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December, the tale of two months


Peek of Tahoe

Originally uploaded by RenoTahoe

The month of December started on a somber note for skiers and boarders in Reno-Tahoe – at the beginning of the month a couple of good early storms put down a base, but it was dwindling. But Mother Nature served up enough snow this week to more than make up for the paltry beginning of the season.

Powder hounds woke up to more than two feet of fresh snow today, and bluebird conditions at Alpine Meadows, where blue skies and moderate temperatures made for the perfect Sierra Nevada ski day. Check out more pics from Alpine over at our flickr site.

Reno-Tahoe’s 18 ski and board resorts all received strong snow totals from a week of on-again, off-again storms, with the biggest system hitting Christmas Day. Alpine’s official measurement as of Dec. 26 was nine feet of snow at the base, and more than 13 feet at the summit, ensuring plenty of snow for a long season.

Now is the time to book your Reno-Tahoe getaway and get a taste of this great snow. Shop online and get discounts on lodging and lift-ticket combos.

Video: Sierra ski and board conditions are ideal

What started as a meager ski season with a couple good early season storms and then a long, warm lull, has evolved into a powder-seekers dream in the Sierra Nevada. The last week has brought several feet of new snow to area ski resorts, and another storm system is expected through Christmas Day to add a couple more feet to the total.

What does all this mean? It means it is time to take advantage of discounted rates and book a ski trip to Reno-Tahoe. You’ll be glad you did …

Helmet cam view of Alpine Meadows on Sunday:


Video: Backcountry ski and board at Incline Peak

Our own Michael Henderson got a chance Sunday to stretch his ski legs at Incline Peak on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore on Sunday. And he was kind enough to make a video. The latest series of storms have brought light powder to the Sierra Nevada, making for ideal ski conditions.

Winter Dew Tour headed to Northstar Feb. 19-22

Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort will serve as the host venue for the final stop on the Winter Dew Tour, Feb. 19-22! Building on the success of the five-stop AST Summer Dew Tour, a 3-stop nationally televised Winter Dew Tour has been created and will begin this December in Breckenridge, Colo. and travel through Mt. Snow, Vt. before crowning Tour Champions at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.

The Winter Dew Tour will bring the top athletes in skiing and snowboarding to Northstar for four days of high-level competition, as well as extensive spectator entertainment and activities on the mountain and in the village.

For those not able to make it to the event, ABC, the USA Network, and MTV/MTV2 will be broadcasting the 3-stop tour. Check out this tour preview:


We have snow … now plan your trip

Visitrenotahoe.com has stepped up efforts by creating searchable ski-planning Web pages with up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and snow conditions, pricing and driving directions. Users can browse Reno-Tahoe’s 18 ski and board resorts based on everything from difficulty to location, and get access to special offers and discounts.

The snow has been falling consistently since Saturday, with healthy snow totals at all area resorts – high-elevation totals may exceed three feet by next weekend, according to the National Weather Service, guaranteeing some serious powder turns, especially at higher elevations.

Snow conditions are provided by Onthesnow.com multiple times daily, ensuring frequent, accurate results. Bookmark our site, and use us as to plan your sierra ski vacation this winter.

Summit elevations in Reno-Tahoe range from 7,350 to 10,100 feet, and most years we get a 20-foot snow pack and a ski season that can last until the Fourth of July.

Reno-Tahoe boasts the largest concentration of ski and snowboard resorts in North America, all located within 90 minutes of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Visitors can stay, play and experience a winter getaway with a unique mix of outdoor recreation, arts and culture, dining, entertainment and 24-hour Nevada-style gaming action right outside their hotel room door. Off the slopes you will find ice-skating, sledding, snowshoeing, or dog-sledding.

Carrying around the baggage … of baggage

The inflating cost of flying can be a drag for skiers and boarders who often prefer bringing their own boards/skis/poles/boots to renting and having to deal with adjusting to new equipment. Luckily for skiers and boarders coming to Reno-Tahoe, chances are they will be flying an airline that doesn’t charge. Southwest Airlines, for example, is Reno-Tahoe International Airport’s biggest carrier.

Here is a breakdown of the baggage costs for carriers flying into Reno-Tahoe:

  • Alaska Airlines: First bag free, with no penalty for ski bags
  • Allegiant Air: First bag free, with no penalty for ski bags
  • American Airlines: First bag $15, with no additional penalty for ski bags
  • Delta Airlines: First bag free, with no penalty for ski bags
  • Horizon Air: First bag free, with no penalty for ski bags
  • Southwest Airlines: First bag free, with no penalty for ski bags
  • United Airlines: First bag $15, with no additional penalty for ski bags
  • U.S. Airways: First bag $15, subject to penalties for bags over 45 inches/114 cm and maximum weight of 50 pounds/23 kg.

It is worth noting that even if you can get your ski bag on the airplane for a reasonable price, airlines impose extra charges for bags that weigh over 50 pounds – with some charging in excess of $100.

Check with your individual airline, and know the rules before you get the bill.

More opening days announced at Lake Tahoe ski resorts

Although we’ve had a couple healthy early-season storms in the Sierra Nevada the weather has been pretty dry the last couple weeks – but temperatures are finally dropping, which means that ski and board resorts have been aggressively building their bases with snowmaking.

Here are the latest opening day projections and resort updates for the beginning of the 2008-2009 ski and board season (as of Dec. 5 – conditions are subject to change.)

Contest: Make your own ’snow dance’ video

(Squaw Valley, Calif.) – In an effort to jump start the winter spirit around Reno-Tahoe, Tahoe TV has launched the “Show Us Your Snow Dance” video contest, inviting viewers to submit video of their best snow dance for a chance to win up to $500 in prizes.

“We felt this would be a fun way to pump some energy into the preseason and also encourage support of local businesses,” said Eric Brandt, president of Tahoe TV. “We’re hoping to see some great videos and get the mojo workin’ for winter.”

Videos may be submitted online at www.tahoetv.com through Dec. 18. Each video will be rated online by viewers and also judged by a panel. On Dec. 22, the top-rated video will be awarded $500 in certificates to local businesses and aired on Tahoe TV’s daily local information program, Get Out! Tahoe around the lake and in Reno and Carson City.

Snow Dance videos can be elaborate or simple, and involve individual or multiple snow dancers. Participants are encouraged to be creative and show energy and appeal to the snow gods. Each video must be less than 90 seconds and under 50mb to be uploaded. For information, visit www.tahoetv.com.

Check out this snow dance video Alpine Meadows put together.

Coogan Kelly Memorial Rail Jam at Squaw Valley

Snow park rats and spectators alike are invited to participate in the Cogan Kelly Memorial Rail Jam taking place at Squaw Valley USA on Dec. 14. The event, sponsored by SnowBomb and Squaw, honors the memory of a rising talent in the Reno-Tahoe snowboarding community.

Coogan was a successful competitor on the rail jam and snowboard competition circuit around Tahoe. In its second year, the Coogan Kelly Memorial Rail Jam is a tribute to Coogan whose death shocked the community when he was slain at a party. SnowBomb will donate all competitor registration fees to the Coogan Kelly Memorial Foundation.

Check out Snowbomb.com for event details and come out and support this event.

Coogan Kelly growing up and ripping it up:

Video: Doing the Reno-Tahoe snow dance

Cold-fronts, jet streams and el nino are all well and good, but in Reno-Tahoe we don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to winter powder: