As time passes by the time snow covers the Sierra, local ski resorts in the area are quickly completing work to upgrade lifts and expand terrain.
From new gondolas and lifts to open ski areas, Lake Tahoe area ski resorts plan to offer more to guests than ever this coming season.
Heavenly mountain resort
In South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is increasing the climbing capacity of its North Bowl chairlift by 40%.
The Vail Resorts-operated mountain will replace its three-person lift with a new four-person high-speed chair. By auctioning off the three-person chairs, Heavenly raised $162,000 for nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, Ski Run Community Park, and the EpicPromise Foundation.
The North Bowl upgrade will reduce passenger time on the Boulder elevator, as well as a planned reduction in wait times at the Stagecoach and Olympic elevators, according to station officials.
Late last month, Vail Resorts announced it would be limiting lift ticket sales throughout the season to prioritize guest experience.
“We care deeply about the experience of our guests at our resorts,” said James O’Donnell, president of the Mountain Division of Vail Resorts, in a press release. “Limited lift tickets throughout the season, along with the large investments we are making in our resorts and our team members, will help us provide our guests with an unforgettable experience this winter.”
Additionally, Vail Resorts will no longer require COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, but will continue to require daily health screenings for all team members working on-site. There are currently no requirements for face coverings, vaccines, or restaurant and elevator reservations at Vail resorts for the upcoming season.
Heavenly is aiming for an opening date of November 18.
Kirkwood Mountain Station
Vail’s other operated resort south of Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, will celebrate its 50th anniversarye anniversary of operations this season.
Ahead of the ski season, Kirkwood announced an addition to its mountain bike offering. The Forbidden Forest trail will open this weekend.
Kirkwood is targeting Dec. 2 for its season opener.
Northstar California Resort
Located above Truckee and Lake Tahoe, the third of Vail’s operated mountains in the region, Northstar California Resort, will also be celebrating 50 years in business.
This season, Northstar will launch an upgraded Comstock Express, going from a four-person chair to a high-speed six-person lift. The upgrades are designed to reduce wait times at one of the mountain’s most popular lifts and will increase ascent capacity by nearly 50%.
An auction of Northstar’s old Comstock chairs raised over $23,000 for the EpicPromise Foundation. The resort’s terrain parks team also uses the lift towers to create new features.
“Our teams look forward to welcoming guests back to our mountains for the upcoming winter season,” said Tom Fortune, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Heavenly Mountain Resort and Tahoe Area in a press release. . “We look forward to the start of the ski + ride season every year, and I know it will be another amazing winter for all of our Tahoe area resorts. Most importantly, our Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar teams are working incredibly hard. to prepare, and their incredible dedication and focus will no doubt enable us to deliver another great season for our guests.
Northstar plans to start running elevators on November 18.
About a year ago, the skies above Sierra-at-Tahoe were orange as the Caldor Fire scorched tens of thousands of acres.
The fire burned down the area’s West Bowl and kept the resort closed for most of last season.
The fire affected 1,600 of the 2,000-acre resorts, damaged lift towers, haul ropes, terrain park features, four new snowcats, a maintenance building, “which housed numerous tools and belongings of our crews, some of which had been passed down from generation to generation,” according to an update from the station.
Station officials say more than 14,000 fire-damaged trees have been felled, which is about five million board feet of timber removed from the station’s slopes.
Sierra-at-Tahoe usually opens late November, early December.
A dream that has been in the making for more than seven decades is finally coming true as the Olympic Valley and the Alpine meadows will now be linked by the base-to-base gondola.
The $65 million project will take skiers from either base area in 16 minutes, spanning 2.4 miles from Olympic Valley to Alpine Meadows. It will have the ability to function as two separate elevators allowing access to the top of the KT-22 from either base area. This connection makes Palisades Tahoe the third largest ski area in North America, according to Alterra Mountain Company.
At Alpine Meadows, the Red Dog chairlift changes from a three-person chairlift to a detachable high-speed six-person chairlift. The lift will also be moved to a new location to allow skiers and snowboarders access to the parking lot.
Palisades said they will start running the elevators Nov. 22.
Mount Rose Ski Tahoe
The largest capital improvement project in Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe’s history, a $7.5 million expansion, will see the resort’s new Lakeview area open to skiers and snowboarders.
The new trail will provide views of Lake Tahoe and access to the Around the World Trail.
“Expanding the Lakeview area, improving trails and adding the new express chairlift will have a transformative effect on how people access this area of the mountain,” said Mike Pierce, chief marketing officer of Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, in a statement. Release. “Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe they’ve never had before, and the new Lakeside Trail will quickly become a favorite with many thanks to its gentle, wide flow. complemented by stellar lake views.”
The new Lakeview chairlift will open during the 2022-23 winter season weather and snow conditions permitting. The beginner slope will create a more suitable route from the top of the Lakeview lift to the Around the World ski slope, giving novice skiers and snowboarders a greater ability to enjoy lake views while accessing beginner terrain .
Mt. Rose is usually among the first resorts to open for the season and started running lifts as early as late October.
Homewood Mountain Resort
While Homewood Mountain Resort’s announcement to move to a members-only structure has garnered a lot of attention, ski enthusiasts on Tahoe’s West Rim won’t see any change this season.
Skiers will benefit from the open terrain thanks to the forest thinning projects, which resort officials say have created new areas for tree skiing.
Homewood typically opens early to mid-December.