Thanks to’s early snowfall resorts including Mammoth Mountain and Heavenly, Northstar , Squaw Valley and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe are all now open for the season.
Tahoe South – Heavenly
Building on Heavenly’s long-standing tradition of freestyle skiing and competition, the resort will host the U.S. Freestyle Championships, March 29-31, 2013. Heavenly’s Sho Kashima, a member of the U.S. Ski Team, will join the nation’s most accomplished freestyle skiers to showcase their talents in preparation for the 2014 Olympics.
The new EpicMix Racing mobile app lets guests time their runs to compare with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, which can be shared through social media. Heavenly’s photographers will continue to take portrait and action photos by scanning a guest’s RF-enabled lift ticket or season pass.
Heavenly Mountain Resort has an amped Unbuckle at Tamarack, Tahoe’s ultimate après ski party, with DJs, half-off drink specials and go-go dancers at the Tamarack Lodge every sunset. The Gunbarrel Grill becomes an on-mountain man cave, stocked with flat screen televisions and table service with special pricing on heady microbrews and two-hands-required gourmet burgers.
Heavenly is bringing back the infamous 500 ft-long, 56 ft-wide half pipe to the High Roller Terrain Park. The location allows for a uniform consistency between both sides of the pipe, meaning one side won’t melt faster than the other.
Sierra-at-Tahoe charges into the 2012-13 winter season with new Sierra Snowcat Tours that will whisk skilled skiers and riders to the top of Huckleberry Canyon to access pristine backcountry terrain. This adventure unlocks access to the pillow drops, cornices, rock chutes, open bowls and gladed runs of a backcountry trek. The Sierra Snowcat is also available for private tours by groups of five or more.
The force is strong at Sierra-at-Tahoe for Younglings and Padawans this winter in the new Yoda’s Riglet Park. Here, North America’s only Star Wars Experience uses the beloved intergalactic saga to help children aged 3-6 make their first snowboard turns. Jedis-in-training will learn through interactive drop-in nodes showcasing custom-made wood carvings of R2-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca.
Sierra’s new Ski, Stay and Soar winter lodging package takes adventurers to new heights with two lift tickets, two 20-minute helicopter rides by Reno Tahoe Helicopters and a two-night stay in South Lake Tahoe starting from $265 per person. Skiers and riders can shred one day and soar the next for aerial views of the terrain they covered at the resort. Or go gung-ho and do it all in one day for an unforgettable take on Tahoe’s high altitude altiutide.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort celebrates its 40th birthday this season with several upgrades from its new parent company, Vail Resorts. Kirkwood guests can anticipate new bragging rights with the addition of EpicMix mobile app technology, to demonstrate to friends just how epic the resort is with cold hard stats via favourite social media channels.
Expedition: Kirkwood provides a level of education and training that goes well beyond the classroom with a series of new courses for the 2012-13 winter season. Outdoor adventure-seekers can step 5-feet outside the facility at Kirkwood and put their knowledge to the test in Class A avalanche terrain. Expedition: Kirkwood provides avalanche certification courses, women’s specific programs, beacon training, powder cat tours, private guides, specialty ski and board clinics, and progressions sessions in some of the most extreme in-bounds terrain in North America.
This season the mountain will play host to new special events like the Swatch Freeride World Tour, which combines that event with the Freeride World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding to create one unified global championship series. The only US event in the six-stop world tour will take place between 27th February and 3rd March 2013.
North Lake Tahoe – Northstar
Northstarcelebrates its 40th anniversary on December 22, with a party hosted by Northstar team athlete Shaun White.
This season, snow cat accessed skiing and riding will be offered for the first time on Sawtooth Ridge, offering unprecedented access to a popular gate-accessed area of terrain that was previously only open to advanced skiers and riders when snow conditions permitted. In addition, guided backcountry tours will be available to advanced skiers and riders interested in skiing or riding outside the resort’s Sawtooth Ridge boundary to an area planned for future expansion, offering a preview of what’s to come.
This season Northstar will partner with Burton to introduce a new Riglet Park. The Riglet Park concept offers kids ages 3-6 years old on snow learning progressions for through an instructor guided experience and use of the “Riglet Reel,” which attaches to the nose of compatible Burton youth snowboards, allowing kids to be pulled around while getting used to standing sideways.
Making headlines around the country is Northstar’s new CMO, canine marketing officer, “Marsh Mellow.” The lovable three-month-old pup was abandoned at the resort last August. After a long search in which no owner was found, the resort’s marketing team adopted him. Over the last few months, Marsh Mellow has developed a following of guests who keep up to speed with his activities via the resort’s social media channels and who regularly visit the Village at Northstar to see him.
Squaw and Alpine Meadows offer visitors the Tahoe Super Pass, offering access to 6,000 acres, 43 lifts, and 270+ trails on one pass. The lift ticket is interchangeable between the two resorts and allows skiers and riders to access both resorts in one day with a short 10-minute bus ride on the Free Squaw Alpine Express.
Squaw has installed the Big Blue Express, a new, high-speed six-pack chairlift, to replace the High Camp chairlift. The base terminal of Big Blue Express starts where the base of the High Camp lift was formerly located and extends to the top of the ridge – providing easy access to the Shirley Lake, Solitude and Granite Chief chairlifts. This new alignment not only provides quicker and easier travel to Shirley Lake and beyond, but it also gives skiers and riders access to beginner and intermediate terrain that was previously inaccessible via the old High Camp chairlift. The new Park Pulley telecord, a modern day version of a tow lift, provides easy access to the Belmont terrain park and eliminates traversing across the mountaintop meadow.
