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Some ski resorts stay open late

Sam Bauman

While some ski resorts are already planning closings, several have opted to extend their shuttering dates. At Sierra-at-Tahoe down Highway 50, the closing has been pushed back to May 3, thanks in part to the deepest snowpack in the resort’s history.

And starting Monday, Sierra is following Kirkwood’s lead with reduced lift ticket prices. For adults, it’s $29 all day, young adults $22, kids 5-12 for $5, seniors 60-69 pay $15 and geezers 70 and over $5.

Sierra notes that 90 percent of the terrain will be open with three high-speed quads running. Pond skimming is set for 1 to 2 p.m. with lots of terrain park open. Says John Rice, general manager, “Currently we have the best April snow conditions ever.”

On Saturday, Sierra will host the annual Boarding for Breast Cancer benefit. This is a very worthy cause and advance tickets for the event are $41, including lift ticket, or $26 just for the fun.

Sierra trails can be just lovely at this time of the year and with all that snow that fell before getting to the lake the back bowl has to be as near to paradise as you’re going to find.

The final day, May 3, will feature $5 lift tickets. What a deal!

MOUNT ROSE STRETCHES SEASON

Up above Highway 395 the Rose is going to keep the lifts running through Sunday, April 26. And on Monday (April 20) lift tickets will go for just one dollar. It’s Buck Day and you can bet Reno skiers and boarders will be there, as will all the liftees and other resort workers who can get off. A day at Rose, starting with the old Slide Mountain bowl and following the sun around to the Kit Carson Bowl, can offer all the challenges and excitement any snowsporter could ask for.

M0RE SKIING AHEAD

A quick roundup on other resort closings:

Alpine will keep running through May 25 with adult lift tickets reduced from $$47 to $42 as of the 20th.

Boreal keeps the lifts going through April 26, still $28, but night operations are over.

Diamond Peak closes this Sunday with no special prices.

Donner Ski Ranch plans to keep running through May 3 and maybe longer. No deals.

Heavenly closed Stagecoach base last weekend but hasn’t made a decision about Boulder yet. But California will stay open into May, but no date set yet.

Homewood closes this Sunday after a lovely season with tons of snow still in Quail Peak.

Kirkwood has set no closing thus far but is looking at May 3 – maybe. Again, many tons of snow.

Northstar-at-Tahoe has switched signals and apparently will stay open through April 26. Original deal on $10 lift tickets on last day will probably be repeated.

Sugar Bowl plans an April 26 closing with all lift tickets going for $35 as of Monday.

No word from Tahoe Donner.

SPRING SKIING AT ITS BEST

The snowpack around the lake is simply what skiers and boarders dream of. Here it is mid-April and we haven’t even had corn snow! Instead, it’s been lovely fresh powder – in April! – all around the place.

Case in point was Heavenly all this week. On Monday, there were at least 4 inches of fresh at the bottom of Boulder, with more than a foot at the top of North Bowl. Early risers were treated to awesome powder on the packed runs, not to mention what was off in the trees.

Tuesday followed with more of the same, and Wednesday was sunny and just cool enough to keep the snow firm. Happily, the spring break crowds were there to enjoy all the good stuff. Statistically, this may be just another ho-hum spring, but from this point of view it’s one of the best in years. Don’t miss it!

GOOD NEW, BAD NEWS AT SQUAW

This should be a fun weekend at Squaw as well as the passing of an era. On Sunday, April 19, the venerable Super Gondola, long one of the faster ways to get up to High Camp, will be retired with a farewell party at Bar One at the base. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it will be replaced by a Funitel with super high-speed technology that will be able to ride twin cables up the mountain in winds of up to 70 miles and hour.

This will be the fourth such lift in the world and the first in North America. The cabins will be larger, which should reduce lift lines to zilch, especially with the addition of new cabins to the present cable car.

Construction on the Funitel began last summer with the new base facility being erected between KT-22 and Searchlight lifts, the base of each being moved up the hill. What happens to the old Super Gondola base hasn’t been reported.

So lift a glass in tribute to a lift that has served us well and to the newest in uphill technology, the Funitel. Live music by the Nomads will help liven the party.

Squaw will also complete the Pulse lift connecting High Camp and Gold Coast, sparing the hike between the two in the future.

Also at Squaw this weekend will he a Spring Jam Session on Sunday with another of the hybrid events featuring bordercross, skiercross, big air and halfpipe competition. There’s $20,000 in prize money on tap.

In the past, these combo events have been crowd-pleasers, and this one will offer amateurs a chance to go for the real gold.

And if you haven’t made up your mind yet about new skis or boards, this is one more chance to try out next year’s gear as ski and boarder reps will be on hand offering free demos.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

‘Tis the season to be novel and Alpine Meadows is offering its second annual Gates and Wakes Fun Day where skiers, snowboarders, wakeboarders and waterskiers compete. Not all on the mountain, of course.

The affair begins at 8 a.m. at Alpine for the boarders and skiers racing on snow. After that, it’s down to the Sunnyside resort for the watery portion. Boats provided by West Coast Correct Craft will tug contestants for the second half of the event. Points will be totaled and great prizes going to the multi-talented folk.

The entry free for adults is $49, kids 12 and under $39, which includes a lift ticket. Register by calling (916) 985-4343. Do it early and you’ll get 10 extra raffle tickets.

And one more time. Heavenly offers the Dummy Gelande on World Cup at 3 p.m. (a construction of some sort is launched and unmanned (or unwomanned) make a jump. They hope. On Saturday, it’s Top Gun on Gunbarrel Revisited and pond skimming on Sunday.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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