Tamarack Resort opens with snowstorm
BOGUS OPENING COACH, DEER POINT, SHOWCASE
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area opens Saturday with a base of 16 inches and a total of 30. Snowmaking guns have been in service for several weeks to help create additional snow in target zones, Bogus Basin announced Friday.
Coach, Deer Point and Showcase lifts, and the Easy Rider magic carpet, will be open with limited access for skiing and snowboarding, with a terrain park at Stewarts Bowl. Nordic skiing is open on portions of the upper trails, including Redtail, Sapper’s and the Nordic Highway. The tubing hill is not open.
Bogus Basin is opening for weekends only until snowfall allows for more lift and trail openings.
The J.R. Simplot Lodge will have food and beverage services. The Pioneer Lodge will only be open for bathrooms and lockers. Mountain hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing is not being offered at this time, and public transportation to the mountain will not run this weekend.
Because there is limited access, ticket prices are reduced. Click here for details.
Season passes will be accepted for lift access.
The retail and rental shops will be open for any sales and equipment needs; the retail shop has moved inside the J.R. Simplot Lodge. The Ski and Snowboarding School will be open for scheduled lessons as well as walk-in lessons.
SNOWY OPENER AT TAMARACK
Mother Nature celebrated Tamarack Resort’s opening Friday with a steady snow dump — allowing the resort to open more terrain than previously expected and adding to the sense of optimism about the 2016-17 season.
This also is opening weekend at Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, Dollar Mountain, Pomerelle and Anthony Lakes ski areas.
About 40 customers were in line when the Tamarack Express chairlift began accepting riders at 9 a.m.
“This is great for the psyche of skiers across the state,” Tamarack General Manager Brad Larsen said.
Tamarack opened the northern half of its mountain for top-to-bottom skiing Friday. The opening is expected to expand to the south boundary this weekend.
Intermediate run Serenity was groomed from the summit to mid-mountain. Beginner run Waltz was groomed from mid-mountain to the base. On Saturday, the popular intermediate run Showtime will be groomed from top to bottom.
“Expect more fresh snow overnight, so another powder day tomorrow and Sunday,” Larsen said. “Expect new terrain to be open.”
The sudden arrival of fresh snow and the cold temperatures required for snowmaking led to soft, powder-day conditions across most of the mountain. Obstacles such as rocks and vegetation peeking through the snow will be an issue until more snow arrives.
“It takes a couple days to get the snow packed out,” Larsen said while snow fell on him. “Skiers help pack it in. A lot of our trails rely entirely on natural snowfall, so it’s a little bit up to (Mother Nature) when we’re able to fully groom it, but at this rate, it won’t be long.”
BRUNDAGE TO OPEN BEAR CHAIR
Brundage Mountain will add the Bear Chair to its opening day, it announced Friday evening. The Easy Street beginner lift already was planned to be open.
The Bear Chair is a mid-mountain lift that services beginner, intermediate and expert terrain.
“We’re in a unique situation right now because of what you see falling from the sky,” April Whitney, communication director for Brundage, said at about 2:30 p.m. Friday. “We don’t fully know what we’ll have open tomorrow. Easy Street for sure. If this keeps up, we’re in good shape to also open up the Bear Chair. ... We need another 4-6 inches.”
Easy Street skiing is free. Bear Chair tickets are offered at a rate less than the usual all-mountain lift ticket.
The rest of the mountain is getting close to having enough snow to open, too.
“The snow that we have on the mountain came down when it was really cold outside, so it’s really fluffy and it’s just not holding up very well,” Whitney said. “This snow we’re getting right now is stiffer snow. It’s got a little more moisture content and that’s just what we need to be able to get our heavy grooming equipment out there to make the slopes safe for our visitors.
“As soon as we can groom one run down from the top, we’d open that up for people.”
Here’s a rundown of what’s open this weekend — the first big weekend of the snow sports season.
OTHER SKIING AREAS
Bogus Basin: Boise’s nearest ski area will have its beginner slope and limited terrain off the Deer Point and Showcase lifts available this weekend. The ski area will only be open on weekends until more lifts and trails become available.
Brundage Mountain: Brundage will open its Easy Street beginner area and Bear Chair mid-mountain lift starting Saturday.
Sun Valley: The resort opened on a limited basis for Thanksgiving and has been adding terrain since. The Roundhouse Gondola opens Friday and Dollar Mountain and the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain open Saturday. Dollar will have terrain parks, three lifts and six runs. On the Warm Springs side of Baldy, Flying Squirrel, Lower Warm Springs and Lower Picabo will be open.
Tamarack: The Summit Express lift will be open with terrain available from The Spine to the north boundary beginning Friday. Tamarack Express will provide access to Waltz, the most popular beginner trail. The Discovery lift will be open for the beginner area. A terrain park of four to five features will be available, too. Intermediate trail Showtime is expected to open for groomed, top-to-bottom skiing on Saturday. Skiing also will expand to the south boundary over the weekend.
Pomerelle: The ski area near Albion will be open Friday through Sunday. It will close and re-open for daily operation Dec. 16.
Anthony Lakes: The ski area in eastern Oregon will be open Saturday-Sunday, then Dec. 17-Jan. 1.
Gateway Parks: The tubing hill and ski/snowboard park at Eagle Island State Park opens at 4 p.m. Friday. Among the upgrades this year: There is more space for tubing and snowboarding, more lights, more snowguns and larger bathrooms. Plus, Eagle Island State Park has a new entrance from State Street/Highway 44.
Activity Barn: The tubing hill in McCall also will open at 4 p.m. Friday. The first of up to six 800-foot tubing lanes has been completed.
Idaho X-Sports: The Garden Valley tubing hill opens at 11 a.m. Saturday. Four of five lanes will be open. Snowshoe trails also will be available but the cross country skiing and fat bike trails aren’t ready yet.
HOW SNOW IS MADE
Tamarack groomers Robert Swan and Jeremy Leslie worked deep into the night Thursday night/Friday morning to get some runs groomed in time for the ski area’s Friday morning opening.
Mother Nature dropped fresh snow as the groomers did their work, complementing the flakes coming out of the snowguns.
“Every flake is one less I’ve got to make,” Swan said as he drove a snowcat.
I joined Swan and Leslie to see how snow is made and the impact the artificial snow has on a place like Tamarack, which wouldn’t be opening Friday without it. That story will appear in Tuesday’s newspaper (check out some snowcat action in the video below).