The relaxed atmosphere of spring skiing

By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Although several hours of snow time remain on this sun-drenched Sunday afternoon, the biggest challenge for many isn’t carving some nice turns on the hill, it’s finding a seat in the sprawling village at Northstar-at-Tahoe.


On this particular day when the sun is beaming and the snow is turning soft on various runs, many people have departed the mountain for good, deciding to plant themselves in the village where the roller skating looks appealing, the bungee trampoline is a possibility, and grabbing a snack and a beverage definitely resides high atop the priority list.


Krista Rosen, 17, slides into a seat next to her father, Tim. She has just returned from a foray around the village, where the numerous shops, restaurants and entertainment possibilities are eye candy for most teens and adults as well.


“What I like about being up here this time of year is it’s warm and you don’t have to worry about any storms coming in,” said Krista, whose family lives in Temecula, an inland city situated between Los Angeles and San Diego. “You can’t ski all day long, the snow gets sticky, slushy and can be a mess. But it’s still a great time of year to be here.”


Even though a series of snow storms did arrive a few days later during the final week of March and continued into April, spring skiing has definitely arrived and the lifts will run for several more weeks at many resorts while a few (Alpine, Squaw) remain open into May.


For the uninformed, just what does spring skiing represent? It’s definitely time to shed the heavy clothes, lather on the sunscreen, carefully wax the skis or board, and dial down the intensity gauge. Trying to cram 30 runs into one day is no longer the goal for many.


“There is definitely a different vibe this time of year,” said Russ Pecoraro, Heavenly’s director of communications. “A lot of people are more interested in enjoying the weather and being outside sitting in the sun, rather than getting their runs in.”


The Rosen family and some assorted friends number nearly a dozen people who were planning a week’s stay, making Truckee their home base. Alpine, Squaw and Homewood were also on the vacation itinerary after the initial stop at Northstar.


“What I love about Northstar is you can dip into the trees on a lot of runs and still meet up with the rest of your group somewhere further down the trail,” Tim Rosen said. “We come to Truckee every year for a ski vacation. We like Northstar for the skiing and it’s also a great place to hang out after you’re done.”


There are certainly many positives this time of year at Tahoe resorts. Even on weekends the resorts have slowed down considerably. Lift lines? Don’t worry, if there are any, the waits are minimal.


Another benefit – extra sleep. There’s no need to hit the mountain until around 10 most mornings. Once the sun has warmed up many areas, the best corn snow skiing comes between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Most resorts provide music and a fun atmosphere on their sun decks late in the season. One of the preferred spots in the spring is Squaw, where the High Camp area rests at 8,200 feet and features a large hot tub, heated pool and convenient poolside bar. It’s the perfect retreat when the snow gets slushy in the afternoon.


Funky events are also customary in April. Comical pond skimming competitions are staged at Heavenly, Alpine Meadows puts on a popular snow golf tournament, and other offbeat, promotional events also take place.


“This is a great time of year,” said Todd Kinnear of San Diego, who was staying at Northstar with his wife and two small children. “There’s still a fair amount of snow, but it kind of lends itself to relaxing days where you can ski in short sleeves and just hang out and have fun.”


Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at Visit his winter website at




Below is a list of projected closing dates and contact information:

Alpine Meadows: May 16

(530) 583-4232;

Boreal: April 11

(530) 426-3666;

Diamond Peak: April 11

(775) 832-1177;

Heavenly: April 25

(775) 586-7000;

Homewood: April 11

(530) 525-2992;

Kirkwood: April 25

(209) 258-6000;

Mount Rose: April 18

(775) 849-0704;

Northstar-At-Tahoe: April 18

(530) 562-2267;

Sierra-At-Tahoe: April 18

 (530) 659-7453;

Soda Springs: April 11

(530) 426-3901;

Squaw Valley: May 9

(530) 583-6985;

Sugar Bowl: April 25

(530) 426-9000;