill, and spectator access is really good,” Bergstrom said. The championships will be earlier than usual this year, with athletes arriving for training March 10. The first national event will be the downhill for men and women on March 14. The final race will be the men’s giant slalom March 19. The downhill will be held on the Olympic Lady and Exhibition runs and the Super G and giant slalom events will also be off KT-22. Squaw Valley isn’t the only resort involved. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort will host the men’s and women’s slalom Sunday, March 17. The reason for the shift, according to Bergstrom, is because the course takes a particular beating when the men’s and women’s slalom is raced on the same day. “We probably have one of the best slalom hills in the state right now, if not the country,” said Greg Murtha, director of marketing and sales at Sugar Bowl. Murtha added that in terms of logistics it’s easier to work with another resort to deliver the best possible package. Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl co-hosted the Junior Olympics in 2000. The coming ski season should be a big year for Squaw Valley, with the opening of Intrawest’s Village at Squaw Valley, the Olympic torch passing through the before it stops in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics and now the U.S. Nationals. While Squaw Valley and USSA will cooperate in shouldering the financial burden for the championships, the amount of visitors should be a boon to local business. “The people coming associated with it, the athletes, the parents, the technicians, the officials – it’s quite a large group visiting just by themselves,” Pedersen said. ESPN will also cover the event, Pedersen said, adding the national press coverage should be great. “We haven’t done anything like in this in 20 years and it’s a different animal now,” he said. “It’ll be a great thing.” U.S. Alpine Championships March 11-19 Squaw Valley Usa Sunday, March 10: Arrival Monday, March 11: M/W Downhill Training, Squaw Valley Tuesday, March 12: M/W Downhill Training, Squaw Valley Wednesday, March 13: M/W FIS DH, Squaw Valley Thursday, March 14: M/W National DH, Squaw Valley Friday, March 15: Women Super G, Squaw Valley Saturday, March 16: Men Super-G, Squaw Valley; and Return of the Champions, Squaw Valley Sunday, March 17: M/W Slalom, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort; and Nationals Banquet Monday, March 18: Women Giant Slalom, Squaw Valley Tuesday, March 19: Men Giant Slalom, Squaw Valley Wednesday, March 20: Departure

U.S. National Skiing Championships to return to Squaw Valley

OLYMPIC VALLEY – For the first time in 22 years, the alpine skiing national championships are returning to Squaw Valley USA. Adding to what already looks to be a momentous year for the resort, Squaw Valley will host the races in mid-March, two weeks after the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics are scheduled to end. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and the ski resort are expected to reach an official agreement this week that would solidify the 2002 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships coming to Tahoe. The Park City-based association held last year’s national championships at Big Mountain in Whitefish, Mont., which was expected to be this year’s venue as well. However, after a drought season, Big Mountain officials determined they couldn’t host the championships due to financial reasons. After considering resorts in Colorado and Alaska, USSA chose Squaw Valley. “It’s a great venue. The biggest challenge is finding an adequate downhill, and obviously Squaw has one,” said Sarah Bergstrom, Alpine events manager for USSA. Squaw Valley’s race director, Gary Pedersen, credited the resort’s diligence, and the USSA-sanctioned events and Ford Downhill Series it previously hosted in winning the bid. It also bodes well for possible future events, he said. “The more of this kind of stuff you do, the more credibility it gives you in this business,” Pedersen said. “It’s a prestige to say you’ve hosted the U.S. Nationals, the highest level amateur ski race in the United States.” In addition to the prestige, Pedersen said, the championships occur after the Olympics, which gives spectators a chance to watch Olympic-caliber racers, and possibly even an Olympic medalist. The entire U.S. Alpine team is expected to compete, including Daron Rahlves of Truckee and other local athletes such as South Lake Tahoe’s Jonna Mendes and Marco Sullivan and Julia Mancuso, both of Tahoe City. The last time Squaw Valley hosted the event was 1980, also following the Lake Placid, N. Y., Olympic Games. “We’re excited because this is a new venue for us. Things have changed a lot since we were there last. It’s a really challenging hill, and spectator access is really good,” Bergstrom said. The championships will be earlier than usual this year, with athletes arriving for training March 10. The first national event will be the downhill for men and women on March 14. The final race will be the men’s giant slalom March 19. The downhill will be held on the Olympic Lady and Exhibition runs and the Super G and giant slalom events will also be off KT-22. Squaw Valley isn’t the only resort involved. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort will host the men’s and women’s slalom Sunday, March 17. The reason for the shift, according to Bergstrom, is because the course takes a particular beating when the men’s and women’s slalom is raced on the same day. “We probably have one of the best slalom hills in the state right now, if not the country,” said Greg Murtha, director of marketing and sales at Sugar Bowl. Murtha added that in terms of logistics it’s easier to work with another resort to deliver the best possible package. Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl co-hosted the Junior Olympics in 2000. The coming ski season should be a big year for Squaw Valley, with the opening of Intrawest’s Village at Squaw Valley, the Olympic torch passing through the before it stops in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics and now the U.S. Nationals. While Squaw Valley and USSA will cooperate in shouldering the financial burden for the championships, the amount of visitors should be a boon to local business. “The people coming associated with it, the athletes, the parents, the technicians, the officials – it’s quite a large group visiting just by themselves,” Pedersen said. ESPN will also cover the event, Pedersen said, adding the national press coverage should be great. “We haven’t done anything like in this in 20 years and it’s a different animal now,” he said. “It’ll be a great thing.” U.S. Alpine Championships March 11-19 Squaw Valley Usa Sunday, March 10: Arrival Monday, March 11: M/W Downhill Training, Squaw Valley Tuesday, March 12: M/W Downhill Training, Squaw Valley Wednesday, March 13: M/W FIS DH, Squaw Valley Thursday, March 14: M/W National DH, Squaw Valley Friday, March 15: Women Super G, Squaw Valley Saturday, March 16: Men Super-G, Squaw Valley; and Return of the Champions, Squaw Valley Sunday, March 17: M/W Slalom, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort; and Nationals Banquet Monday, March 18: Women Giant Slalom, Squaw Valley Tuesday, March 19: Men Giant Slalom, Squaw Valley Wednesday, March 20: Departure