Squaw Valley is partnering with Burton and their acclaimed Learn to Ride (LTR) for winter 2012-13. As part of the LTR program, Squaw will be offering specially designed equipment for beginner snowboarders (both kids and adults).
With the recent partnership between Alpine Meadows and Snow Park Technologies (SPT), skiers and riders can look forward to continued terrain park improvements and an enhanced park experience throughout the winter season. Snow Park Technologies is renowned in the terrain park business with 15 years of experience designing parks for major resorts and events nationwide including the Dew Tour and Winter X Games.
One of the most exciting changes to the terrain park experience is the expansion of the medium and large park. The combined parks, from Terry’s Return to Dancefloor, will offer an entire mile-long park run making it the longest terrain park run in the Tahoe region. Also brand new this year, there will be a beginner progression park on Subway where lessons will be available. Guests eating out on the sundeck can enjoy the view of skiers and riders testing out their skills at a new base area jib arena. New jibs will be added this season, including four new beginner boxes, two intermediate boxes and four new snowmaking pipe jibs, increasing the park’s fleet to more than 60 jib features.
Like Squaw Valley, Alpine is also partnering with Burton and their acclaimed Learn to Ride (LTR) program for winter 2012-13.
Homewood Mountain Ski Resort received government approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in December 2011 to begin redevelopment on the historic ski resort located on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore. The $500-million project will include a five-star hotel, workforce housing, 15,000 square feet of retail space, swimming pool and ice skating rink. Phase 1 is scheduled to begin in 2014.
On Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort signed an agreement October 1 to operate Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort, America’s largest cross-country operation, which is being purchased by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, the Trust of Public Land and the Northern Sierra Partnership. The resorts are already connected by an “interconnect” trail that allows skiers to ski back and forth between the two, with plans in the works to further enhance the connection with two additional beginner-friendly routes. Sugar Bowl, who plans to invest $500,000 in Royal Gorge this season, is now offering a season pass that allows holders to downhill at Sugar Bowl and cross-country ski at Royal Gorge. Sugar Bowl pass holders can add on an unrestricted Royal Gorge pass for $149 (adult price), and can purchase an unrestricted, standalone Royal Gorge pass for $299.
Mammoth has never been more accessible with flights from all three gateway cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Combining a ski holiday with a surf, a tour of the winelands, a city break, or even Disneyland has never been easier. The airport is just a hop, skip and ten minute ride away from the village and many properties in Mammoth offer complimentary airport shuttles to their guests so there’s no need to hire a car.
Flights are scheduled to run as follows:
LA – Mammoth:
Sunday to Friday: Departs LA: 11.35am and 3.50pm / Arrives Mammoth: 12.48pm and 5.03pm
Saturday: Departs LA: 8.40am /Arrives Mammoth: 9.54am
Mammoth – LA:
Sunday to Friday: Departs Mammoth: 1.25pm and 5.37pm / Arrives LA: 2.40pm and 6.55pm
Saturday: Departs Mammoth: 10.25am / Arrives LA: 11.47am
San Diego – Mammoth:
Daily: Departs San Diego: 7.45pm / Arrives Mammoth: 9.04pm
Mammoth – San Diego:
Daily (19/12 to 19/2): Departs Mammoth: 4.43pm / Arrives San Diego: 5.57pm
Daily (19/2 to 14/4): Departs Mammoth: 5.43pm / Arrives San Diego 6.57pm
San Francisco – Mammoth:
Daily (19/12 to 19/2): Departs San Francisco: 3.00pm / Arrives Mammoth: 4.01pm
Daily (20/2 – 14/4): Departs San Francisco: 4.00pm / Arrives Mammoth: 5.01pm
Sun, Mon, Thurs, Fri: Departs San Francisco: 1.10pm / Arrives Mammoth: 2.15pm
Mammoth – San Francisco:
Daily: Departs Mammoth: 9.40am / Arrives San Francisco: 10.45am
Orange County – Mammoth
Sun, Mon, Thurs, Fri: Departs Orange County: 9.30am / Arrives Mammoth: 10.45am
Mammoth – Orange County:
Sun, Mon, Thurs, Fri: Departs Mammoth: 2.50pm / Arrives Orange County: 4.08pm
This season, Mammoth Mountain is making it easy for beginning skiers and riders to get their first taste of what it’s like to catch some air with the introduction of the new Unbound Playground Progression Park. It’s an ideal introduction to terrain parks with approachable features that allow beginners to learn how to do tricks and master the rails and box slides. Also new this winter, two of the top-rated terrain parks in the U.S —Mammoth’s Main Park and South Park—get even better with new high-end, urban-inspired features called the Downtown Collection.
Back by popular demand, The Village Day Care now offers infant care in addition to care for ages 2 to 6. Parents can leave their children in the capable hands of the day care staff at the state licensed facility and then enjoy some time on the slopes or a night on the town.
Mammoth Mountain is giving parents’ wallets a much-needed break this winter by offering a $30 (Approx. £ 19) Kids Lift for children aged 7-12. Children aged 6 and under are always free.
Celebrated chef Mark Estee is bringing his popular restaurant to the Village at Mammoth with the addition of a vibrant après ski offering – Campo Mammoth. Inspired by Estee’s travels through the rural villages of Italy, Estee’s cooking ethic ensures authentic flavours with hand-made authentic Neapolitan style pizza, catch-of-the-day seafood, hand-pressed pasta and pig dishes served in an establishment that is as much a gathering-place as a restaurant. At Main Lodge, the new Green V is Mammoth’s first and only ‘wellness’ concept featuring vegetarian, vegan and gluten free fare and is open for breakfast and lunch.
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