A little more than a year after a forest fire ravaged Sierra-at-Tahoe, the 2,000-acre mountain south of Lake Tahoe is up and running for 2022-2023.
In August 2021, the Caldor Fire roared in from the southwest and onto the trails, slopes and glades of "Sierra," abruptly ending any chance of a 2021-2022 winter season. Once the fire was extinguished and hot spots were doused, work began in earnest to mitigate terrain damage and repair chairlifts -- all with an aim of getting a portion of the mountain open again this season.
Mission accomplished, as mountain managers dropped the ropes for a new season on December 3 with a surprising amount of the trail map open. Late fall storms blessed the Sierra with several feet of base layer, with Sierra-at-Tahoe reporting that about 90 inches have fallen prior to opening day.
Skiers and riders familiar with Sierra will find a radically different look this season. While the trails off Grandview Express are ready to be opened, all the forested areas -- including the famed glades between runs on the east side of the mountain -- will remain closed. Unpatrolled steeps in Jack's Bowl are expected to be opened when conditions permit.
The West Bowl -- a popular blue-black network of trails and tree islands -- is now wide open and treeless. The fire hits West Bowl hardest, and crews concentrated on removing damaged trees and spreading wood chips in order to get West Bowl ready and safe for the season. Mountain managers call the mitigated terrain the "hidden backstage in the trees that is now your stage to perform."
Off Grandview chair, upper-ridge easy cruiser Sugar 'n' Spice and its "mellow yellow" fingerlings opened on time along with a dozen other designated trails, but any treed areas will be roped off.
The gentle trails on the Backside, served by two fixed-grip doubles, are expected to open when conditions allow. A passel of blues and greens off Grandview and Nob Hill chairs are listed as open. But all the gladed terrain in between the named trails will remain closed.
Sierra-at-Tahoe is a member of the 21-resort Powder Alliance; merely show a season from a member-resort and get three days free.
As temperatures begin to shift, Ski California resorts are gearing up for the 2021-22 winter season with investments in infrastructure, facilities improvements, and technology that will continue to allow for fast, contactless lift access, reservations and payment, and high-quality experiences.
The options keep on coming, as single-mountain season passes for next season have more add-ons than ever before to compete with the multi-resort mega-passes.
The baker's dozen of ski and snowboard resorts in the Lake Tahoe region will start opening for the season in late November, and all will have policies in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Like all U.S. resorts, the list of COVID-related changes at Tahoe-area mountains reads familiar: Cashless transactions, masking up, self-grouping for lifts, state regulating size of gatherings, more weekday season pass options, rental shop spacing, group lesson capping, gearing up in the parking lot, and grab 'n' go food.
An active weather pattern will have several fast-moving storms move through both the East and the West. Timing is everything to catch the best conditions through this weekend.
Winter weather has no sign of letting up across the Western U.S. and Canada, neither for the Great Lakes region!
The latest round of storms off the Pacific Ocean have rivaled any in recent years, so much so that a number of resorts closed temporarily and others had to cut back on skiable terrain.
OK, so we on the West Coast have been pleading and praying for powder this season, especially on the heels of a couple of subpar winters where puttin' on the fatboys and breathing through a snorkel seemed but distant memories.
A cold beer after a day on the slopes has been a tradition for a long, long time at ski and snowboard resorts. Now, with brewers brewing near most resorts, the connection has strengthened and produced a plethora of personalized “mug clubs” at resort bars.
Lost Valley in Maine rejoicing recent cold and snow along with many others. (Lost Valley/Facebook)
An incredibly-powerful ocean storm will move close to the East coast Thursday and Friday while moisture returns to the Sierra for the first time in several weeks.
Never too far from the forest at Taos. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
Few things bring skiers and riders closer to the mountain than getting off the piste and into the forest.
Spring jumpin' at Sierra-at-Tahoe (Sierra-at-Tahoe/Facebook)
With plenty of snow still on the ground, a growing number of resorts across the West are going to keep the lifts turning longer than scheduled.
In New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley announced it will extend its season an extra week to Sunday, April 9 – although it will closed April 3 for it annual employee day. Three lifts will be running that extra week, but the beginner lifts will be turned off.
In Los Alamos, Pajarito Mountain officials decided to keep things going a week longer to March 26 – and then on weekends if conditions permit.
To the north, Purgatory will cease daily operations as scheduled on April 2, but will reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the month.
Also at the southwest Colorado resort, there’s a new surface, “transfer” lift open now to eliminate a long, flat traverse for skiers and snowboarders to the Legends Express on the mountain’s backside. Lift 11 can be picked up at the bottom of Dirty Secret, Siegele Street and Bottom’s Chute and shuttled back to the high-speed quad.
“The new lift provides easier access from advanced and expert trails to the newest high-speed quad,” said Purgatory’s Ed Youmans.
There’ll be another week of skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, which announced it will stay open until April 24 – also Customer Appreciation Day. The Tahoe-area mountain has seen more than 500 inches fall from the sky this season, a “season for the books,” is how GM John Rice characterized the season.
"Bury the Butte." (Crested Butte/Facebook)
Starting in the Sierra and moving across the Wasatch to the Colorado Rockies, a dozen Pacific-laden storms unleashed their largesse in January to set up skiers and snowboarders for the rest of the season.
Snow everywhere you look around Lake Tahoe these days. (Heavenly/Facebook)
Ah, just like the old days … The trio of Pacific storms that recently slammed into the Sierra left behind record snow depths and wind speeds as high as 100 mph and forced nearly a dozen Lake Tahoe resorts to shut down their lifts.
Snowcats open up new powder stashes at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
The storms have started to roll across the Sierra Nevada, giving skiers and snowboarders who venture to the Lake Tahoe region a taste of what is to come this season.
It’s just been too good at Lake Tahoe resorts this season – and so much better than recent years -- not to stay open longer than planned.