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Joe & Sharlene Blenkle

Contributing Editors
Sam Morishima
Louie the Chimp


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Melanie Beus

skiers and boarders

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since October 2006



Warren Miller's "Chasing Shadows"

Updated: Friday
, Feb. 26, 2016


    The March 2016 issue of  Sierra Ski News is now available in PDF format. Click HERE to download/view it. For past issues of Sierra Ski News, go to our issue archive by clicking HERE.



    TAHOE CITY, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2016) - Over thirty years after modern ski music was born with the release of his 1985 vinyl EP, titled “Ski Patrol”, local Tahoe-based snow reporter, entrepreneur and musician Eric T. Brandt, aka: “Eric T.” has released a new single, “I Love KT”.
    The high-energy, hard-rock track was produced as an anthem for the worldwide ski and snowboard community that cherishes and worships the slopes of Squaw Valley’s renowned peak, KT-22. “I wanted to give Squaw Valley and KT-22 their own tune reflecting the incredible and ever-growing tribe of skiers and snowboarders that refer to KT-22 as 'the mothership'.
    "'Every mornin’, it’s always the same. The mothership is callin’ my name’, go the opening lyrics. The song also references the ongoing changes at the resort with lines like ‘as everything changes, it stays the same’ referring to the idea that while there will always be changes, the mountain itself, which is the core attraction, remains intact.”
    A long time Squaw Valley skier, Brandt, former Director of Marketing at the resort, and a local entrepreneur, (he opened the Squaw Valley bungee tower in 1992 and now runs the Squaw Valley Visitor Channel), shares a strong, personal love for the mountain. “It’s really a centerpiece in my life; the people, the mountain, the whole scene is one of a kind,” says Brandt. “I’ve spent the majority of my life here and really do love it!”
    Brandt’s development of ski music began in the early 1980s while working in Malibu, CA. with Surf Punks’ producer Dennis Dragon. “Having roots in Tahoe, I loved skiing, and felt that as surfing has surf music, skiing culture deserved its own genre.” His release of the EP “Ski Patrol” in 1985, and the 2005 reissue CD “Ski Patrol Revisited” featured novelty songs “about the ‘fun, good people, and good times that draw us to the snow.” His efforts led to work with Warren Miller, where he produced the title songs for three of Miller’s classic 1980 films including “Steep & Deep”, as well as a long tenure with guitarist Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles.
    “I Love KT” is available as a digital download on iTunes, Google Music,  Soundcloud, and other online music outlets.

    For additional information, visit



    TRUCKEE, Calif. (Jan. 23, 2016) - The votes are in for USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice contest and Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area ranks among the best cross country ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada.

    After four weeks of voting for Best Cross Country Ski Resort, Tahoe Donner Cross Country finished third behind the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont and American Birkebeiner Trail in Wisconsin. Rankings are based on total number of popular votes received by each resort.
    The initial 20 cross country center nominees in the contest were picked by a panel of experts that included Sadie Bjornsen, Holly Brooks, and Sally Caldwell, all U.S. Olympians and current or former members of the United States Nordic Ski Team.
    “It is great to be recognized as one of the best. Not only were we nominated by a panel of experts that included Olympic skiers, but to finish as the top resort on the west coast is truly an honor,” said Sally Jones, Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area manager. “At Tahoe Donner Cross Country, we pride ourselves on creating a top-notch skiing and guest experience every day. It is rewarding to see those efforts recognized by the voters.”
    Other resorts rounding out the top five include Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Colorado, and SilverStar Mountain Resort in British Columbia.



    OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2016) - Out of the 20 resorts nominated by a panel of pro skiers and snowboarders, USA Today and 10Best announced today that their readers have selected Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows as the winner of the 2016 Readers’ Choice Poll for ‘Best Ski Resort’.
    “Our team is thrilled to be recognized as the USA Today and 10Best Readers’ Choice winner for ‘Best Ski Resort’ and we are overjoyed to share this award with the entire Reno-Tahoe community, which works together to provide an award-worthy experience for our guests,” said Andy Wirth, president and chief executive officer of Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows.

    “Truly, this designation belongs to the community: the people in the businesses of Truckee, Tahoe city, all of North Lake Tahoe and the entire region. We send sincere thanks to our loyal guests for their proud support. With more than 24 feet of snow so far this season and more to come, we’ve been able to offer outstanding mountain conditions across the resort’s terrain, plus a variety of activities, special events, and an unparalleled village vibe that combine to offer the best winter resort experience in North America.”
    Recognized around the world as the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, USA Today noted in their description of the resort that it “has only gotten better since then.” In fact, skiers and riders visiting Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows today have access to more than 6,000 skiable acres, 42 lifts and 270 trails that feature over 65 percent of beginner and intermediate terrain, steeps that attract extreme skiers and riders, and 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones – all on one lift ticket.
    For more information about Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, visit



