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Outrageous powder having little impact on projected closing dates

It’s hard to believe with all the fresh snow falling around the lake that ski resorts are beginning their usual spring closings.

Heavenly closed Boulder base last weekend, probably the earliest in a long time. Reason is that the new quad detachable chair at Stagecoach has siphoned off much of the Boulder crowd.

It’s the same things every season. The best skiing of the year is spring skiing and boarding. The weather is nice, the snow is excellent (and we haven’t even had any corn snow yet) and the crowds are minor. It’s a wonderful time to snowsport early in the morning, break off about 1 p.m. for a picnic on the slopes or on the decks. If we could just convince the rest of the world how great it is now, well, we’d ruin our own fun. So maybe silence is best.



OK, closings. In case you read Heavenly’s snow report, don’t pay any attention to the comment that Nevada can only be accessed from Stagecoach. The Sky Express is still running, of course, and the crossover to Nevada is in fine shape.

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE will close April 19 with a $5 customer appreciation day. Before that, the resort will stage its fourth annual Boarding for Breast Cancer event Saturday, April 17. In addition to the free snowboard big air and halfpipe demos, there will be live music and other fun. On Sunday, April 18 bring a recyclable beverage container and get $5 off lift ticket price. Hate to see SAT shutter. As usual, didn’t get to ski there nearly enough.




DIAMOND PEAK had delayed closing until April 18, thanks to the great snow conditions. For the last week of the season, Diamond will operate the three quad chairs for access to 100 percent of the mountain. No shuttle service, limited food and beverages, no group lessons and same price lift tickets. Peak is another resort that offers excellent skiing for almost all levels.

SQUAW VALLEY USA is perking right along with no closing in sight. Squaw is traditionally one of the last to call it quits. Saturday is the Suzi Bock Memorial Race and the last of night operations. Sunday is the Billy Dutton Uphill Race, sign-up at 7 a.m. Spring Jam II comes April 24-25. The new Funitel gondola lift seems to be a great success at Squaw, $20 million well spent. Free swimming and spa use with lift ticket until May 31.

ALPINE MEADOWS shows no signs of closing with Tom Burt’s Pigfest Classic this weekend, Wayne Wong’s World Hot Dog Skiing Festival and championships next weekend and May 8 the ski-sail challenge.

HOMEWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT will close this weekend, sadly, with Sunday the last day. But you can pick up a season midweek pass for next season for $199, full season pass for $399.

MOUNT ROSE is hanging in there with no closing date set. The current snows should make Slide Mountain perfect for powder and tree skiing. The usual great lift ticket packages continue with ladies day Thursdays for $15.

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE, which usually stays open longer, will be closing April 19 but not before a halfpipe competition this Friday night and Days of Spring celebration this weekend with pond skimming, fun races and live music on the deck. Monday is customer appreciation day with lift tickets a modest $10.

KIRKWOOD has enough snow to last until July 4, and no closing date has been set. This weekend is the Motorcross/BorderCross challenge, where racers enter a motorcross Saturday at Silver State Raceway and a bordercross at Kirkwood Sunday. Taking the backside of Needle Peak instead of back to chair 4 is a memorable experience. Should be fantastic with all the new snow. Saturday is the final event in the Champ Systems Junior Team series with Jensen Construction Jammers the team to beat.

DONNER SKI RANCH will hold its third annual Heckler Magazine reader appreciation party with many taking part wearing classic snowboard togs (we’re talking baggy). GS and freestyle competition with seven bands tooting. Lift tickets are $23.

CAMP RICHARDSON is hosting two more Nature Snowshoe Walks this Saturday and next. The walks start at 9 and end at noon. During the guided tour highlights of the region’s geology, climate, plants and trees, birds and animals will be discussed. The walks are about 2 miles long over level terrain. Minimum age is 7. Cost is $20 for adults, $10 for kids, which includes snowshoes, boots and backpacks plus snacks. Camp Rich is also offering snowshoe hiking to destinations that usually are closed until the snow has melted. If you haven’t tried snowshoeing, give it a try. It’s a wonderful way to trek and see a lot of critters you’d miss otherwise.

SUGAR BOWL, that grand old lady of the ski resorts, is hosting its Grand Prix along with Santa Cruz Snowboards. This is a BMX-type event with lots of hips, banks, four-sided tabletops, back-to-back quarter pipes and rhythm sections. This is a kind of jam session with creativity at the max. Event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., entry fee is $5 and comes with a beer, an old-style motorscross sticker. Register at the main deck between 9 and 11 a.m.. Also, Wednesday is two-for-one day, which means adults snowsport for $22.50. There’s a 21-foot base at the top of the mountain. No closing day reported.

And a final tip of the hat to the Heavenly Perfect Turn Ski School. One of the instructors there is suffering from Lou Gerhig’s disease, amyotropihic lateral sclerosis, an illness which attacks the spinal cord and the nervous system. It results in a gradual loss of control of muscles and inhibits speech. When director Michael Allen heard of it, he acted to let the instructor teach when he was able and to ski when he wished. The freedom to continue skiing turned out to be a kind of therapy as well as an incentive to continue to fight. For a ski instructor there could be no greater gift. Those of us who are Steve’s friends thank Michael for his gift.

Also, Steven Evenson and Mark Dobson made the Professional Ski Instructors of America-West demo team.


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