What’s new at Lake Tahoe ski resorts for 2014-2015
Scheduled Lake Tahoe Ski Area opening dates
Alpine Meadows: Dec. 12
Boreal Mountain Resort: Open
Diamond Peak Ski Resort: Dec. 11
Donner Ski Ranch: Conditions permitting
Granlibakken Tahoe: Conditions permitting
Heavenly Mountain Resort: Open
Homewood Mountain Resort: Dec. 12
Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Conditions permitting
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Open
Northstar California: Open
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort: Conditions permitting
Soda Springs: Conditions permitting
Squaw Valley: Open
Sugar Bowl Resort: Conditions permitting
Tahoe Donner: Conditions permitting
It’s impossible to pigeonhole what’s new at Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts this year. There’s backcountry skiing and riding, expanded terrain, new dining options, new parties, new technology, new runs, Star Wars and pirates. Five Lake Tahoe area ski resorts are already open, with more expected to follow soon. Here’s a look at what Lake Tahoe ski resorts have added to the mix for this year:
Boreal Mountain Resort
Boreal is celebrating its 50th year of operation this year and is marking the occasion with special events, commemorative giveaways and a new website. The resort also remodeled its mountain services building, added an 100-foot surface lift and expanded its learning terrain. A new pirate-themed terrain park, Neff Land, is scheduled to debut in January and will have more than 30 features, including a life-sized ship mast, cannons and pirates.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Diamond Peak is the first grooming fleet in the country with PistenBully’s new SNOWsat technology, according to the resort. The GPS-enhanced groomers generate a cartographic image of the slopes to accurately measure snow depths and help ensure the best coverage for skiers and riders. The resort also installed two electric vehicle charging stations in March.
Granlibakken’s Treetop Adventure Park is new this year. Open Friday, Saturday and holidays, each park session is 2.5 hours. The park will also open mid-week by reservation for groups of 10 or more.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly will feature a new East Peak Mid-Day Party from 1-3:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday outside the resort’s East Peak Lodge. Sunday’s Tailgate at Tamarack party will also feature NFL games at the resort’s Tamarack Lodge.
Homewood Mountain Resort
Homewood Snowcat Adventures is expected to debut at the West Shore resort this winter. The operation is set to access backcountry terrain on the flanks of Ellis Peak, above the Homewood’s traditional boundary. The backcountry area includes tree runs, steeps, powder bowls and intermediate-level glades leading back to the resort’s in-bounds terrain. Snowcat tours will run regularly Friday through Sunday and holidays, when conditions permit. Homewood will also unveil the Foundation Bowl terrain park “an urban-style terrain park located within an unused building foundation adjacent to Homewood’s mid-mountain Big Blue View Bar,” according to the resort.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood is expanding its EpicMix and EpicMix Acadamy technology that it introduced last year with the EpicMix Guide, an interactive platform for that helps guests create their perfect day on the mountain. The new EpicMix Guide app delivers the guest a customized experience based on the guest’s ability level and motivation on any particular day, according to the resort.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
Mt. Rose added 34 additional snow-making hydrants this year, increasing the snow-making firepower on the resort’s lower mountain by 50 percent. The Show-off first-timer area has also been expanded, while both the Mustang and Bronco trails were widened and somewhat toned down. In addition to sections of the Galena area, the Around the World trail has been regraded, widened and recontoured. Select boulder removal also took place off the Pony Express zone. The resort’s main lodge also increased its indoor dining capacity by 250 seats.
Northstar will host a new, daily tradition this year that invites guests to raise their champagne flutes and sip bubbles each day at 2 p.m. Mountain Table is also a new mountaintop culinary experience at Northstar’s Zephyr Lodge that features an entire menu of California-sourced ingredients. Mountain Table will be offered twice monthly from December through March.
South Shore’s Sierra-at-Tahoe invested $5 million in a new 30,000-square-foot deck and 9,000-square-foot base area facility last year that offers a new après scene and enhanced guest services, as well as a new retail shop, demo center and restaurant. Sierra’s Burton Star Wars Experience will now include the Burton Star Wars Echo Base, a new themed learning experience for kids ages 7-12.
Soda Springs is celebrating its 80th anniversary of operations this season. The $1 million dollar West Meadow Lodge construction project is also complete. The new building provides additional rental, ticket and food services along with space for guests to prepare for the day, as well as the Planet Kids program.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows
New offerings this year include on-mountain Snowshoe Dinners at The Chalet at Alpine Meadows, as well as new mountain guide programs. The North Face Mountain Guides will provide guided access to coveted terrain. Squaw and Alpine has also become the first ski resorts to offer an app for Google Glass, allowing wearers to view which trails and lifts are open and closed without ever having to take their phone out of their pocket. New events this year include the Audi FIS Skicross World Cup and FIS Snowboard World Cup, as well as WinterWonderGrass Tahoe.
Sugar Bowl Resort
The Crow’s Peak chairlift, which opened for only part of last season, will offer skiers and riders access to more than1,000 vertical feet of skiing and riding on the previously hike-to terrain of Strawberry Fields. A new mid-mountain pumphouse has also improved the resort’s snow-making system. The Switching Yard Terrain Park will also see some changes this year, with a renewed focus on fun and flow. The Village Nordic Cup, a new cross-country race will also take to the Royal Gorge trails during the holidays.
Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area
Tahoe Donner recently added a new snow groomer to the fleet. Additionally, a new 700 square-foot yurt was constructed with a large sundeck to provide a slopeside warm area for lessons. A brand new intermediate trail called “Leary’s Laugh,” in memory of a longtime Tahoe Donner employee and friend, was also added. Tahoe Donner Downhill will also host a Winter Superstars Week this year. Children of all ages and skill levels are invited to come out, compete and win medals during the event.
Sources: Information comes from individual ski resorts.