Tahoe racers nominated to 2015 U.S. Alpine Ski Team

Tahoe ski racers Julia Mancuso, Travis Ganong, Tim Jitloff and Stacey Cook were namong the 40 athletes nominated to the 2015 U.S. Alpine Ski Team last week, leading the way on the squad's A Team. The team will be formally named in the fall during Nature Valley First Tracks at Copper Mountain, Colo., home of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center. Ganong and Jitloff are joined on the men's A Team by Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Andrew Weibrecht, Jared Goldberg and David Chodounksy. Mancuso and Cook are joined by Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Leanne Smith and Alice McKennis on the women's A Team. Squaw Valley's Bryce Bennett and Nick Daniels and Sugar Bowl's Mark Engel, meanwhile, were promoted to the B Team, joining U.S. Ski Team veteran Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley. Incline Village native Lila Lapanja of the Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak ski teams was bumped up from the women's D Team to the C Team, while Squaw Valley Ski Team members Erik Avridsson and Stephanie Lebby were nominated to the D Team. 2015 U.S. Alpine Ski Team nominations Men's A Team David Chodounksy (Crested Butte Ski Team) * Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley Ski Team) * Jared Goldberg (Team Flow) * Tim Jitloff (Park City Ski Team) * Ted Ligety (Park City Ski Team) * Bode Miller (Carrabassett Valley Academy) * Andrew Weibrecht (New York Ski Education Foundation) * Women's A Team Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain Ski Team) * Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley Ski Team) * Alice McKennis (Rowmark Academy) * Mikaela Shiffrin (Burke Mountain Academy) * Leanne Smith (Mt. Washington Valley Ski Team) * Lindsey Vonn (Buck Hill/Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) * Men's B Team Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley Ski Team) Thomas Biesemeyer (New York Ski Education Foundation) Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Cochran's) Nick Daniels (Squaw Valley Ski Team) Mark Engel (Sugar Bowl Academy) Tommy Ford (Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation) * Colby Granstrom (Mission Ridge Ski Education) Nolan Kasper (Burke Mountain Academy) * Steven Nyman (Park City Ski Team) * Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley Ski Team) * Brennan Rubie (Snowbird Ski Team) Women's B Team Abigail Ghent (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) Anna Marno (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) Paula Moltzan (Buck Hill Ski Team) Katie Ryan (Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard) Laurenne Ross (Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation) * Jacqueline Wiles (White Pass Ski Club) * Men's C Team Nicholas Krause (Stratton Mountain School) Women's C Team Katharine Irwin (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) Lila Lapanja (Diamond Peak/Sugar Bowl) Men's Development Team Erik Avridsson (Squaw Valley Ski Team) Ronnie Berlack (Burke Mountain Academy) AJ Ginnis (Green Mountain Valley School) Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley Academy) Kipling Weisel (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) Women's Development Team Stephanie Lebby (Squaw Valley Ski Team) Breezy Johnson (Rowmark Ski Academy) * Denotes Olympian

Smaine third as Banzai Series ends with foggy stop

SUGAR BOWL, Calif. – Daron Rahlves was hoping for one more day of clear blue skies to conclude his second annual Rahlves Banzai Tour this past Sunday. His wish was not granted. In contrast to the first three stops of the big-mountain, ski-cross-style race series, when sunshine prevailed, Sugar Bowl’s Silver Belt Banzai was greeted with gusty wind and snow and freezing fog that severely limited visibility. “The wind wasn’t the issue, really, it was more the foggy conditions,” said Rahlves, who claimed victory in the Super Final for the second time in as many years. “You just couldn’t see, for one thing, and then you had this ice that would cover your lens. You had to do goggle wipes and just hang on. So it was a little sketchy out there.” Despite the challenging conditions, skiers and snowboarders in heats of four took to the historic Silver Belt Gully on Mount Lincoln – site of the original Silver Belt giant slalom race held from 1940 to 1975 – for Sunday’s finals. Casey Riva, a former Tahoe resident living in Telluride, Colo., blazed through his first three heats in the men’s ski division to advance into the final round, where he was matched up against two-stop winner John Bochenek, B Devine and John Lange. Riva came out on top in his first-ever Banzai race, earning him a spot in the Super Final against Rahlves and the other men’s ski winners from previous stops. The five-man field included Bochenek, who won at Kirkwood and Squaw, Kyle Smaine, who won at Alpine, and Todd Disbrow, who was third behind Bochenek and Smaine at Squaw. “I was scared,” conceded Rahlves, a former Olympic alpine racer who now serves as Sugar Bowl’s ski ambassador. “The visibility was really difficult to get after it. I just tried to get out front and make it down clean. Bochenek was all over me at the start. We were elbowing each other in the first turn.” Rahlves said he managed to stay ahead of the pack until the finish, though Riva pulled up hot on his tail near the end en route to his runner-up finish. Smaine was third, Disbrow fourth and Bochenek fifth, while Rahlves captured the winner-takes-all, $10,000 Super Final prize. Bochenek came out even better in the end, as he took home $10,500 for winning the overall men’s ski title. Smaine, who finished second overall with 223.5 points to Bochenek’s 325, received $4,500. A new winner also emerged in the men’s snowboard division, as consistent top-four finisher Chris Galvin beat out favorites Chelone Miller – who’s the brother of Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller – and Sylvain Duclos in the final heat. Jason Kosich was fourth, while Nik Schneider won the small final to finish fifth, Dan Krenecki was sixth, Dave Brumm seventh and Matt Clark eighth. “Galvin has been really strong but just hadn’t quite put it together until Sugar Bowl. But that kid’s fast and has great board control,” Rahlves said. “I was stoked to see a different winner. It’s cool to have a handful of guys who can win.” Duclos, who placed first at Kirkwood and Squaw, won the overall men’s snowboard division with 335 points to Miller’s 300 and Galvin’s 260. Duclos took home $7,700 for his tour win, while Miller received $4,000 and Galvin $2,800. The women’s ski division came down to former Olympic freestyle skier Shelly Robertson versus Shannon Rahlves. Robertson, who won the Alpine stop and was runner-up at Kirkwood and Squaw, raced to her second victory of the tour as Shannon Rahlves crashed hard in the final. “Shelly got out in front and skied really smooth. Shannon went down, and I guess she came out of her skis,” Daron Rahlves said of his sister. “When I saw her at the finish, she had a bunch of snow packed in her helmet and under her goggle strap.” Robertson received $6,100 for winning the overall with 410 points to Shannon Rahlves’ 315, which was good enough for second place and $2,350. Hannah Jermstad was third with 285 points ($1,470). Casey Lucas captured her second win of the tour in the women’s snowboard division to earn the overall title, and $2,650. Carrie Hall, who won at Squaw, was runner up at Sugar Bowl and in the overall to earn $1,350, while Marguerite Cossettini was third and Rose Marie Daiek fourth. Bochenek won the final Popchips award for the most impressive air on course. The Rahlves Banzai Tour was documented by NBC and will air as part of the Red Bull Signature Series on Tuesday, March 27 at 10 p.m.

