Spring skiing deals
Mt. Rose: $59 lift ticket and free $20 food card Wednesdays; learn to ski or ride with $149 beginner pass (ages 11-above)
Sugar Bowl: CORE Daily Pass members — $50 adult lift tickets, $40 young adult and senior tickets; $10 kids 6-12 and seniors 70-over; free lessons, rentals for ticket holders ages 13-69
Homewood: Spring-loaded 3-Pack — three unrestricted lift tickets valid for the rest of the season priced at $132, an average of $44 per day
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows: Spring getaway package — guests who stay two nights between Saturday and April 28 receive two High Camp pool access tickets, a pair of two-day lift tickets and lodging with rates starting at $118 per person/per night
Spring skiing has arrived in Lake Tahoe. And with it comes different expectations for the day and new strategies for being on the mountain.
First, on most days it’s definitely time to shed the heavy clothes, lather on the sunscreen, carefully wax the skis or board and lower the intensity gauge.
That’s right, ease up; this is the carefree time of year, so forget about trying to cram 30 runs into one day.
Most spring days, getting that many “quality” runs will be difficult. The good snow that most skiers or riders desire is generally lacking early in the morning and later in the day, which is why it’s a good idea to crank down the intensity meter.
“The biggest advice I would give is to go slow and read the conditions,” said Mt. Rose spokesperson Kayla Anderson. “In this warmer weather, it’s easy to speed down the slopes, hit some variable terrain, and that can lead to an accident.”
What most winter enthusiasts will be seeing from now until the close of the season is the typical warm-weather, blue-sky (called “bluebird” in ski slang) days the Lake Tahoe ski resorts are famous for each spring.
There are certainly many positives this time of year. Crowds can be a big one. From now until the end of the season, the number of skiers and riders will start to dwindle on the weekends.
Here’s another upside: Sleep in a bit. Many mornings, the snow is crusty or icy, so there’s no big rush to hit the mountain until around 10 a.m.
Arriving fashionably late is not a bad idea. Eat a late breakfast and plan on eating lunch later in the afternoon to take advantage of the conditions before they deteriorate.
Once the sun has warmed up many areas, the best skiing comes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Following the sun is the general rule. The corn snow provides the best conditions.
Around the noon hour when the sun is really heating up can be a good time to try some jumps or attack the moguls. The soft snow can be ideal for both.
Late afternoon is always questionable, with slushy snow often the reason to shed your ski boots prematurely and find a suitable spot on the nearest sun deck.
Spring also is a great time of year for beginners and more experienced skiers and riders to take lessons.
“With warm, sunny weather and soft snow, spring is the perfect time to learn to ski or snowboard,” said Amelia Richmond of Squaw Valley. “It’s also a great time to take a lesson for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders because instructors can provide some great tips on how to ski and ride spring snow.”
Here are three prime considerations this time of year:
* Skin protection: Want to protect your skin and avoid looking pink for a week? Put sunscreen on thick in the morning and also apply later in the day.
* Proper dress: Don’t be so eager to strip off practically everything. One nasty fall wearing shorts or no shirt will cure anyone of the urge to dress down. It feels just like falling on hard gravel, so cover up everything, arms included.
* Fluids: Staying hydrated is a good idea any time of year, but especially in the spring. Dehydration can occur rapidly in the combined warm weather and high attitudes.
“Put on sunscreen, ChapStick and wear layers that you can add and remove depending on weather,” advises Sugar Bowl spokesman Peter Avedschmidt.
One more thing about spring skiing: Don’t pay full price for anything. Search out the bargains, whether it’s lift tickets, lodging or buying new gear.
This time of year it doesn’t mean that an occasional powder day might not emerge. Remember, we are dealing with Mother Nature, a very fickle female.
Weather changes can arrive suddenly, turning back the clock to emulate a ruthless day in January rather than a tame one in March or April. Yet things quickly revert back to a more normal, warm weather pattern.
Spring skiing is definitely a time to adapt a different attitude. For many people, it now becomes more about relaxing and just being on the hill, cruising and having a good time.
— Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected] Visit his winter website at http://www.examiner.com/skiing-in-san-francisco/jeffrey-weidel