The ski resorts in California are buzzing. Last week snow fell on several consecutive nights in Mammoth and on Friday 20 November a powerful storm hit Tahoe, dumping between 10 and 12 inches of new snow in the upper elevations. The following day when Tahoe’s major resorts opened – Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Northstar – the storm had blown over and skiers and snowboarders were greeted with fresh powder and blue, sunny skies, a common occurence in California’s ski resorts. The predictions for an El Nino winter in California are already being proved correct.
News from Lake Tahoe:
Northstar-at-Tahoe opened on Saturday 21 November with the best opening day conditions since the 1994-1995 season and the whole area is eagerly anticipating the opening of Tahoe’s first 5* resort – The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Northstar – on 9 December
Squaw Valley also opened on 21 November and this season celebrates the resort’s 60th Anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Winter Olympics. From 8 to 17 January 2010 the Olympic Heritage Celebration extravaganza will include parades, an Olympic torch relay and fireworks. Also on offer to guests are “Ski-with-Jonny” days – the opportunity to fly down the slopes with Jonny Moseley, Olympic Gold Medallist and Squaw Valley Chief Mountain Host
Mt Rose is now open 7 days a week and on 19 December the new Slide Lodge, a 7,865 sq. ft. glass and steel building, will open featuring new dining options and panoramic views of Washoe Valley
Heavenly, on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, opened to excellent conditions on 21 November – a combination of the snowfall and the largest snowmaking system on the West Coast. For 2009-10, the resort will debut a new, four-lane tubing hill, an exciting addition to Heavenly’s Adventure Peak family recreation area, which already boasts sledding, ski bikes and the zip-slide
Kirkwood is projecting opening on 27 November and Sierra-at-Tahoe when the conditions allow. This winter, evening Snow Cat Tours are being offered in Kirkwood – the 90-minute moonlit tour will explore the scenic ridgelines of the area, with wine, cider and snacks.
News from Mammoth:
California’s highest ski area Mammoth Mountain opened on 7 November
Mammoth has two terrain parks open and Top-to-Bottom skiing and riding on over 100 acres of it’s 3,500 acres of skiable terrain
Horizon Air will introduce a second daily nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Mammoth this winter. The 70-minute flight, as opposed to a 5 hour drive, starts on 17 December 2009 and runs until 11 April 2010. Mammoth Mountain resort area is just 15 minutes from the Mammoth Lakes Yosemite airport and there is a network of free shuttles connecting lodging with the ski lifts, dining and shopping
California ski packages:
Photo: North Lake Tahoe
Seven nights bed & breakfast in Lake Tahoe with Crystal Finest costs from £805 per person* in the four-star Forest Suites Resort situated next to Heavenly gondola and with the ski bus stopping just outside making the other Tahoe ski areas readily accessible. Included are scheduled flights from Heathrow to either Los Angeles or Reno, free car hire, departing on 13th January 2010
Seven nights in Mammoth with Crystal Ski costs from £679 per person* in the three-star Mammoth Mountain Inn with a fantastic ski in/ski out location and right by the gondola at Main Lodge.
Included in the price are scheduled flights from Heathrow to either Los Angeles or Reno, free car hire, departing on 13th January 2010
– Free lift pass for children aged 18 and under when one adult pre-books the same duration. Free lift pass for children under 6.
* based on 4 sharing.
Seven nights in Lake Tahoe with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow direct to San Francisco, accommodation at the 2.5V Big Pines Lake Tahoe with breakfast and car hire included starts from £649 saving up to £80. Prices are per person based on 2 adults travelling and sharing a standard room price, based on departures between 02 Jan – 18 Jan 2010
Seven nights in Mammoth Mountain with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow direct to Los Angeles, accommodation at the 3V Alpenhof Lodge on a room only basis with car hire included starts from £815. Prices are per person based on 2 adults travelling and sharing a standard room price, based on select departures in January 2010