Heavenly Foundation sees more podium finishes in Tahoe League

South Shore’s Heavenly Ski Foundation landed 10 skiers in the top three out of more than 400 Alpine competitors ages 7-17 in the first Tahoe Basin Ski League giant slalom at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort last weekend. The performance impressed HSF coaches, who felt many new competitors would finish further back in the pack. “Sunday’s showing was especially exciting for us,” said Heavenly coach Garth Alling. “Many came to gain racing experience, and yet they went home with medals … There were a lot of smiling faces.” Out of 42 HSF skiers approximately, half finished in the top 10. The Tahoe Basin Ski League includes skiers from 13 ski teams in the Tahoe Basin, including Squaw Valley, Diamond Peak, Sugar Bowl, Auburn and Alpine Meadows. In the girls’ 7-8 age class, Lila Lapanja of Diamond Peak won with a combined time of 1 minute 39.37 seconds, followed by Heavenly’s Whitney Gardner (1:40.97) and Squaw’s Lena Andrews (1:41.08). In the boys’ 7-8 age class, Heavenly skiers Hughston Norton (1:36.54) and Jordan Fuller (1:38.06) took the top two podium spots, followed by Squaw’s Max Hall (1:38.93). With more than 65 skiers in both the boys’ and girls’ groups, the largest classes were those of the 9- and 10-year-olds. Alpine skiers Lizzy Kistler (1:39.49) and Yina Moe-Lange (1:39.81) took the top two posts over Forrest Peterson (1:39.94) of Squaw in the girls’ race. In the boys’ race, Zac Salinger (1:31.41), of Squaw, won by nearly 3 seconds over Alpine’s Jake Scanell (1:34.57). Heavenly’s Mikey Suglian (1:35.68) finished runner-up in his second run to take third overall. With more than 70 competitors in the boys’ 11-12 division, Sunday’s victory was heavenly for James Denny (1:13.53), of Heavenly. Auburn’s Will Havard (1:13.64) was runner-up and Max Salinger (1:14.25) of Squaw was third. On the girls’ side, Sugar Bowl’s Merideth Plant (1:12.83) took first, followed by Squaw’s Kristina Rees (1:14.91) and Heavenly’s Margot Cutter (1:15.86). Heavenly’s Andrea Killebrew (1:15.71) won the 13-14 age division ahead of teammate Sydney Dufty (1:16.92). Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Palla Teran (1:19.27) trailed by nearly 3 seconds to take third. On the boys’ side, Alpine’s Brad Alvarez (1:14.37) finished first ahead of Heavenly’s Tim Suglian (1:14.96) and Auburn’s Luke Waitrovich (1:15.93) in third. Heavenly’s Lacey Leonard won the 15-and-up age division, after the only other competitor in the division didn’t finish her second run. On the boys’ side, Squaw’s Zoli Gluck (1:15.83) finished first, followed by Edelweiss Ski Team’s Pat Hartman (1:16.03). Neither of the two other competitors finished both runs. The next ski race will take place Jan. 26 at Tahoe Donner Ski Area and Alpine Meadows. For more information see http://www.tahoebasinskileague.com.

Rahlves’ Banzai Tour set for Squaw Valley stop

Throughout the past month, skiers and snowboarders have descended upon Kirkwood and Alpine Meadows to compete in the first two stops of the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour.The four-stop tour will now swing through Squaw Valley this Saturday and Sunday before concluding at Sugar Bowl with the Silver Belt Banzai and Super Final on March 9-10.“Notable athletes from across the country have been traveling in to compete in the Banzai Tour, making this year’s race more than just a local’s competition,” said race founder Daron Rahlves, a 12-time World Cup winner, four-time Olympian and Sugar Bowl ski ambassador. “I’ll be pitted up against some great racers at my home mountain for the Super Final, and I’m excited to give it my all.”Rahlves is the reigning champion of the Super Final. This year he’ll take on John Bochenek, winner of the Kirkwood tour stop, and Jesse Maddex, winner of the Alpine Meadows stop, as well as the men’s ski winners from the Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl events in a one-run, winner-takes-all race worth $10,000.Friday night before the Squaw Valley stop, competing athletes, sponsors, media and special guests are invited to the event kick-off, “Rahlves’ Banzai Welcome Party,” from 5-7 p.m. at Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats in downtown Truckee. On Saturday after the solo qualifying timed runs to seed Sunday’s Finals and heats of four, all competing athletes, sponsors, media and fans are invited to celebrate all things Banzai from 3-6 p.m. at Sierra Vista Bar for the “Rahlves’ Banzai Aprs Party” thrown by High Fives Foundation. One dollar from each Sierra Nevada beer and Red Bull drink purchased throughout the aprs party will be donated to High Fives. During the aprs party, Rahlves will recognize the Bank of the West “fastest qualifier” and fastest times from each division, as well as announce the winners of the High Fives raffle with sponsor prizes.For more information or to register to race, go to http://www.rahlvesbanzai.com.

USSA/Far West Division names J3 Junior Championship team

LAKE TAHOE – The Far West division recently announced its athletes who qualified to compete in the Western Region Marriott J3 Junior Championships, scheduled for March 17-20 at Squaw Valley USA. Each skier participated in three Far West divisional qualifier races – three slalom races at Snow Summit from Jan. 14-16, three giant slalom races at Northstar-at-Tahoe from Feb. 4-6, and three super G races at Squaw Valley on Feb. 26-27. These J3 athletes, ages 13 and 14, take their best five of nine race results to qualify for the team. The Western Region is made up of five divisions – Alaska, Northern (Wyoming and Montana), Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon), Intermountain (Idaho and Utah) and Far West (California and Nevada). There will be 90 boys and 75 girls attending the championship race series, which will include super G, GS and slalom races. The winner of each discipline will represent the Western Region as part of team USA (also including Rocky/Central and East) at the 23rd Whistler Cup in British Columbia from April 4-12. “This is a very strong and deep Far West J3 men’s and women’s team,” said Lee Schmidt, head coach of the Squaw Valley Ski Team. “Any one of the top eight boys or girls could win a race at this event. There were five different boys who won different qualifier races this season.” Included on that list of top boys is James “Scotty” Lebel of Sugar Bowl, who represented the Western Region at this year’s Topolino International Children’s races in Slovenia in February. And the girls are just as stacked, with six different athletes who won events at the qualifier races this season. “It is a very talented field,” Schmidt said. “The race venue sites at Squaw Valley will be very difficult and challenging for this age group. The SG and GS races will be run off the east bowl of KT-22 into Exhibition, which is very steep. The slalom races will be held on lower Red Dog face, which is also very steep and challenging. “These J3 athletes will be tested.” The Far West J3 coaching staff includes Greg Jones, Tom Arnstein and Lee Schmidt from Squaw Valley, Luke Patterson and Lesley LeMasurier from Sugar Bowl, Noel Dufty from Heavenly, Eric Garrayoa from Diamond Peak, Bronko Malik from Northstar, Kerry Brownlie from Mammoth, Thad Epting from Snow Summit, and Robert Baker from Mt. Shasta. 1. Audrey O’Brien, Squaw Valley 2. Julia Cashell, Squaw Valley 3. Marie Johnson, Squaw Valley 4. Diana Abbott, Squaw Valley 5. Hannah Johnson, Diamond Peak 6. Stephanie Lebby, Squaw Valley 7. Tenaya Standteiner, Squaw Valley 8. Sierra Ryder, Squaw Valley 9. Danica Hagen, Mammoth 10. Nina O’Brien, Squaw Valley 11. Maia Beckert, Heavenly 12. Daisy Schadlich, Sugar Bowl 13. Perry Schaffner, Sugar Bowl 14. Natalie Riffel, Mammoth 15. Lauren Keller, Diamond Peak 16. Johanna Gur, Squaw Valley 17. Remi Wolf, Sugar Bowl 18. Natalie Williams, Heavenly 19. Bozhie Pokorny, Squaw Valley 20. Lauren Maymar, Squaw Valley 21. Claudia Frankel, Squaw Valley 22. Francesca English, Squaw Valley 1. Erik Arvidsson, Squaw Valley 2. Garrett Driller, Squaw Valley 3. Addison Dvoracek, Squaw Valley 4. Cody Wilson, Squaw Valley 5. James Lebel, Sugar Bowl 6. Lucas Underkoffler, Mammoth 7. Peter Weemass, Sugar Bowl 8. Kye Moffat, Squaw Valley 9. Fraser Hannon, Sugar Bowl 10. Wesley Harrington, Northstar 11. Gavin Chen, Diamond Peak 12. Zane Bensing, Diamond Peak 13. John Fabrizi, Snow Summit 14. Michael Proper, Sugar Bowl 15. Lucas Earley, Squaw Valley 16. Michael Cooper, Sugar Bowl 17. Michael Beutner, Mammoth 18. Campbell Baster, Mammoth 19. Kalie Wagner, Squaw Valley 20. Zac Kelly, Mammoth 21. Jack Richardson, Squaw Valley 22. Taylor Garcia, Mammoth 23. Nathan Everson, Mammoth 24. Jordan Cashman, Squaw Valley 25. Benjemin Farrar, Diamond Peak 26. Ian Reeves, Diamond Peak 27. Dexter Bosley, Sugar Bowl 28. Trenton Powell, Dodge Ridge 29. Will Leonard, Squaw Valley 30. Tanner Luijan, Mt. Shasta 31. Mathew Hourigan, Sugar Bowl

Dine, stay and play at some of Lake Tahoe’s Alps-inspired locales

The early years of Tahoe's winter sports history are riddled with the names of ski luminaries from the European Alps who called California home. From international downhill champions and decorated war heroes to the world's top ski instructors of the time, the region's winter landscape was transformed by skiers from Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland who brought a piece of their Alpine legacy to Tahoe — where it remains today. EARLY YEARS Hannes Schroll, Émile Allais and Jo Marillac were three of Europe's ski legends who made their homes in the Tahoe region prior to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. A lucky thing they did, as it is unlikely the region would have secured the Games without them. Schroll was 28 when he was invited by fellow Austrian Bill Klein to look at a future ski area on Donner Summit in 1937, and was named president of the new Sugar Bowl Corporation the following year. The resort opened as the region's first major ski area in 1939 with a chairlift carrying skiers up Mount Disney and to a Bavarian-style base lodge. "Sugar Bowl is, and always will be, about people who love skiing. Schroll understood that when he first stood at the base of Mount Lincoln one summer weekend in 1937, envisioning an alpine village not unlike his parents' home in the Austrian Tyrol," said Peter Avedschmidt, Sugar Bowl Resort's marketing and sales manager. "Four generations of skiers have called Hannes Schroll's place in the Sierra Nevada their winter home." '60 WINTER OLYMPICS A decade after Sugar Bowl's first lift started spinning, Squaw Valley co-founder Alex Cushing hired French skiing luminary Émile Allais to open and operate the new resort's ski school. When Émile left the region a few years later to coach the French National Ski Team, he handed the ski school's reigns over to his longtime friend Jo Marillac, who would prove instrumental in securing the bid for the 1960 Winter Olympics, forever changing winter sports in California. A respected war hero with the French Resistance, Marillac used his contacts in the French government to win the support of International Federation of Skiing and International Olympic Committee delegates, ultimately turning Cushing's pipe dream of hosting the Winter Olympic Games into a reality. POST-OLYMPIC LEGACY The post-Olympic boom brought to town a new wave of European skiers, who, with marked tenacity and dedication, helped build and expand Tahoe's ski areas. Hans Burkhart grew up in Germany, and originally came to North America to work on Canada's first gondola. Burkhart was hired by Squaw Valley in 1962 and went onto supervise the installation of the resort's Garaventa cable car and many of the chairlifts spinning today as Squaw Valley's mountain manager and later as president. "Cushing needed someone to oversee maintenance of that first gondola, and when he asked for a recommendation of a man for the job, the manufacturer pointed uphill to Burkhart, who was hanging upside down over a cliff with a drill in his hand," wrote Nancy Cushing, Alex Cushing's wife, in a publication celebrating Squaw Valley's 50th anniversary. TACTICAL AND OPERATIONAL VISONARIES "People like Alex Cushing, Dave McCoy and John Riley were the strategic visionaries who conceived and built Squaw Valley, Mammoth and Alpine Meadows," said Mike Livak, executive vice president at Squaw Valley Ski Holdings. "Guys like Hans Burkhart, Hardy Herger, Dick Reuter, Norm Saylor and Luggi Foeger were a few of the tactical and operational visionaries who actually built and operated the stuff of dreams in early California skiing." Hardy Herger, born in Urnerboden, Switzerland, a village with a then-population of 250 in the Swiss Alps, came to Squaw Valley in 1968 to serve as the lead electrician on the Aerial Tram. Herger remained part of the Squaw Valley team until his death in 2012 and was responsible for implementing innovative hydronic systems, such as the one designed to take the heat out of the ice rink at High Camp and use it to warm the swimming pool. Austrian Luggi Foeger was an acclaimed international competitor and 10th Mountain Division veteran who went on to head the ski schools at Badger Pass, Sugar Bowl and Alpine Meadows. Foeger also helped design Northstar California and Diamond Peak, where as general manager he installed the first naming system in the Sierra Nevada. His award-winning ski slope layout for Diamond Peak, known then as Ski Incline, was designed to protect the natural environment while also creating terrain that catered to those new to the sport. The list of Europeans who built our mountain resorts and inspired the