Tahoe ski season begins with Boreal opening, Heavenly tentative for Friday
Ski season in the Sierra has officially kicked off with two mountains now partially open and Heavenly Mountain Resort planning for a possible Friday start.
“Right now our goal is to open when we have quality and durable snow surfaces,” said Russ Pecoraro, spokesman for Heavenly. “We’re not going to open until we have those surfaces … The way we see it we’re just a few good snowmaking nights away and the snowmakers are ready to go as soon as the temperatures allow.”
About 70 guns have got about 30 hours of snowmaking on the mountain, setting layer upon layer to get a good base going, he said. Thursday and Friday will be key as colder weather and another storm system is set to approach the Sierra.
“We will keep an eye on the weather forecast and hopefully it will cooperate,” he said. “Right now, the posted date is Nov. 16. We will need some help from Mother Nature to get there. The good news is snowmakers are ready to go and the moment the temperatures drop we’re on it.”
When Heavenly opens there will be access through the Gondola with runs Tamarack, Comet and Dipper offered. Last year, Heavenly opened the day before Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, other ski resorts have claimed bragging rights to being the first resorts to open. Mammoth Mountain last week in the southern Sierra and Boreal Mountain yesterday.
Skiers poured into the base area of Boreal around noon and slipped into fresh new gear.
Donning Shaun White-style bandannas, the young shredders swarmed the lift ticket line, then Gunnar’s Chairlift itself.
An hour into the opening day, elbow space was in short demand as the phalanx of jibbers piled onto the hillside, perched above rails and boxes as one after another dropped in.
At Boreal Mountain Resort this time year, it was a familiar scene.
Remaining true to form, Boreal succeeded in its annual mission to fire up its lifts ” or lift, in this instance ” before any other Northern California resort. As was the case last year, Mammoth Mountain in the central Sierra is the only resort in the state to beat Boreal to the punch.
“We went from bare ground to opening in 24 hours,” said Eric Rosenwald, Boreal’s terrain park director. “It’s probably the fastest opening we’ve ever pulled off. We started making snow at 6 (p.m. Sunday), and we just got the features out just in time to open at 12 today.”
Receiving five inches of snow Saturday night helped, Rosenwald said ” at least to whiten the surrounding terrain and provide a winter vibe.
Boreal’s effort to open on Veterans Day was not lost on its clientele.
“I think they’re killing it,” Truckee’s Nick Visconti, a 20-year-old snowboarder, said of Boreal, whose earliest opening was Oct. 11, in 2000. “There’s a whole market in Truckee, and just locally, who want to get on the mountain as soon as they can.”
Truckee skier Scott Nikkel, 19, said he also appreciates the effort.
“Being the first in Nor Cal, I give ’em props because no one else can do it,” said Nikkel, who had just clicked out of his bindings below the straight rail at the top of the hill and was hiking back for another try.
Below the uppermost feature was a down-flat-down rail, followed by a flat box and a small barrel. Not a second went by when they were not in use.
“We’re having a blast,” Visconti said of the early-season outing, which was greeted by overcast skies and mild temperatures. “We’re getting jibtastic ” doin’ work.”
Conditions permitting, the resort will remain open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily ” it was open from noon until after dark on opening day. The conditions may not permit Boreal to stay open for long on a daily basis, Rosenwald said.
“I don’t know how long it will last, but at least we can have some fun on it for a while it lasts,” he said.
Boreal opened last year on Nov. 25.
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