North Lake Tahoe Rolls Out Improvements for 2011-2012 Ski Season

As the 2011-2012 ski season approaches, resorts in the Lake Tahoe area are rolling out a variety of improvements.

Last month Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort merged operations and now offer season passes and lift tickets that give skiers and riders access to both mountains- a combined 6,000 acres of ski terrain.

Vail Resorts has sunk $30 million in capital improvements into its newest acquisition, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, which opens for skiing and riding Nov. 18. Improvements include a new 1,440-foot detachable quad chairlift, a new 700-seat on-mountain restaurant atop the Tahoe Zephyr Express Lift and 170 additional acres of side country terrain. Additionally, the resort will debut a 22-foot half pipe designed by two-time Olympic gold medalist and professional snowboarder Shaun White, who has made Northstar his primary training resort. Northstar will also feature EpicMix, Vail’s app that allows guests to share their ski and snowboard experience via social media.

Squaw Valley USA, opening Nov. 23, is undergoing a five-year, $50 million improvements project that will lead to several new family amenities for the resort. New features that will be rolled out over the course of the plan include a new restaurant and bar in the heart of the village, a remodeled Olympic House sundeck, a transformation of the Olympic House into a day lodge and family recreation center and a renovation of the Squaw Kids facility. On the mountain, the resort will add Funitel’s Mountaintop Café and Market along with a ski-in / ski-out coffee shop, as well as new magic carpet lifts, rental gear, progression-based terrain features and a new lesson structure.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, also opening Nov. 23, is debuting a new, free iPhone app that includes weather conditions, web cams, pictures of the day, lift status and road conditions. Mt. Rose has also completed the lower section of the Silver Dollar snowmaking project, which allows early season access to the Slide Bowl portion of the resort.

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort is debuting new demo and rental equipment that takes advantage of new rocker technologies. Additionally, the resort has added the Adventure 55 program. Geared exclusively towards baby boomers, this eight-week program takes place on Tuesdays with the goal of pairing like-minded individuals looking to meet other active-minded members of their age group.

Recommend Granlibakken to clients just learning to ski and Nordic skiers for its intimate beginner ski hill and lift access to cross country skiing. This property, which opens Dec. 16, is debuting the Lighthouse Spa this season, which boasts massage therapy, skincare, manicures and pedicures, body waxing and healing treatments for those beginner bumps and bruises.

Homewood Mountain Resort on the west shore has added the Magnetstick chair lift safety system, which uses an electromagnetic seatback and corresponding magnetic vest worn by the child to keep kids safely in the lift.

The Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort will offer the CORE Daily Pass, a points-based loyalty and rewards program that offers $15 off the all-day rack rate for an annual $19 membership. CORE members earn points every time they ski and ride that can be redeemed for free items across the resort. Season pass holders receive $10 off a friend’s lift ticket.

North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport.