Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue World Blog 4.20.09

April 20, 2009
The 2008/09 Winter Skiing and Riding Season has come to an end for most resorts and it ended with Glorious Sunshine and Spring Conditions.  Albeit, there was a fast moving bout with winter on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning that brought some fresh snow, cold temperatures and winds to the mountains.
All in all a pretty decent Winter… not one that would go in the record books but I believe the Snowsports Industry is still healthy in our economic times. 
This past week, I have been winding down the reports and season and my last radio ski report on KTHO AM590 was this past Sunday so it’s great being able to sleep in past 5:30am.  I am also winding down the Après Ski Show aired on KMTN TV 9 & 19 by the end of April.  With this I am concentrating on my Bike the West events and have re-opened online registration for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride set for June 7, 2009, with the recent releasing of spots from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you are interested in participating in this year’s event, please register at  There are a limited number of spots available and online registration will be taken on a first come – first serve basis until Sold Out.
Tuesday evening, during the quick moving blizzard, I attended the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition’s monthly meeting as I am a Charter Member and we finalized the promotion of Bike 2 Work-School & Play Week, coming up May 11-15, 2009.  Please visit to sign up and log your miles for that week and a chance to win prizes and such.  Membership information is also available on their website and they are looking for volunteers as well to help man their Spooner Junction Rest Stop for both America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride and Tour de Tahoe.
I got to the LTSS Chamber’s Mixer at the Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort this past Thursday as it was Media Madness night with most all local media having booths there to promote their products.  I didn’t realize how popular this resort is as the pool was filled with lots of kids and the resort seemed to be busy with owners enjoying spring break / Easter week.  The event was fun and I purchased a few extra raffle tickets and won a round of golf for four at Bijou Golf
On Saturday, I invited all the Crew from KMTN TV to join me on the slopes at Heavenly for a Final Ski/Ride day and “Thank You” for their time and input to KMTN TV.  Owners of KMTN, Michael & Michelle McKinney, South Shore Morning Show Co-Hosts, Bryan and Holly were able to make it. We missed Matt & Jen as they encountered car problems that morning which prohibited them to meet us.  It was a great day with brilliant sunshine and spring conditions.  We met at Stagecoach Lodge and head up to the East Peak Area and took several runs off Dipper and Comet and then headed to the California side to ski both Canyon and Ridge Runs.  Michael decided to dress in shorts for his final day of riding and he regretted it as he felt his legs kept getting pelted by snow and by end of the day also got sunburned.  Not a good idea to expose bare skin in this fashion without using Sunscreen and If one falls in the snow, you also run the risk of getting a raspberry burn as well.  Lots of locals also enjoying the final weekend of Heavenly and everyone just having fun in the sun and on the snow. This was a casual – social day for our group and we just enjoyed skiing, riding and fun chair lift conversations throughout the morning.  By afternoon the snow was softening a little too much and we decided to end the day with top to bottom runs from the top of the Olympic Express to Stagecoach Lodge with cocktails served by everyone’s good buddy bartender, Stu Coffey.
After that, we headed over to the Fox & Hound for more cocktails and some great Pizza to finish the day and the season at Heavenly, before heading to the KMTN Studio to produce my show.
Bike riding season is upon us and hundreds of bicyclists are out and about riding the roadways around Lake Tahoe, on Hwy 89 – Tahoe City to Truckee and in the Carson Valley all along Foothill road and climbing passes.  Mountain Bike trails around the Lake are barely accessible as the snow is starting to melt but the Pine Nuts are in good shape for riding.  Local area Golf Courses are starting to green up and may be opening this week as well.
After today, Kirkwood and Sugarbowl are planning to stay open through Sunday, April 26 and Squaw is planning to stay open through May 10.  Mount Rose is planning to re-open Fridays through Sundays this weekend and possibly one more weekend after that. One other resort, Mammoth Mountain is also looking to stay open into May…
That’s this week’s blog.  Have a great Spring & Summer.  Buckle up and drive safely everywhere you go, Peace & Love – Mahalo.
See you next time,
Curtis Fong
“The Guy From Tahoe”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blue World Blog 4.13.09

April 13, 2009

Well, we got through Easter Weekend and the weather was beautiful with Spring Conditions returning to Slopes after an early – mid week bout with the return of Winter.

I was able to get out and ski Heavenly on Wednesday when they reported, “Dust on Crust”… about 1-2” of fresh snow and I was surprised that the conditions were really good. Mostly Cloudy skies with light snow and gusty winds continued that morning but the light layer of fresh snow and cold temperatures provided great carving conditions on the Machine Groomed runs. I tested the conditions Off Piste and they were still Hard Firm packed snow, so I continued to ski on the Machine Groomed runs and had a great day of cruising.

