As the Bull Wheel Turns: Take advantage of the conditions |

As the Bull Wheel Turns: Take advantage of the conditions

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (TDT) – Wow, mid-January and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend upon us. Where is this season going?

The Good News – the storm door may be opening by end of next week so don’t stop praying for snow and keep doing the snow dance.

Speaking of snow dances, had some fun before New Years and put together a couple of videos from the Jib Jab website with me doing the disco snow dance, or at least my head on their figures. I Entered the Lake Tahoe TV snow dance contest on Facebook, with it and won tickets to the Montbleu NYE Pool Party. Also, entered in the North Tahoe Resort Association’s Facebook snow dance contest and didn’t win. I’ve washed my car several times hoping for a change in weather, but, I knew when my neighbor started replacing his roof that the weather would hopefully be changing.

Last week it was tough to hear that British Columbia got hammered and that both Colorado and Utah received some snow, and nothing in the Sierra. But, there are so many other things to do with this unseasonably dry and warm weather that you can still enjoy this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with a variety of options.

In all fairness, kudos to all the resorts that are hanging in there and continuing to make snow to offer skiing and snowboarding to our normal winter guests. This early season and past holidays has been challenging and financially devastating for most as snowmaking is an expensive proposition to make and maintain. Plus, without being in full operation, hundreds, if not collectively thousands of winter employees, from parking attendants, lift operators, ski school instructors to food & beverage servers are not geared up and working in force as usual. For the locals, some resorts like Sierra at Tahoe will lift season pass restrictions over the MLK holiday period. National Slope Safety Week kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 14, so review that skier/rider responsibility code and be safe on the mountain.

What else can you do this weekend? I hear from many of friends that hiking has been a good option with a variety of day hike trails remaining open – maybe even the adventure of snow camping with no snow. Ice skating is also a good option offered on a variety of upper-mountain lakes. And, off course there is commercial ice skating at the South Tahoe Ice Area, The Heavenly Village, Northstar’s Village, The Olympic Ice Pavilion at Squaw’s High Camp and at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

There’s also the Tahoe Queen and MS Dixie II with daily cruises to Emerald Bay and evening dinner dance cruises, visit Been seeing lots of photos of folks hanging out at the Beach as well. Stand up paddlers and kayakers are still enjoying the early morning calm, but cold-water conditions on the lake as well.

From the skiing & riding to cruising the lake what else can you do? Have you ever wanted to ride the infamous Flume Trail? Ever wanted to ride it in the winter? Max Jones of Spooner Lake Outdoor Company and operator of Spooner Lake Cross Country says with the lack of snow, the Flume Trail is open for mountain bike riding. This weekend, Jan. 14-15, he will supply special Flume Trail shuttles for mountain bikers from Tunnel Creek (Incline Village Side) to Spooner Lake State Park at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. & noon.

Park your vehicle in Incline Village and ride up to the Tunnel Creek trail head and be transported to Spooner Lake to ride up North Canyon and to spectacular Marlette Lake, which is frozen and ride the Flume Trail back to Tunnel Creek/Incline Village. Contact Max on his smart phone to make reservations by email to: or text (775)450-1945. The Shuttle fee is $15.00 per rider with bike, so get out and ride this weekend with a view that’s nearly 1800 feet above the Lake. Don’t forget to take your camera.

If you ever wanted to visit Yosemite over the winter, Tioga Pass is open. As a matter of fact, all the mountain passes crossing the Sierra remain open. Including Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass & Sonora Pass. Taking a nice cruise on a motorcycle or your car will take you up and over some beautiful vistas and places you normally can’t to during the winter.

Bear Valley Resort, in nearby Alpine County, on the other side of Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4) is also open for skiing & riding and you can get there from Markleeville as the highway remains open with no snow. I swear, there’s usually more snow up on Ebbetts Pass on Memorial Weekend and sometimes not even open, than there is today.

If road biking is your thing, as long as you dress for it, the road bike riding up these passes are also unheard of at this time year, as all those passes are normally closed for the winter. I have friends that rode Tioga Pass on New Year’s Day. Others that have been riding Monitor and Ebbetts Pass. And lots of bikes riding up and down Kingsbury Grade and in the Carson Valley from Genoa out to Woodfords. There are also several folks, daily, that I have seen riding around Lake Tahoe.

Speaking of riding around the lake, online registration for the 21st annual America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride – Lake Tahoe, in conjunction with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training National Fund Raising Program, opened on January 1, and the spaces are going fast. The ride is always the first Sunday in June and will be held Sunday, June 3. If you ever wanted to ride around Lake Tahoe in this fully supported bike tour offering rest stops with food & beverage, tech Support/SAG Support and more including an after Pasta & Pool Party with live entertainment at the Horizon Casino, visit: to register. This event is limited to 3,300 riders and usually sells out by first week of February.

With more hard work continuing my physical therapy for my new hip at home and in the gym, I hope to be joining you and all my friends on the slopes soon. So, no matter what you decide to do this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, be thankful in observance of our civil rights, buckle up and drive safely where ever you go. Have Fun, be safe, peace and love… oh yeah… and continue to do the snow dance and pray for snow!

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