Some last hiking and praying for snow

At long last we climbed Prison Hill over the weekend, after first visiting Deadman's Creek for perhaps the 20th time.

Deadman is a quick 30-minute trek with a fine view of Washoe Lake, which this year lasted into the fall. The trail there is easy and just the thing for a visitor to warm up on.

Then it was Prison Hill by the Silver Spur Ranch. This trail starts out as soft dirt but soon becomes a bit rocky. But it's a fun hike of perhaps 4 miles roundtrip with maybe 500 feet of vertical. There are many backcountry roads around, once one gets close to the saddle. Some beg for a return trip, one in particular that climbs a couple of hundred feet above the saddle. Maybe this fall before ski season starts.

And with snow gracing some of the mountain tops, that can't be too far away.

Prayfor snow

Sierra-at-Tahoe's legendary Pray for Snow Party is back this year in its new location at The Cavern in South Lake Tahoe, with more great prizes and crazier contests.

The famous winter kick-off party will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday at The Cavern, Tahoe's lowest bar, located underneath Rojo's Restaurant.

Winter worshippers will not want to miss their chance to win a 2005/06 Double Whammy season pass in the Snowcalling contest - the main event of the evening. Participants perform their best snow ritual to get Mother Nature's attention by dancing and singing for the snow and calling for an outstanding winter solstice. Local artists, yodelers, rappers, poets and all other talents are welcomed to participate, judged by local celebrities.

Guests will have other chances to win prizes in the Show Us Your Ink, Beer Chugging and Clothing Swap contests. Prizes include lift tickets, snowboards and ski/board gear (donated by Powder House), T-shirts, and dining gift certificates.

From 6 to 7 p.m., doors will open for Sierra-at-Tahoe and Double Whammy season passholders only (season pass or proof of pass purchase must be shown). The Cavern and Sierra-at-Tahoe will sponsor free appetizers and drinks. At 7 p.m., doors open to the general public. All contests are scheduled to take place between 8 and 9:30 p.m.

The Cavern is located at the corner of Highway 50 and San Francisco Avenue. Call (530) 659-7453.

Family fun

If you and your family would enjoy going on skiing or snowboarding outings with other local families, join Cooperative Extension's Douglas County 4-H Ski/Board Club every other Sunday for a trip to Kirkwood. Attend an orientation meeting at 6 p.m. Thurday at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office in Gardnerville, 1329 Waterloo Lane.

There are a limited number of slots available for this educational program that includes special rates for lift tickets, rentals, lessons and packages. The first trip will be on Nov. 20 (weather permitting), with trips continuing every other Sunday through April. Helmets are mandatory, and parents are responsible for their children and transportation.

Participants do not need to be members of 4-H. Call (775) 782-9960.

Heavenly's nightime terrain park

When most skiers and riders will be packing up at four o'clock to head home, things will just be heating up at Heavenly Mountain Resort. The resort is adding the High Roller Nightlife Terrain Park at the California Lodge area. The park will be open this season from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday, debuting in mid-December.

High Roller Nightlife will feature hits, rails and funboxes that riders have come to expect from Heavenly's High Roller Terrain Parks, along with frequent rail jam competitions and a DJ spinning tunes.

The park will be off the World Cup chairlift close to the California Lodge. A special adult, teen and child Nightlife ticket will also be available for those who want to ride the park for one night.

"This new nighttime terrain park really shows Heavenly's commitment to snowboarding," said Heavenly Freeride Team snowboarder Jimmy Halopoff. "Nightlife will be an awesome place to hang out and ride."

The High Roller Parks are designed to help riders progress from beginner to expert, with features designed for each level. High Roller California is off the Canyon chairlift on the California side and is for advanced riders.

Call (800) HEAVENLY.

Virtual snowsporting

No lines, no traffic, no crowds and no hassle. That is what skiers and snowboarders will experience with the new SnowBomb Virtual Ski & Snowboard Expo. The online show was developed as a more progressive method for the ski and snowboard industry to introduce new and important information and offer deals online.

Modeled after the traditional ski/snowboard expo or swap, the SnowBomb Virtual Expo offers all the same benefits and features, and it is free of charge, takes no time to get there and is available all winter at The online expo provides access to specific deals on lift tickets and passes, online coupons, lodging specials, ticket giveaways, an online equipment swap, classified listings, video clips, photos, a message board and comprehensive information about every resort in the Tahoe region. They'll even send you free trail maps and stickers from your favorite resorts. Call (530) 581-0553.


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