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Friday, 28 October 2016 16:49

What's New, What's Cool at Tahoe

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TASTE News Service, October 28, 2016 - Coming off one of the longest seasons in recent memory with chairlifts turning for nearly seven months, the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts are ramping up for another snowcapped winter season with ongoing capital improvements, new VIP services/amenities and additional air service topping the list of "what's new" and "what's cool" on the slopes heading into the 2016-17 season.

Perennially voted a "must-ski" destination by trusted travel authorities, Lake Tahoe continues to best other winter destinations in terms of variety, affordability and accessibility.

New for 2016-17, the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts are putting the finishing touches on countless upgrades designed to enhance winter vacations including expanded terrain, extensive base area renovations, new on-mountain amenities and elevated guest experiences. Skiers and snowboarders will appreciate the modern, pedestrian-friendly mountain villages that serve as beehives for family activity and Vegas-style entertainment long after the lifts stop turning. With long-range forecasters calling for above average snowfall for the Northern Sierra this winter, Lake Tahoe resorts are targeting an earlier-than-normal opening in early November.

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport also continues to add convenient air service with additional nonstop flights this winter from New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Long Beach and other major gateway air cities. Having never experienced a closure due to snow, RTIA was recently named one of the "Best Airports for Skiers" by SKI Magazine with more than $27.5 million in renovations providing additional dining/shopping options, expedited baggage handling and a streamlined security process.

The following is an initial overview of new and unique offerings skiers and snowboarders can expect at the individual resorts in Lake Tahoe this season. For further details and additional updates,  visit www.skilaketahoe.com.

Heavenly Mountain Resort is expanding its Ski and Ride School offerings to allow guests to customize their day on the slopes thanks to the new "Design Your Own Experience" private lessons. Guests simply fill out an online form indicating their personal preferences on terrain, style, development and more. For those who want to book a lesson on the fly, Heavenly will also be placing new on-mountain kiosks throughout the resort enabling guests to conveniently reserve a lesson, coach or guide. Heavenly is reimagining the definition of "work hard, play hard" by creating the Tahoe Mountain Lab at Heavenly's Lakeview Lodge, an on-mountain shared workspace for remote professionals who dream of taking a few turns before hopping onto a conference call in their ski and snowboard boots. New this season, the resort will be debuting EpicMix Time™, an expansion of the resort's EpicMix app, which will allow guests to access lift and gondola waiting periods in real time across the entire mountain. Guests can cap off a hard-charging day on the mountain by celebrating at Heavenly's "Unbuckle at Tamarack" daily après parties with new themed weeks planned around holidays such as Mardi Gras, Carnival, Spring Break and more. Visit www.skiheavenly.com for more information.

Homewood Mountain Resort will be welcoming new executive chef Ben Deinken, Jr. to manage the culinary experience at its lakefront West Shore Café and Inn. The West Shore Café will be welcoming guests with entirely new menus, locally-sourced ingredients, a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, hand-crafted cocktails and stunning views of Lake Tahoe. After a full day on the slopes, kids can enjoy complimentary s'mores while Mom and Dad relax with a signature West Shore Toddy. On the slopes, Homewood is excited to bring back its Snowcat Adventures, a full day guided experience to the top of Ellis Peak via the resort's new enclosed snowcat. Reserved for up to ten skiers or snowboarders per day, Homewood's snowcat adventures access over 750 acres of wide open bowls, perfectly spaced trees and private powder stashes with jaw-dropping views and vertical laps of over 1,800 feet. Skiers and snowboarders can also take advantage of Homewood's three-pack lift ticket for only $59 per day with no blackout dates. Visit www.skihomewood.com for complete details.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort will be broadening the premium services offered by its flagship Expedition: Kirkwood instructional program. Designed to expand the boundaries of mountain exploration, Expedition: Kirkwood continues to upgrade its next-level offerings from daily mountain guide service to private snowcat tours. E:K's popular Discovery Series focuses on boosting the confidence and skills of intermediates by exposing them to the unique and challenging terrain found only at Kirkwood. New this season, EpicMix Time™, an expansion of Vail Resorts' award-winning EpicMix app, will also be implemented at Kirkwood allowing guests to spend even more time shredding the resort's legendary terrain by having the ability to access real-time lift line times across the entire mountain. The resort will be partnering with GoPro to host the second annual #KirkwoodDeep Riders Poll Awards on November 12th in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.kirkwood.com.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe has upgraded its pumping capacity to more than double the snowmaking capabilities of nine new Polecat tower-mounted snowmaking machines installed last season. The combination of the resort's high base elevation and its infusion of $500,000 in system improvements has Mt. Rose targeting an earlier-than-normal opening date of October 31, weather and conditions permitting. Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe also invested over $1.2 million last season in on-mountain upgrades and trail improvements geared toward first-timers and beginners including four new trails accessed off the newly named Wizard Chairlift and the opening of the Enchanted Forest Family Zone. Log on to www.mtrose.com for the entire story.

Northstar California offers unparalleled luxury winter vacation experiences for a day, weekend or the entire season with its new Platinum Access program. Amenities include pass access to exclusive lift lines, Primo mountain-guided exploration, a highly elegant daily on-snow celebratory Champagne event, readily-available stowed equipment within Northstar's ski valet, and a member's lounge offering intimate and elevated après relaxation. Bringing added luxury to the slopes for winter 2016-17 is the Tahoe debut of EpicMix Time™ - an expansion of the award-winning ski and snowboard app, EpicMix. The new functionality allows guests access to real-time lift line wait times enabling them to better navigate the mountain and make the most out of their ski and ride experience. Leveraging recently developed technology, EpicMix Time will calculate and display up-to-the-minute chairlift and gondola line wait times across 3,170 acres of skiable terrain at Northstar California. Between laps on perfect corduroy, guests can enjoy heightened culinary experiences this season with the addition of a new Thai food truck at mid-mountain as well as Frites, a cabana located within The Village serving up gourmet fries and craft brews. More information can be found at www.northstarcalifornia.com.

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has expanded its designated beginners zone featuring SMART TERRAIN®, man-made sculpted terrain that rapidly accelerates the learning curve by helping guests gain confidence, balance and control. In response to emerging food trends, Sierra has also revamped its menus at the base area and on-mountain dining locations to source sustainable, healthier food options including locally inspired dishes at the Solstice Eatery. Technology is all about empowerment. Skiing is all about fun. Sierra is merging the two thanks to a new website that will give guests the ability and opportunity to purchase more products, including lessons and rentals, ahead of time online. For those that prefer good old-fashioned face-to-face interactions but still want to purchase lift tickets, lessons and rentals ahead of time, Sierra will also be opening a new remote guest service location at the intersection of Highway 50 and Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe. Surf over to www.sierraattahoe.com for details.

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows will be welcoming the Audi FIS World Cup tour, the world's premier international alpine ski racing competition, to its storied slopes in March for the first time in almost 50 years. As part of $3.6 million in on-mountain capital improvements, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will be the first California ski resort to utilize Gazex Inertia Exploder technology, a remotely controlled avalanche mitigation system that uses propane gas and oxygen to create a concussive blast increasing the efficiency of Ski Patrol in opening terrain. Additional capital improvements include major enhancements to the resort's snowmaking systems and three new grooming cats dedicated to high angle and terrain park grooming. New this season, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will be unveiling a new app powered by SkiLynx offering enhanced functionality including one-touch "group" creation and tracking, chairlift wait times, e-commerce capability to pre-purchase lift tickets directly from the mobile app and a dynamic "Quick Messages" system that auto-populates a user's location into messages for easy communication with friends and family. Further details can be found at www.sierraattahoe.com.

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