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Tahoe recognized in Top Resorts ranking

If you haven’t seen the latest issue of Ski Magazine, the cover story is the “Top 50 Resort Guide,” with Reno-Tahoe-area resorts getting some major props from readers.

In the last decade, the resort industry has definitely taken a turn, shifting its attention from a niche of solely ski/board enthusiasts, to travelers and families who want the fresh tracks, but also after-hours activities, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.

Throughout Reno-Tahoe, resorts have been keeping up with demand – and readers of Ski have taken notice. Here are some of the rankings:

  • Squaw Valley USA, ranked number 15 overall, was recognized as “A giant playground. Never boring and always challenging,” with it’s 4,000 acres sprawled across six peaks.
  • Heavenly Mountain Resort’s addition of a new gondola a few years back certainly helped it earn the 17th spot in the poll, along with its expansive terrain bridging two states and 300 days of sunshine a year.
  • Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, ranked 23rd overall, is a local favorite, and with a “terrific” new village, its reputation is growing in the larger ski community. The resort recently added expert terrain at Lookout Mountain, and the Ritz Carlton Club under development at mid-mountain will add a touch of class when it is finalized in a year.
  • Alpine Meadows, earning a ranking of 29th overall, looks like a hometown mountain at first peek, but the 2,400 acres of awesome terrain and snowfall that tops 500 inches some years tells a different story. Alpine is a good fit for skiers of every ability, but still exudes that Old Tahoe charm.

Other notable Ski Magazine rankings:

  • Family Programs: 8. Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort
  • Best Terrain Park: 3. Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort
  • Best Scenery: 2. Heavenly Mountain Resort
  • Best Terrain/Variety: 5. Squaw Valley USA
  • Best Terrain/Challenge: 6. Squaw Valley USA
  • Best Lifts: 9. Squaw Valley USA
  • Best Apres Ski: 4. Heavenly Mountain Resort
  • Best Off-Hill Activities: 5. Heavenly Mountain Resort

In other news, Squaw Valley USA received high marks in Outside Magazine’s November listing of the 15 Best Ski Resorts in North America, coming in at a respectable number nine.

What is your favorite Reno-Tahoe resort (and why)?

Powder days are here again (almost)

Last weekend’s snow in Reno-Tahoe reminded us of the reason for the season – skiing and boarding! Hopefully the early season flurries are indicative of a snowy winter ahead.

For regular, even semi-regular, skiers and boarders a season pass is a worthwhile investment. Here’s a breakdown of pass prices at local resorts (adult). Drop a few coins on a pass now … it will pay off when the big dumps come this winter!

* Prices may reflect early season specials/online discounts.

Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows home of the Jamaica Ski Team

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort joined forces with the Jamaica Ski Team with an unprecedented partnership inspired by the newest skier cross phenom, Errol Kerr. A resident of Truckee, Calif. who has dual citizenship in the United States and Jamaica, 22-year-old Kerr will represent Jamaica at the 2010 winter games in Vancouver, Canada.

“I want to represent the land of my father,” Kerr told a reporter at the Jamaica Gleaner this spring. “That’s the dream,” he added. Kerr’s father passed away 10 years ago, which gives his journey to the Olympic podium extraordinary representation of kindred father-son connection.

“I believe everyone has to appreciate where they came from. I feel like one day in his own way, he’ll say to me, ‘I’m proud of you, son!’”

Kerr’s number-one Olympic mission is to win the newest winter ski discipline, skier cross. Emerging on the scene during the 2007/2008 on the international skier cross circuit, his performance surprised the world with his 5th place finish in his first Winter X-Games competition in 2008. Former U.S. Olympic coach, Raul Guisado will train Kerr for the Games.

For the complete story, visit Alpine Meadows online. For more Alpine Meadows photos, check out their Flickr page.

- Photo and information courtesy of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

 

Travel deal: Save up to $60 to Reno-Tahoe plus 15 percent off ski lift tickets

Book a flight plus a hotel package for three nights or longer at any Southwest Airlines Vacations Reno-Tahoe property and SAVE $30 per reservation.

Double your savings to $60 when you stay at the following properties: Peppermill, Atlantis, Grand Sierra Resort, or Eldorado. Plus, SAVE 15% on ski lift tickets when you use Promotion Code SKI15.