Tahoe lifestyle goes on, including many legends still in our community today. TODAY'S ALPINE LEGACY The legacy of the European skiers who made their homes in Tahoe lives on in the region's restaurants and recreation. Experience a taste of Tahoe's Alpine history this winter with these Alps-inspired experiences: PFEIFER HOUSE No list of European dining in the Tahoe area would be complete without mention of the Pfeifer House, located a quarter-mile north of Tahoe City. One of the region's oldest restaurants, the Pfeifer House features a cozy, fireside atmosphere with old world charm. Friendly, dirndl-clad waitresses serve menu favorites including escargots Bourguignon, Hungarian beef goulash and a variety of delectable schnitzel dishes. Locals flock to the restaurant's Happy Hour Wednesday through Sunday from 5-7 p.m. and mains run from $19-40. Learn more at http://www.pfeiferhouse.com. MOONLIT SNOWSHOE TOUR & DINNER As the moon rises over the mountains, diners can experience a snowshoe tour to Alpine Meadows' mid-mountain Chalet. The evening consists of an intimate seated dinner with an Alps-inspired menu, including potato cheese soup, chicken cordon bleu and apple strudel. Alpine Meadows' Moonlit Snowshoe Tour and Dinners are held on select dates throughout the winter, with the next on Saturday, Jan. 16. The resort will also host two Valentine's Day dates on Feb. 13 and 14; cost is $69 for adults, $35 for children under nine. Learn more at http://www.squawalpine.com. HIMMEL HAUS South Lake Tahoe's Himmel Haus is a festive German restaurant and bierhaus offering over 30 imported German and Belgian beers, area-sourced Bavarian dishes and live music. Diners recommend the Schweins-Haxe or the sausage plate, which comes with mashed potatoes, pickles and sauerkraut for $10. The restaurant hosts open mic nights on Monday evenings and trivia nights on Wednesdays. Mains run from $11 to $24. Learn more at http://www.himmelhaustahoe.com CLAIR TAPPAAN LODGE Nestled in the woods on historic Donner Pass, Clair Tappaan Lodge offers a rustic mountain retreat for snow enthusiasts. Accommodations are bunk-style with twin-sized beds and communal bathrooms, and guests choose from single-gender dorms, private twin rooms, or larger family rooms. The lodge serves hearty, family-style meals every day, as well as a sandwich bar where guests prepare bag lunches before embarking on the day's adventures. Dorm beds start at $35 per night. Learn more at http://www.clairtappaanlodge.com. BACKCOUNTRY HUTS The Clair Tappaan Lodge also serves as a great starting point for a multi-day trek to one of the region's four backcountry warming huts operated by the lodge. Nightly rates for the Benson, Bradley, Ludlow and Peter Grub Huts are $20 per person, with reservations required. Learn more at http://www.clairtappaanlodge.com/backcountry-huts. LOST TRAIL LODGE More plush than Clair Tappaan Lodge, but still off the beaten path, Lost Trail Lodge offers a winter escape like few others. In the winter, guests cross-country ski, snowshoe or skin the four miles from the trailhead to the lodge's front door, where the cozy chalet awaits. Without the distraction of Wi-Fi or televisions, guests spend the days skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing in a winter wonderland or nestled inside in the lodge's warmth playing music or board games. Cost is $220 per night for double occupancy, $99 per night for additional guests. Entire lodge rentals are also available. Learn more at http://www.losttraillodge.com HIGH-ALPINE SKIING & RIDING Unlike the tree-lined runs most often associated with American ski areas, Lake Tahoe offers stunning, high-alpine terrain reminiscent of the slopes found in the Alps. Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl and Kirkwood are each known for their expansive terrain where, unbeholden to trails, skiers and riders can explore open bowls and natural features. Learn more at http://www.skilaketahoe.com. GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY SKIING Backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering, long popular in Europe, are rapidly growing sports here at home. For those seeking to explore Tahoe's terrain beyond resort boundaries, Alpine Skills International (ASI) and Alpenglow Expeditions are two outfitters currently offering backcountry ski tours, avalanche safety, and introduction to backcountry skiing courses. Learn more at http://www.alpineskills.com. Additional information about available ski tours and overnight trips is available on ASI's website. Learn more at http://www.alpenglowexpeditions.com. Amelia Richmond is a North Lake Tahoe-based freelancer writer. Email her at amelia.s.richmond@gmail.com.

