Thursday, March 29, 2012

US Resorts extend closing dates

Weather-challenged resorts in the East and West are declaring their commitment to guests by making snow, extending their seasons, or offering free skiing and riding.
As most Eastern ski resorts are closing for the season in the wake of last week’s unprecedented heat, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon Mountain—all managed by Michigan-based Boyne Resorts—are making more snow to carry the season into April. Saddleback, Maine, is doing the same. All turned on the snowguns this morning as temperatures fell into the 20s. This marks the latest snowmaking in history for all four resorts, and for the Boyne resorts, coincides with the spring sale of their 2012–13 New England Pass ($359 and up). Saddleback is making snow on five trails, with tickets priced at $39 today. Passholders from other areas pay $29 if they bring their passes. And on Maine Day, Apr. 1, tickets are $29. Waterville Valley, N.H., didn’t turn on the guns again, but it is offering free skiing and riding Mar. 26-Apr. 1 on the snow it already has. "We've been stockpiling a few feet of snow on our Exhibition trail, so unless it rains boiling water for a week, there will be plenty of free spring skiing and riding to go around", said Bob Fries, president of mountain operations.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows announced on Monday they will extend daily operations through the month of April, with Alpine scheduled to remain open Friday through Sunday through May 13. Squaw and Alpine's 2012-13 season passes will offer free skiing and riding at both resorts starting April 1 through the close of the season. Passes are slated to go on sale on March 27.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village will stay open through Easter Sunday, and possibly the weekend after, conditions permitting, a resort official said Tuesday.
Vail Resorts' Heavenly and Kirkwood are extending their respective winter seasons in the wake of big late-season storms. Heavenly was slated to close April 15. Instead, the resort will shut down during the week, and re-open Friday through Sunday Apr. 20-22 and 27–29, weather and conditions permitting. Kirkwood will follow the same three-day weekend-only schedule, and operate for as long as conditions permit. "We wanted to reward all the pass holders who stood by us this season", said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. New 2012-13 passholders also gain access to the extended portion of the season.
The 16th Annual Spring Loaded festival is underway at Heavenly, with concerts including the Gunbarrel 25 hosted by Glen Plake on April 7, Lake Tahoe Pond Skimming World Championship April 14-15 and the Heavenly Angels Helly Hansen Fashion Show as well as the Ski Patrol Fundraiser on April 14.

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