Valid Booking Dates: September 26 – October 16, 2008
Valid Travel Dates: October 1, 2008 – March 6, 2009
Five-day advance purchase required.

Visit http://www.southwestvacations.com/specials/detail.asp?xmlFile=FS0321 for more information

Peppermill Resort Casino

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Grand Sierra Resort

Eldorado Hotel Casino

Prices do not include a $3.50 federal excise tax per takeoff and landing, airport taxes of up to $18 roundtrip per person, or a federal September 11th Security Fee of up to $10 roundtrip per person. Packages must be booked at least five days prior to departure before 6 pm Central Time.

Get some spring turns before it’s too late

Spring skiingLocals refer to it as the “shoulder season” in the Sierra Nevada, the time between peak winter ski tourism and summer fun on Lake Tahoe’s beaches. But here’s a local secret: Some of the best (and least expensive) skiing happens in Spring.
This year started off strong with a flurry of cold storms that brought powder days and a large snowpack for the Sierra’s dozen-or-so resorts. Now that temperatures are in the 60s at higher altitude, the deep base is paying dividends of spring corn combined with good coverage.
Come up to the mountains for a visit to Reno-Tahoe, enjoy some of the best spring conditions we’ve had in years and take advantage of shoulder season travel deals. Check out our resorts page and plan your trip before it’s too late.

Spring skiing on Mt. Tallac

YouTube, MySpace, Google, Blip.tv and Veoh

Telemarker on Tallac over Tahoe

Earlier this month, the Reno-Tahoe gang got the chance to go Backcountry skiing on Mt. Tallac.

One of Lake Tahoe’s premier backcountry destinations, Tallac offers a strenuous 3,200-foot ascent, epic views of the Lake Tahoe basin and a thrilling descent.

Check out the Reno-Tahoe YouTube channel for other Reno-Tahoe videos.Thanks to photographer Justin Cash (who was on the hill with the editorial team from Backcountry Magazine) for throwing a couple photos our way.

-Jim ScrippsMt. Tallac From Cave Rock

Backcountry ski/board on Mt. Tallac

View from Tallac South to Heavenly
The view from Mt. Tallac looking south toward Lake Tahoe (left) and Fallen Leaf Lake (right). Photo / Jim Scripps

With temperatures in the 60s, spring skiing and boarding is in the air in Reno-Tahoe, a good time for the hardier ski-hikers to make a backcountry trek up Mt. Tallac, one the Sierra’s most accessible routes and home to unrivaled views of Lake Tahoe and the eastern Sierra below.

Although Tallac’s approach may be tough for the “fitness-challenged” – it registers 9,735 feet, a 3,255-foot gain to the summit – it’s high vantage point and open, skiable terrain make it well worth the hike. MiketheBike and I escorted a three-man editorial team from Backcountry Magazine up Mt. Tallac on March 6 to give them a taste of spring corn and clear blue skies.

Chilly morning air gave way to warm temperatures as we started up the trailhead around 10 a.m. Mikethebike, Justin and Justin (keeping names straight was also a little tough) sported randonee skis, Mike skinned a split snowboard, and I snowshoed, carrying my snowboard on my back. While the snow started out bulletproof, by the time we reached about 7,500 feet it started to loosen up, a good time for soft turns. I was the first to bail – tired of lugging my board, I strapped it on and ripped a good long run down the canyon. The others would continue toward the summit.

The snow started to harden up by the time my fellow travelers headed down, give them a bone-jarring ride. It turns out the best time to descend was between 2-3 p.m. And regardless of the snow condition, Tallac on a clear sunny day offers one of the best views available for the backcountry enthusiast.

To get to the (winter) Tallac trailhead (map): From Lake Tahoe’s South Shore take Highway 89 toward Emerald Bay. Turn west on Spring Creek Road, the first road after the Baldwin Beach turnoff. The end of the road is the start of the trail. From the trailhead, the summit is approximately 2.2 miles. Climb time varies based on snow conditions … and be prepared for avalanche danger before attempting any backcountry ski trip.

(Check back for a video of backcountry on Tallac…)

- Jim Scripps