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See the Best in Independent Films in Tahoe

Kye Petersen on RondThe Telluride Mountain Film Festival comes to North Lake Tahoe Thursday, December 16 and Friday, December 17 and offers up the best in independent films. 

Part of the Squaw Valley Institute educational events, the two-day celebration kicks off with a VIP Private Opening Reception and Film Showing at Gallery Keoki in the Village at Squaw Valley December 16 at 6:30 p.m. This private party is limited to 50 people, who will enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and appetizers while socializing with the Director of Mountainfilm on Tour, Justin Clifton, and then watch a broad selection of festival films via multiple viewing screens.  

The General Public Showing is scheduled for December 17 at the luxurious Resort at Squaw Creek, also in Olympic Valley. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a no-host bar and an 8 p.m. film program. 

Tickets purchased online are $20/person with current Squaw Valley Institute members at $10/person and local residents with North Tahoe/ Truckee identification at $15/person. Tickets at the door (if available) are $20/person. Each event will run about two-and-a-half hours. 

For more information about the Telluride Mountain Film Festival and to purchase tickets, click to the Squaw Valley Institute’s website at

North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. For lodging reservations, recreation and event details, call North Lake Tahoe at 1-877-949-3296 or visit

Visitor information centers are located at 380 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village. The North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus, Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, work together to promote North Lake Tahoe as a premier, year-round destination.

 -Pettit Gilwee

Become a part of the 1960 Winter Olympics

1960 Winter OlympicsAn exhibit memorializing the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley will go on display at today at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, four days before the start of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

The exhibit will allow passengers to position themselves on the very platforms used during the awards ceremony at the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics just 50 years ago, with the American flag hanging above the gold podium, providing for a great photo opportunity.

The museum will feature flags from all countries represented at the 1960 Games,  photos,  magazines, uniforms and more.  As well as two television monitors will run and display videos about the 1960 Winter Games.

The Olympic History Museum will be on exhibit at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, through the spring of 2010.

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 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

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 for event details and come out and support this event.

Coogan Kelly growing up and ripping it up:

Lake Tahoe ski resorts score high on the environment

Two Lake Tahoe ski resorts – Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA – scored top 10 placement on the Ski Area Citizens Coalition environmental scorecard, reflecting their leadership in creating green best practices. Here is coalition’s breakdown of top-scoring ski areas:

# Name Grade
1 (A) Aspen Mountain Ski Resort – Colorado 85.7%
2 (A) Buttermilk Mountain Ski Resort – Colorado 85.2%
3 (A) Sundance Resort – Utah 82.2%
4 (A) Park City Mountain Resort – Utah 79.1%
5 (A) Squaw Valley USA – California 78.3%
6 (A) Alpine Meadows Ski Area – California 77.4%
7 (A) Aspen Highlands Ski Resort – Colorado 76.7%
8 (A) Bogus Basin Mountain Resort – Idaho 74.8%
9 (A) Mount Bachelor Ski Area – Oregon 74.8%
10 (A) Telluride Ski Resort – Colorado 74.3%

It should be noted that although others in the ski industry are hard at work minimizing their environmental footprint, the scorecard reflects negative value for new development – and several resorts are expanding their villages, on-mountain amenities and terrain.

Video: McConkey and friends BASE jump China

Squaw Valley daredevil skier/BASE jumper Shane McConkey has been tearing it up again, this time BASE jumping with friends in China as part of the “Red Bull Air Force.” Reno-Tahoe visitors might remember when McConkey and others SkiBASEd off the towers of the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in downtown Reno. Here’s the video from China …

… and the video from last year’s Jump of Joy at Bobofest in Reno.

Warren Miller to emcee Squaw fundraiser

Warren Miller, the godfather of ski cinema, will emcee an event at Squaw Valley next month. Details from On The Snow:

The Squaw Valley Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting programs having artistic, cultural, and educational values for the surrounding community, is host a fund-raiser that is sure to be a hoot.

Legendary filmmaker – and onetime Squaw Valley ski instructor - Warren Miller will emcee A Toast to Tahoe Skiing on the evening of Nov. 15 at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

The event, which figures to be North Lake Tahoe’s biggest and liveliest party to kick-off the 2008-09 ski and snowboard season, is a celebration of the region’s deep-seated winter sports roots.

A Toast to Tahoe Skiing will feature a cocktail reception, a variety of food stations, an energetic ski/snowboard fashion and equipment show featuring local ski celebrities - Tamara McKinney, Eric DesLauriers, Shannon Bahrke and Robb Gafney are among the “models” - world-class music and lighting by Swank Audio Visual, and a live auction all commentated by Miller, whose dry wit and droll observations are known to all.

Miller also will wield the gavel as A Toast to Tahoe Skiing will auction off vacation packages to such get-away spas as Sunriver in Oregon, Palm Springs, Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe, Vail Cascade in Colorado, and Monterey Plaza Resort and Spa.

Sounds like a great event for a great cause. Check it out if you can. (In case you’re wondering, Squaw Valley is set to open for the season on Nov. 22.)

Tickets for the event – which begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and followed by dinner at 7 p.m. – cost $85 per person, with a limited number of front-row sponsored tables available. Call (530) 581-4138 for more information or reservations.

Sounds like a great event for a great cause. Check it out if you can. (In case you’re wondering, Squaw Valley is set to open for the season on Nov. 22.)

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)?