Tuning up those skis for upcoming season

Snow showed on the Heavenly Nevada side for a few days before burning off last week. Now, if it just cools off enough to let it build up. Mountain resorts often start making snow even when it's doubtful it will last just to get the trails ready for the real stuff.

In case you've wondered, manmade snow is a bit different from the real stuff in that the particles are smaller and more icy, but it still skis or rides just fine.

All of which leads up to a note about tuning skis and boards. Manufacturers put a bevel or bias on the edge of the steel and it depends on what degree works best for the individual ski.

When tuning skis or boards at home to remove burrs and dents, you've got to be careful not to alter that bias or bevel. If you've a steady or experienced hand it's not all that difficult, but if you haven't you might want to invest in an edging tool that has control for the degree of bias.

Since you'll probably have to work on the edges over the season, particularly in the early or rock skiing season, the investment of $30 or so is worth it. That's along with a diamond stone to take out the bad nicks and a soft stone for final smoothing.

Another item for the snowsport gear is a wire brush to run over the base after hot waxing. The wax will fill those thin striations that allow the melted snow to escape from under the ski (yes, you melt the snow when you ski or board), so using the wire brush clears those channels.

Something else to check on skis is the flatness of the bases. Run a steel rule along the base perpendicular to the length. If the edges are higher than the base, then you're going to railroad instead of turn. If the base is higher than the edges, your skis will skitter in turns. Flatness is good for skiing.


The Booth Creek Resorts family has added Matt Reeder as the new snow surfaces manager for Northstar-at-Tahoe. Big job as he will control snowmaking gear and grooming.

Reeder launched his career at Hunter Mountain in upstate New York as the snowmaking supervisor. Three years later, Reeder moved to Mount Snow, Vt., before heading west to Aspen Mountain. From there, he spent five years as director of slope maintenance at The Canyons resort in Utah. Reeder was the mountain manager at Big Sky, Mont., where he oversaw snowmaking, lifts, layout and trail building.

Northstar also added Chris Plummer as marketing manager and Eric Collins as the new Web and e-mail content specialist for Northstar and Sierra-at-Tahoe.


The Carson Valley Inn (www.cvinn.com) in Minden is offering Winter packages this season, including two Ski Getaways.

The Ski Inn-Vite provides two nights' hotel accommodations and one Kirkwood lift ticket per person for $95 per person, double occupancy, for Sunday through Thursday arrivals and $109 per person for Friday and Saturday arrivals. There's lots more plans so check it out at (800) 321-6983 or 783-6629.

Carson Valley Inn Ski Packages start on Nov. 18 or when the ski resorts open. All packages expire March 31.


Sierra-at-Tahoe recently honored three employees who exemplified the company's values and commitment at the resort's annual Eagle Award dinner.

Each year, the resort selects three individuals to receive the Bronze, Silver and Golden Eagle awards.

This year's Golden Eagle recipient was Scott Bell, a relatively new employee to Sierra. Bell was hired as the lead for the Building Maintenance department last December.

Other awards given to outstanding Sierra-at-Tahoe employees include the Silver Eagle, which was awarded to Helen Behn, Sierra's Ticket and Season Pass Manager. The Bronze Eagle was awarded to Paul Swanston, Sierra's Community and Business Development Manager.


Travelers headed to Mammoth Lakes now have a unique electronic portal for full concierge services to plan and reserve all of their vacation needs at one central online location. Vacationers are able to finalize their requirements through this online service. The Web site uses specialized search tools, e-mail and phone communications, and a new interaction tool - a guest service Chat with a live concierge to answer questions.


Pro skiers and snowboarders lit up the night at the 1st Jibassic Park Pro Rail Invitational and Film Premiere at Tahoe's Boreal Mountain Resort last weekend.

Some 2,000 spectators saw three film premieres: The world premiere of Blank Paper's "91 Words For Snow," Misschief Films' "As If," and Pléhouse Films' "White Shine." A field of top pro skiers and snowboarders competed on a 30-step staircase with three funbox options (two flat, one down-flat-down) for a total prize purse of $7,000. Twenty $100 dollar bills were handed out on the spot for best tricks, but snowboarders Jake Devine and Destinee Perata and skiers Max Peters and Grete Eliassen walked away with the overall prize money.


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