    TRUCKEE, Calif. (Jan. 1, 2016) - Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area will host its first ever Winter Festival on Jan. 24, 2016. All are invited as the Tahoe Donner team introduces participants to the world of Nordic sports and snowshoeing, complete with demonstrations, free equipment demos, discount skiing and live entertainment.
    “Many folks have never tried cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and we want to change that,” said Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area Manager Sally Jones. “Our Winter Festival is a chance for people to give snowsports a try at discounted rates while receiving helpful tips and free lessons to ensure a good, positive introduction to the sport.”
All festival-goers will be treated to:
· Discounted trail passes to explore up to 100 kilometers of terrain for just $10—regularly $30
· Discounted ski or snowshoe rental equipment at $15—regularly $25
· Free lessons and tours
· Free demo day - the latest and greatest in cross country ski, snowshoe and fat bike equipment will be available to try, free of charge
· Live music
· Barbeque
    “It’s our goal to host Winter Festival every year as we continue to reach out to new and returning skiers,” said Jones. “Winter Festival is more than just a day to learn to ski—it’s the complete festival experience with vendors, hearty food and live music, and we hope everyone comes out to enjoy it with us.”
    Winter Festival takes place on Jan. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, located at the new Alder Creek Adventure Center at 15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee, CA. To accommodate parking needs, in addition to offering free parking on site, complimentary shuttle service will be provided from The Lodge Restaurant & Pub and to the Alder Creek Adventure Center between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well. For more information on Winter Festival and Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, including additional events on the way, visit



    SO. LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2015) - Heavenly Mountain Resort announced today that Matt and Kim will headline the Winter Ignite concert in Heavenly Village on Saturday, December 12. The alternative dance duo from Brooklyn, NY has been entertaining crowds with their high-energy performances since forming in 2004. Since their self-titled debut album in 2006, Matt and Kim have produced gold hit “Daylight” and top 30 hits “Let’s Go” and “Get It.”
    “Winter Ignite is taking on a whole new meaning this year, as we kick-off the 60th anniversary of the resort with one of the top-performing duos, Matt and Kim,” said Pete Sonntag, Tahoe region vice president and chief operating officer. “The level of energy Matt and Kim bring to their shows perfectly aligns with the experience our guests have at Heavenly and in South Lake Tahoe.”
    Matt and Kim will rock the Heavenly Village as the culmination of Heavenly’s Winter Ignite, Celebrating 60 Years at Heavenly event series, which spans two weekends, December 4-5 and 11-12 and includes on-mountain activities such as pop-up DJ Cat and Unbuckle après kick-off parties, as well as off-mountain events like the PEEK Nightclub after-party at Harrah’s immediately following the concert, the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, and the Warren Miller Annual Film Premiere.
    Heavenly, which first opened on December 15, 1955, will celebrate 60 years of skiing and snowboarding in Tahoe throughout the 2015-2016 ski and ride season and is slated to open for its 60th season on Friday, November 20. With the West Coast’s largest snowmaking system and an annual snowfall average of more than 350 inches, Heavenly consistently provides quality snow surface conditions for guests.



    SO. LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (Sept. 3, 2015) - Heavenly Mountain Resort debuted a new permanent climbing wall to the public today, just in time for Labor Day Weekend and adding to the resort’s ever-expanding offerings of summer activities, like ropes courses, zip lines and tubing.
    “The rock wall is an integral part of where Heavenly is headed next summer, as we launch Epic Discovery,” said Pete Sonntag, Tahoe region vice president and chief operating officer. “The Tahoe region has some incredible rock climbing areas, and it is great that we are able to pay homage to that. The rock wall will allow guests to try out climbing in a safe, controlled environment and hopefully be inspired to explore the sport more.”
    Inspired by the legendary rock climbing available in the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range, the permanent rock climbing wall, located south of Tamarack Lodge, is 35-feet-tall with 15 defined climbing routes varying in difficulty. The wall utilizes an automatic belay system on each route. A unique feature of the wall is the quick-jump, 35-foot rapid descent that emulates free-falling.
    Heavenly is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. through Monday, September 7, and from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5. Following the Labor Day Holiday, Heavenly will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. through September 27.
    For those looking to gear up in preparation for the ski and ride season, the 29th Annual Heavenly Sports Blizzard Tent Sale at the California Main Lodge offers savings up to 70 percent to skiers and riders on overstock ski and snowboard gear, apparel and accessories with incredible deals for the whole family from top brands like Salomon, Atomic, Burton, Oakley, Lange, Volkl, Patagonia, The North Face and more. Those who purchase an Epic, Tahoe Value or Tahoe Local season pass at the tent sale will receive a $25 voucher to be used with any purchase of $250 or more. The voucher is only valid the day the pass is purchased and may not be combined with any other offer.
    The hours for the Blizzard tent sale are Saturday, September 5, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 6, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; and Monday, September 7, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The California Main Lodge Season Pass Office will also be open during these times.
    Runners looking for an end of summer challenge can participate in the fourth annual Heavenly Mountain Run on Sunday, September 6, at 10:00 a.m., with check-in from 8:00-9:45 a.m. Part of the Tahoe Trail Running Series, the 5.8-mile Heavenly Mountain Run begins at the California Base Lodge and ascends from 6,565 feet to 9,150 feet to finish at Tamarack Lodge at the top of the Gondola. For more race information, visit



    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Following its general session meeting on July 31st in Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has selected Beijing, China as the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. As host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the city of Beijing is very supportive of the Olympic culture and movement. In its first-ever Winter Games, Beijing will utilize new and existing venues to showcase Olympic and Paralympic sports to millions of fans in China and across the world.
    Beijing’s vision for the Games seeks to incorporate winter sports into people’s lives, with the ultimate goal of improving overall fitness and health. Beijing 2022 has offered a regional concept intended to develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China. The Games vision also aims to accelerate the development of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Sport, Culture and Tourism Belt, offering a new impetus for China’s economic growth and sustainable development in Beijing and Hebei Province, where the snow sports competitions would take place.