Steeped in Sierra history, iconic Sugar Bowl ski resort embarks on 75th season

NORDEN, Calif. — It may just be the sweetest year yet for Sugar Bowl Resort as it readies to celebrate its 75th anniversary this season. The Donner Summit resort — one of the few family owned, independently operated ski areas left in the country — has a long enduring history with a continued emphasis on skiing. Since opening Dec. 15, 1939, Sugar Bowl has seen many changes, although the most important thing that has remained consistent is its culture, said John Monson, the marketing director for the resort. "The culture here is all about the skiing," he said. "Our mantra is authentic alpine adventure." Reminiscent of a small Austrian village, the Sugar Bowl Village Lodge and homes that surround it are similar to the alpine town Austrian ski racer Hannes Schroll — the founder of the resort — grew up in as a child. Schroll, a yodeler and daredevil skier, was the driving force behind Sugar Bowl's inception, according to historical accounts. He, along with a few visionaries, saw the possibilities of the mountain. When Schroll laid eyes on Mt. Lincoln back in 1937, he knew the mountain would be the perfect place for a resort. He garnered the support of investors, the most famous being Walt Disney, to purchase the land that is now Sugar Bowl. But it was Schroll's yodeling that was said to have sealed the deal with Disney to invest. In the Disney cartoon, "Goofy Goes Skiing," Schroll's yodeling opens the episode and features Goofy at the Sugar Bowl Lodge. Many celebrities and stars also have graced Sugar Bowl over the years, including Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Janet Leigh, Claudette Colbert and, of course, Mr. Disney. BACK IN THE DAY There have been many improvements to the resort over the years, but to hear someone speak about early days of skiing in the Sierra brings a true sense of nostalgia. Dick Brooding first skied at Sugar Bowl in the 40s. It's where he met his wife Connie. "We met skiing and have been married for the last 54 years. We raised all of our kids skiing at Sugar Bowl," Brooding said in a recent interview. He remembers back when there were no grooming machines on the slopes, an era when the skiers packed down the snow. "They didn't have the gondola back then. There was a chair that took us over to the village," Brooding reminisced. "If you didn't want to wait, you could get towed over by tractor with a 50-foot rope that had large knots for us to hold on to. It would drag in 30 of us who didn't want to wait for the chair." "This is the first mountain I skied and probably the last mountain I'll ski," he added. It's this kind of devotion to which Sugar Bowl owes it success, said Nancy Bechtle, chairwoman of the board of the Sugar Bowl Corporation, who started skiing at the resort in 1945 when she was 7 years old. Since, she's witnessed the evolution of skiing in the Sierra. "Sugar Bowl is about being committed to the great outdoors. There's no shopping and no movie theaters," Bechtle said. "You can't drive your car in the village, and at 5 p.m. when the mountain closes and the day skiers have gone home, kids play in the snow and people come out to sled. It's an authentic experience." She remembers when the only chairlift was on Mt. Disney. It was the first lift to be built in California, and at that time, you could pay 25 cents to ride the lift, or ski for $2 a day. Toward the end of the very first season at Sugar Bowl in April 1940, Schroll held the resort's inaugural Silver Belt race; the event became an institution at Sugar Bowl until 1975. Bechtle recalls participating in one of the early Silver Belt Races. "You had to climb Mt. Lincoln, side stepping up to get to the starting point," she said. "There were no groomers back then; the skiers had to tamp down the course. At one point I was a forerunner for the race. I'd go down the slope first and run it before the racers to check on the gates." After a long hiatus, Sugar Bowl ambassador and former World cup alpine racer and freestyle skier Daron Rahlves revived the race in 2009. This season, the Rahvles' Banzai Tour kicks off Feb. 21-22 at Alpine Meadows, before concluding March 14-15 at Sugar Bowl. EVOLVING OVER THE YEARS It was Jerome Hill who was convinced there was easier access to the Village Lodge, and in 1953, with his own money, he built the first gondola on the West Coast, which was only the second of its kind in North America. This changed the face of Sugar Bowl, as more skiers were afforded access to the mountain in a matter of minutes, and the resort was catapulted into the upper echelon of American ski areas. Rob Kautz, a surfer from Southern California, started skiing at Sugar Bowl at 19. He fell in love with the sport. Initially hired to work as a ski patroller after college, he never looked back. Over the years, he's been the director of Sugar Bowl's ski patrol team and mountain manager, and he currently serves as CEO, a title he's held since 1987. During his 30-plus years at Sugar Bowl, Kautz has seen many transformations. When he took over in the 80s, the resort was struggling financially. "It was during this time we needed to re-position ourselves in the market," Kautz recalled. The company built Mt. Judah Lodge to expand services to the day skiers. "This offered more intermediate terrain and opened up the mountain to all levels of skier," Kautz explained. The Mt. Judah Lodge and other big investments have paid off. Since 1998, Sugar Bowl has invested more than $60 million in upgrades and amenities. The resort spins 13 chairlifts these days, the most recent being the Crow's Peak lift, which opened last year, adding an additional 1,000 feet top to bottom to ski, and giving access to more backcountry areas, for which the resort is renowned. "We're the closet major resort coming from the west; 85 percent of Sugar Bowl skiers are from the Sacramento and Bay area," Kautz said. Recently, the resort invested $1.5 million in snow making equipment this past summer alone. "It's all about state of the art awesome skiing," Kautz said. LOOKING AHEAD Despite improvements over the years, the current drought has impacted and stressed out many of Tahoe-Truckee's ski resorts. But Kautz believes it will change. He studied the records kept by the Central Pacific Railroad since 1870 and sees that over 140 years, there have been other periods of drought. He thinks of himself as a glass-half-full kind of guy. Along with offering a unique skiing experience, education is important to the owners of Sugar Bowl. Currently, there are 450 youths on the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, and the Sugar Bowl Academy is renowned for not only its education, but also its coaching. Alpine Adventures operates out of the resort and offers avalanche safety courses, backcountry adventures and wilderness first aid, in addition to many other educational programs. Forging new relationships has been a plus for Sugar Bowl as well. These days, buying a ski pass at the resort offers you access to Sun Valley, Grand Targhee and Squaw Valley. And with the acquisition of Royal Gorge in 2011, Sugar Bowl continues to grow and partner to offer a full alpine experience for all outdoor enthusiasts. As the 2014-15 season beckons, Sugar Bowl has added a state of the art aquatics center, training gym and yoga studio to provide not only outstanding service to its homeowners and guests, but to provide excellent training grounds for its ski team. For Kautz the goal is to remain independent and financially viable. Sugar Bowl's niche, he says, is all about the mountain and outdoor recreation. Priya Hutner is a freelance writer living in Truckee. She may be reached at pria78@gmail.com.