Kirkwood reported up to a foot of new snow on that day and I decided to head out there on Thursday. I took a warm up run on Chair 5 and the Machine Groomed runs were in great shape. Moved over to Chair 11 and continued to warm up on Buckboard and then Conestoga which were groomed with great corduroy and great carving surfaces. After a few warm up runs I headed up Chair 6 to sample Sentinel Bowl. The wind was blowing pretty good at the top of the lift and helped push me across the traverse to the entrance to Sentinel Bowl. This run is a great run and one of my favorites – wide open and usually one of the higher angle runs that are groomed nightly. It was in great shape and the cut powder in Jim’s Run was also very skiable. I tried to make it to Chair 4 after that on the backside and by the time I rode up Chair 2 to get there, the wind increased and it was closed. Darn! Instead I rode up the Vista T-Bar, which was still running, and there were a number of skiers & riders also lining up to ride the T-Bar. I skied off the top of Boogie Slide down the Thunder Saddle and found my powder turns - 8-12” of powder and was well worth the journey. I took a few more cruisers and called it a day.

Easter Sunday was yet another day to hit the slopes at Heavenly, the beautiful Spring weather returned and the Stagecoach Gang had their traditional Biscuits & Gravy breakfast ready and waiting at 8:30am. Steve Peache, local photographer and videographer, met me there and I was really surprised that the parking lot was not full at 8:30am that morning. Steve assisted me in shooting video for a new opening for my Après Ski Show, which airs on KMTN TV. I helped orchestrate the shots and solicited my Stagecoach friends to be involved as well. After that we headed up the mountain and shot some great carving footage off the Olympic Lift and did several runs and a couple of Stand Up promos. Bob Hasset, operator of Camp Richardson Resort, joined me to ski down a run for the camera.
We moved over to the Dipper Express and decided to ski over to the California side. Ellie’s was groomed top to bottom that day and lots of folks were enjoying the vertical drop and steeper angle pitch off this run that morning. Steve and I decided to shoot in the “Pinnacles” which was formerly call Ski Ways by local Heavenly skiers / riders and was a great place to duck into to on stormy days as the tree skiing in there is one of the best. Heavenly created a wide access and widen out this area and a real run is now established down through this area to which they occasionally groom. Steve invited, Anne, a long time local and Heavenly skier to join in the video shoot. The surface was still a little firm packed when we skied and video’d it but I was surprised on how many trees were in fact removed to create this run. On my way back to the Nevada side, I joined Anne and skied the main throat of Milky Way Bowl and it was good. On my way back on the road, I was doing Mach 10 in a tuck to gain enough speed to get over the hump under the Mott Lift and hit a patch of soft snow and caught an edge and went down. It all happened in an instant. I picked myself up and told myself… “That was Stupid!” Nobody saw me fall so it doesn’t count in my book, except the pain from the fall…

My son met me on the slopes by noon. My daughter was to join us as well, but didn’t make it this Easter. I skied a few more runs with my son as well as with some of the Stagecoach gang, Chris & Meliss Larson, Dennis McMasters and others in the bumps of Little Dipper. I took a few more cruisers with my son and decided to call it a day as the snow was really softening by this time and the skis were grabbing, as I had no fresh wax to apply. We stopped at the World Famous Fox & Hound for an Easter Lunch, which consisted of an order of Teriyaki Wings and a Spinach & Garlic Pizza. Mmmm Good!

Many resorts have called it Quits after Easter Sunday and here’s the line up of those remaining open this week:

Heavenly has closed Boulder Lodge & lift access to the mountain. Stagecoach, the Gondola and Cal Base remains open through Sunday April 19.

Sierra at Tahoe has their backside closed but the Front Side and West bowl is still open. Their last day will be Monday, April 20 with Customer Appreciation Day offering a $20 lift ticket from 9am till 2pm.

Kirkwood has their Back-Side closed this week, could be opened on weekends they have reduced Lift Ticket rates to $47 through their closing date of April 26.

Hope Valley Outdoor Center will be closed Tues-Wed and reopening on Thursday through the April 19, as conditions permit.

Mt. Rose is open daily through April 19 and then weekends after that, conditions permitting.

Northstar at Tahoe, Alpine Meadows and Diamond Peak are scheduled to remain open through April 19.

Donner Ski Ranch open through at least April 19, and possibly longer, conditions permitting.

Sugarbowl is staying open through April 26.

Squaw remains open daily and will usually try to go into May. For the latest, please check the website for updates at

For Bicycling Enthusiasts, on April 20th I will be re-opening online registration for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, coming up on June 7, with some limited spaces available on a first come – First serve basis on Monday, April 20 at 9am until sold out. If you want to ride this will be the only opportunity to register.

Have a Great Week and Be Safe!

Curtis Fong
“The Guy From Tahoe”