    BOULDER, Colo. - The world’s leading winter sports film producer, Warren Miller Entertainment (WME) has announced its 66th film will be titled Chasing Shadows.
    Warren Miller Entertainment’s 66th annual winter sports film Chasing Shadows is a celebration of why we commit ourselves every winter to a passion that’s guaranteed to melt away every spring. Warren Miller once said, “A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom,” and this year, we’re chasing storms, snow, lines on the world’s highest peaks and the freedom that they grant us.
    Follow the world’s biggest names in skiing and snowboarding on a breathtaking cinematic journey as they push toward the edge, where the mountain’s shadow cast below leads the way. Watch JT Holmes, Seth Wescott, Caroline Gleich, Steven Nyman, Marcus Caston and more as they pursue turns on the mountains of our dreams: Chamonix, Alaska’s Chugach, the Chilean Andes, Utah’s Wasatch and the mightiest range of them all: the Himalaya.
    Explore what it means to be inspired, and what it is about exotic locations and snow-covered summits that motivate us to keep searching and chasing after more. As skiers and snowboarders we chase a feeling, a memory, a storm, a turn — we’ve been chasing it our whole lives and we’ll keep chasing it a lifetime more.
    The annual Warren Miller Film Tour will kick off in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 16, 2015 and will hit cities across the world this Fall. Explore for more information.


    SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. - Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC today announced it has reached an agreement with the owner of private land located between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows to create a base-to-base gondola connection between the two iconic mountains. The gondola would make it easy for skiers and riders to explore both mountains with a single lift ticket or season pass, without needing to travel between the two by car.
    “For decades, skiers and riders have talked about connecting these two world-class resorts,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC. “Over the last four years, we’ve made significant improvements to enhance the skier experience at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The base-to-base gondola will offer our guests the ability to easily explore and experience the unique attributes of these two mountains via a brand new aerial connection, while simultaneously reducing vehicle traffic between them.”
    The planned gondola connection between the two mountains is due to a partnership between Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell, the owner of the private land dubbed “White Wolf,” located between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The estimated completion date of the project will be subject to Placer County and US Forest Service approvals once applications are submitted.
    “Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows through White Wolf is literally bringing my long-time dream to fruition,” said Troy Caldwell. “I’ve waited years for this to happen, and am pleased to have reached an agreement with Squaw Valley Ski Holdings to allow skiers and riders to easily move between these two incredible mountains.”
    Plans to connect the two mountains have commenced, and include the possibility of the lift to be constructed as a high-speed, detachable gondola that would operate between the base of Squaw Valley and the base of Alpine Meadows, traveling over the KT-22 Peak. There are no plans currently being contemplated to allow skiing or other non-skiing activities along the lift route or on the White Wolf terrain.
    “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Troy, and to have the opportunity to connect these two iconic mountains via gondola,” said Wirth. “This connection represents a huge opportunity to give skiers and snowboarders a way to easily travel between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and seamlessly experience the distinct terrain and unique culture of both mountains.”
    Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell will work with mountain planners at SE Group to design and construct the gondola connection to ensure good stewardship of the high alpine environment whose natural beauty is integral to the overall Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows experience. The planned base-to-base gondola will be carefully designed to minimize the overall footprint and potential visual impacts to the adjacent Granite Chief Wilderness, as well as maintain the scenic beauty of the area.
    To accomplish this, design elements include minimizing the number of lift towers and eliminating the need to construct access roads. The result of these efforts would significantly reduce necessary timber removal and vegetation clearing for construction, and would minimize impacts on watershed, soils and natural resources throughout the planned lift corridor. Recognizing the visual sensitivity of the surrounding area – particularly the adjacent Granite Chief Wilderness, measures will be implemented to minimize the potential for adverse visual impacts from the perspective of design, materials and equipment selection, and operational practices. In addition, it is anticipated that the operation of the gondola will substantially reduce both resort shuttle service and guest vehicular traffic between the two resorts, leading to a reduction in overall vehicular emissions.
    “The plan itself will be executed with incredible care and concern for our environment, and with the intention of taking cars off the road, effectively reducing vehicle travel between the two mountains,” said Michael Gross, director of environmental initiatives for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “Our guests will no longer have to drive from one mountain to the other to choose where they would like to ski. They will have the ability to simply ride a gondola to experience these two iconic, diverse mountains.”

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