Big weekend kicks off at Tahoe ski resorts |

Big weekend kicks off at Tahoe ski resorts

Donnie Nelson

Slowly but surely, the bases are building at area ski resorts.

At least five of the Lake Tahoe-Donner Pass area’s 13 major ski resorts are 100 percent open and all of the other alpine destinations have more than 82 percent of their runs open. However, the snow conditions are still not what they could be. Winter storms, expected to be bigger and better than ever because of the highly publicized El Nino phenomenon, have not pounded the Sierra as frequently as in average winters.

Still, both alpine and nordic ski centers have more than enough snow to work with. And, this weekend promises to be one of their busiest of the year.

Kirkwood (209-258-3000) has the deepest base (64 to 90 inches). It has 65 trails open, 12 lifts operating and average prices for lift tickets. Kirkwood also has 70 kilometers of cross country ski trails open. Last week’s storm hit the area hard.

Heavenly (916-541-1330) has a base of 24 to 60 inches and 21 lifts going, but it could still use another big blast of winter weather to get it fully up and running.

Sierra-at-Tahoe (916-659-7475) has a base of 31 to 50 inches, 39 trails open and seven lifts operating. Ski Homewood (916-525-2900) has a base of 19 to 39 inches, 47 trails open and seven lifts going. Alpine Meadows (530-581-8374) has a base of 48-72 inches, 100 trails open and 12 lifts going.

Squaw Valley (530-583-6955) has a base of 24 to 60 inches and is fully open. Visitors can also enjoy many other winter activities, such as ice skating, at the resort.

Donner Ski Ranch has a base of 30 to 50 inches and is fully open.

Soda Springs (916-426-3666) and Boreal (916-426-1114) both have about 40 inches at the base of the mountain and are fully open.

Northstar (916-562-1330) and Diamond Peak (702-831-3211) have small bases, but they are almost completely open.

Mount Rose has a base of 24-42 inches and five lifts going.

Boreal, Mammoth Mountain and Squaw Valley all offer night skiing until 9 p.m. However, be sure to call and check conditions and time schedules before you go. Mammoth Mountain (760-934-6166) has a base of 64 to 90 inches and is fully open.

A handful of resorts, including Northstar and Soda Springs, have publicized new snow tube runs. However, they were all reporting a shortage of snow in their fun centers as of last week to effectively open the runs.

For cross country skiers, Diamond Peak (702-831-3211) has 21 kilometers open, Lakeview (916-583-9353) has 47 kilometers open, Northstar (916-562-2475) has 55 kilometers open, Spooner Lake (702-749-5349) has 46 kilometers open and Royal Gorge (916-426-3871) is open.