Tahoe resorts blowing out season with pond skims, brews and more
April 12, 2019
Fun on the mountain ain't over yet, but resorts around the lake are hosting a slew of springtime events this weekend.
And for many, the festivities will mark the second to last weekend of operations before closing. Of course, with the amazing snowpack a few resorts plan to stay open well beyond April.
From pond skims to salsa challenges, there's plenty of fun to be had on the hill this weekend. Here's a selection of a few of the resorts ramping up the excitement.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly is one of the few resorts that will continue operating, albeit in a limited schedule, into May. In fact, Heavenly plans to continue operations on the weekends through Memorial Day.
It's the latest closing date for the resort in years, a fact attributed to the epic snowpack.
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What's another indication of just how much snow the Tahoe Basin received? The return of everyone' favorite springtime event: the pond skim.
Yes, after a one-year hiatus Heavenly's pond skim returns Saturday.
What's a pond skim, you ask? It's pretty much exactly what you envision: people careening down a slope on skis or a snowboard in an attempt to skim across a shallow pool of water. The key word in that sentence is "attempt." Most people usually sink. Add to the physical comedy some ridiculous outfits and you basically have a 10 entertainment level.
But some of us aren't content with "entertainment." Some want to compete. For those who want to enter, it's pretty straight forward (just kidding, there's a lot of rules):
There's only 100 spots and registration is first come, first served;
You must wear a helmet (because if you're participating in this you clearly have some valuable stuff to protect in the old noggin);
You must be 12 years old or older, and guests younger than 18 must have a legal guardian at the time of registration;
You must have a valid ID at registration (No skimming without a license.);
No ski poles, selfie sticks, animals, teams or inverted aerials into the pond;
Skiers cannot enter backward;
No offensive costumes (Seriously, show even just one butt cheek and you're out of here.),
No full-face masks or costumes that inhibit full visibility;
No fire allowed in costumes (Really? This needs to be stated? Who is carrying out self immolation on the pond skim?);
No boozing while on course or while waiting to cross the pond (You're going to need actual courage, not just liquid courage.);
And no pre-runs (You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow … This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better).
See, pretty straightforward.
Registration starts at noon and the contest starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13.
The event takes place at the base Of World Cup at the California Lodge, where conveniently a DJ will spinning tunes from the Heavenly Snowcat.
Head to skiheavenly.com for information.
Homewood Mountain Resort
The resort on Tahoe's West Shore (literally, it feels like your skiing down into the lake) is hosting its first ever "Pride Ride" weekend.
The resort is hosting a variety of mini-events on and off the mountain, including live dj and dance parties at the Big Blue View Bar, slalom drag race, ski parade down Rainbow Ridge, and other après drink specials lasting all-day at the 89 Bar & Grill.
Homewood also is offering $69 ski or ride lessons for those who want to learn. Tickets must be purchased in advance and include rental gear, a lesson and a lift ticket.
Also, enter Saturday's raffle for a chance to win a 2019-20 season pass. All proceeds will benefit the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.
Head to skihomewood.com for a rundown of the weekend's festivities.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood is celebrating its second to last weekend of the season with a pass holder appreciation day (the resort ends daily operations after Sunday but will reopen for a three-day weekend April 19-21).
Pass holders start the day with a complimentary breakfast burrito in the morning.
Cardboard box derby will take place at 1 p.m. (participants must arrive at the plaza at 11 a.m. to register). Much like the pond skims, there's a lengthy list of rules that apply to this event. Head to kirkwood.com for a rundown.
Public voting for the cardboard dummy ends at 3 p.m.
Finish the day strong with $4 drinks from 3-5 p.m.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
It's all about the beer this weekend at Mt. Rose.
The resort, conveniently located between Tahoe and Reno, starts the weekend with its BrewSki event Saturday.
What is BrewSki? It's 17 local microbreweries pouring beers on the deck at Winters Creek Lodge from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Ike & Martin will be providing the live music.
Sunday at Mt. Rose features the annual German Beer Garden at Winters Creek Lodge. Come out and enjoy some German beer and brats at the resort.
Passholders get discounts on both beers and brats starting at 10:30 a.m.
Stein races take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Head to skirose.com for information.
Unlike its sister resort Heavenly, Northstar is ending the season in April (April 21 to be exact).
But much like Heavenly, the resort is hosting its pond skim this weekend. Northstar's "Spring it On! Pond Skim" returns Sunday, April 14.
Registration runs from 8:30-11 a.m. at the top of The Big Springs Gondola. Costumes are encouraged.
The skim runs from noon-3 p.m. at mid-mountain. A DJ will be there bumping tunes as contestant doe their best to skim across the chilly waters.
Adding to the on-mountain fun, Sunday also is "retro day" at Northstar. Yup, grab your garish neon one-piece for a chance to win some Northstar swag.
A costume contest will take place at The Village Stage at 4 p.m. (signups take place at 3:45).
Head to northstarcalifornia.com for information.
The South Shore resorts plans to stay open through Easter weekend, making this the second to last weekend for operations in the 2018-19 season. And Sierra — self dubbed Sierra-at-Cabo during the spring — is going all out.
The weekend starts with the annual Buckle Up Big Air, a slopestyle jam for skiers and snowboarders in remembrance of Sierra team rider Greg Taylor Smith.
"The event is held annually to honor Greg's memory with a fun day on the slopes, his favorite place to be," according to Sierra-at-Tahoe.
The event, open to all ages and abilities, aims to raise awareness about seatbelt safety.
Jam sessions are an hour long for each class with skiers/riders calling three runs as their comp runs, according to Sierra. Judging will be overall impression of creativity and style.
Registration will be open the morning of the event in the Solstice Plaza. The entry fee includes a T-shirt and exclusive access to the park for the day. Did we mention the $1,200 cash purse?
The fun continues with live music on the mountain Saturday and the inaugural UnGala at MontBleu Saturday night.
All proceeds from this event benefit Sierra-at-Tahoe competition teams.
Sunday features the annual "salsa showdown" at the resort. The winner receives a 2019-20 value season pass. Competition for the contest, held at the Golden Bear Terrace, is capped at 20 entries. Oh yeah, and there's a taco eating contest. Sign us up. To enter now, head to http://www.sierraattahoe.com/salsa-showdown-entry-form/.
Information on all the weekends' activities is available at http://www.sierraattahoe.com.
Squaw Valley is the capital for spring (and summer) skiing in the Sierra. Seriously, the resort plans to stay open until July 7, with Friday-through-Sunday operations starting after Memorial Day on May 27.
Squaw starts the weekend Saturday with the inaugural SquawFree 'Doggin Fundraiser. Featuring a dual open mogul field competition with tons of prizes, all proceeds will be donated to SquawFree and used for its athlete scholarship program.
"The course is guaranteed to be 'hero bumps,' without any set lines or man made jumps … Spontaneous airs only!!" states Squaw.
The $100 event fee registers you for the contest and gets you a hot dog for lunch, a T-shirt and access to the after party.
Another charitable contest takes place Sunday when Squaw hosts the annual Billy Dutton Uphill, a challenging race featuring a 2,000-foot climb over a 3.2-mile course.
Participants start at the base of KT-22 and make their way up the mountain.
The event is named after Billy Dutton, an athlete who gained notoriety for routinely skiing up the Mountain Run on classic skis. He also was one of the founders of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue.
All proceeds benefit Far West Nordic's juniors program.
Visit squawalpine.com for information.