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What's New At Lake Tahoe Resorts For 2012-2013

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What's New At Lake Tahoe Resorts For 2012-2013

Kirkwood Powder

Mike Doyle
There's a lot of new things happening around Lake Tahoe Resorts for 2012-2013. For example Kirkwood is entering its first full season under the Vail Resorts umbrella and Squaw Valley will be unveiling two new lifts this season as part of part of its five year, $70 million "Renaissance."
Here's more of what you'll find that's new and different this season when you ski the resorts around Lake Tahoe.

Alpine Meadows
Alpine Meadows has partnered with industry-leading Snow Park Technologies to design a mile long terrain park that will incorporate both man-made and natural features on a top-to-bottom run accessed from the Summit Express chairlift. Already connected via a complimentary shuttle, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley have announced a new pilot program, in conjunction with the United States Forest Service, exploring the feasibility of installing permanent gated access between the resorts for experienced backcountry travelers. Alpine has also completed significant upgrades to its snowmaking systems on a number of top-to-bottom runs on the mountain.
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Badger Pass
On most Tuesdays after Jan. 22, two guests can get in for the price of one -- $42. And members of the military can drop by anytime and get free lift tickets, rental equipment and a group lesson.
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Bear Valley
The resort is unveiling 300 acres of new skiing and riding terrain in the Kings Realm area. This is side-county terrain (just outside the groomed slopes) for advanced and expert types with steep chutes, open bowls, gladed tree skiing and stunning views. Access to the new terrain is via resort snowcats; hop on a chairlift at the bottom to return to the top.
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Boreal
Woodward Tahoe, a major training center at Boreal for skiers and snowboarders, is now open daily to anyone 7 years and older. The center, which offers multilevel Olympic trampolines, foam pits, ski/ride ramps and other features, previously was open only for weekly youth camps and to athletes 20 and younger.
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Diamond Peak
This Incline Village resort improved the tree skiing terrain off Crystal Ridge and will debut a new children's terrain area called Pete's Playground. It is aimed at introducing kids safely to off-piste skiing and riding. The resort also hopes to expand its season by increasing its snow-making capacity by 20 percent.
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Dodge Ridge
This season, guests can get instant coverage on breaking news, lift status, trail conditions and events via Facebook and Twitter. Go to the website to sign up for the program. The resort also is expanding its instruction programs to teach kids as young as 2 to ski and as young as 3 to snowboard.
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Donner Ski Ranch
The Donner Pass ski area is building a new day lodge on the back side of the mountain, and if weather conditions permit, they hope to get it open before the crowds come.
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Granlibakken
This West Shore resort's zipline network, which opened last summer, is now open to fall and winter visitors. The complex features bridges and aerial features anchored to about 60 platforms high in the trees. Children as young as 4 can harness up and fly through the pines.
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Heavenly
Heavenly Mountain Resort is turning up the volume on its "Unbuckle at Tamarack" après ski parties this season featuring DJs, drink specials, go-go dancers and the ever-popular Heavenly Angels. The action takes place at the recently constructed Tamarack Lodge located midmountain atop the resort's scenic two-mile long gondola. The LEED-certified lodge houses Bar '9150 with a welcoming décor consisting of rustic chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows and seating for 500 inside and 250 patio seats.

Tamarack Lodge is the centerpiece of over $30 million in recent upgrades to the family friendly Adventure Peak area that includes lift-served tubing lanes, snowbikes and a new kids' adventure zone called Black Bear Hollow.

At the base of the gondola, guests will be greeted by the inviting smells of basil and tomato wafting from the doors of the newly opened BaseCamp Pizza. Vail Resorts has also announced the next generation of its ever-popular EpicMix technology that will allow guests to compare their race results against those of Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn.
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Homewood
This West Shore resort has opened its Burton Learn to Ride Center for adults who want to try snowboarding. Packages include a beginner lift ticket and rental equipment. And the resort announces Homewood Bound Pizza. Order a pizza from the slopes and pick it up at the bottom on your way home.
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Kirkwood
Recently welcomed to the Vail Resorts family, Kirkwood Mountain Resort received a resort wide facelift this off-season that included upgrades to its food and beverage outlets, comfort bars being added to all chairlifts and significant investments in state-of-the-art snow removal equipment. Boasting more than 600 inches of annual snowfall, Kirkwood has purchased a new Howitzer avalauncher intended to get the resort's infamous steeps open on time as well as a Zaugg snow blower, the very same rotary plow used by the California Department of Transportation, to keep parking lots open and accessible during big storms.

Certain to be the tip of the iceberg, these initial upgrades follow last year's $6 million in capital improvements that included a complete renovation to the slope-side rooms of the Mountain Club property along with a new state-of-the-art facility for the resort's Expedition: Kirkwood program. Vail Resorts' Epic Mix platform extends to Kirkwood this season and the resort will serve as one of six stops worldwide for the recently merged Freeride World Tour.
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Mammoth
Direct flights from the Bay Area to Mammoth will start Dec. 19 via United Airlines flying out of San Francisco. A new terrain park called Unbound Playground Progression Park opens for novices who want to learn their terrain tricks in a low-volume setting. Look for a new high-end restaurant called Campo in the base village. And a snowcat (Little Mill) laden with chow will rove the slopes for skiers and riders who want to dine on the snow.
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Mount Rose
Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, in cooperation the with the Nevada Division of Forestry, has continued work on a multi-year forest management project that includes the thinning and removal of diseased, damaged trees with an ultimate goal of a healthier forest. Other off-season projects included the re-alignment of the Little Mule conveyor lift resulting in a friendlier layout for the Rosebuds teaching terrain.

Guests can get a feeling for the resort's bright future by visiting the recently constructed, modernistic Winters Creek Lodge complete with state-of-the-art windspires designed to help power the facility in a more environmentally-friendly fashion. Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe has also partnered with a number of Reno casino properties to offer stay-and-ski packages starting as low as $79.
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Northstar
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this season, Northstar California will be showcasing more than $30 million in capital improvements including the new Promised Land high-speed detachable quad chairlift and the stunning new Zephyr Lodge that offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Crest. This winter will mark the first full season for guests to explore two entirely new runs, additional gladed tree skiing and sign up for guided backcountry tours via snowcat on the advanced terrain found off of Sawtooth Ridge, an area marked for future expansion.

The resort has also partnered with Burton to introduce a new Riglet Park that eases the learning curve for 3- 6 year old snowboarders just getting started, and will once again work with Olympic gold medalist and perennial X Games Champion Shaun White to construct a 22-foot custom Superpipe. The resort will also open Tavern 6330', a slope-side American grill, joining the scores of restaurants and bars in its vibrant mountain village.
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Sierra-at-Tahoe
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has collaborated with Burton Snowboards and LucasFilms LTD to create the one-of-a-kind Burton Star Wars Experience. Complete with chainsaw carvings of Yoda, R2D2, Chewbacca and the adorable Ewoks, it entices kids as young as three years old into snowboarding, combining Burton's tested teaching methodologies with the storylines of the Star Wars saga.

The resort has also upgraded the family-friendly offerings at its Blizzard Mountain snowplay area to include snowcat rides, snowman kits, snowball makers, firepits, s'mores and more. This season backcountry enthusiasts can sign up for guided snowcat tours of the recently incorporated steep and deep terrain found in Huckleberry Canyon.
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Squaw Valley
As part of its five year, $70 million "Renaissance," Squaw Valley will be unveiling two new lifts this season - the high-speed, detachable six-pack "Big Blue Express" and the upgraded "Mountain Meadow" triple chair. The resort has also significantly upgraded its snowmaking systems to improve and more efficiently cover the mountain from top to bottom. A major emphasis has also been placed on improving the flow and feel of the village base area along with upgrading the dining and shopping options.
This season's additions will include a completely remodeled Olympic Plaza Bar celebrating the resort's storied past, the new Parallel Sports offering the convenience of slope-side ski demos and the Ledge Board Shop promising a cool vibe and a welcoming staff.
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Sugar Bowl
The Donner Summit resort agreed to operate the neighboring Royal Gorge cross-county resort (see sidebar story). Sugar Bowl is offering 25 new home sites in the resort's snowbound base village. Funds raised by the lot sales are earmarked to build a fitness and aquatic center at the village base along with a new ski lift. The resort's new interactive website lets guests view various runs, before they take them, from the top on down via film shot by skiers and riders with helmet-mounted cameras.
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