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Resorts invest millions for approaching ski season

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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There’s not a snowflake in sight, but fall’s arrival means Sierra resorts are revving up for ski season. Preparations have been in the works all year for Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar California, where investment in upgrades is well into the millions. Squaw and Alpine have completed nearly $24 million in improvements this year, building on the $15 million from last year, officials said in a press release. The biggest changes are evident in on-mountain amenities, according to Squaw Valley spokeswoman Amelia Richmond. “(They’re in) both the new chairlifts and the snowmaking improvements,” she said. “The other thing we’re looking forward to is at Alpine Meadows where they are going to have Tahoe’s only mile-long terrain park. And we’re really looking forward to improving our terrain parks with the help of snow park technology on both mountains.” Squaw will be unveiling its new high-speed six-passenger chairlift as well as an improved High Camp beginner experience. The new alignment gives skiers access to beginner and intermediate terrain that was previously inaccessible via the old High Camp lift, according to the release. For snow making, a $2.6 million remodel paid for new high-tech air/water guns, replacement of manual fan guns with fully automated versions and installation of state-of-the-art monitoring and control equipment. Visitors will also see changes off the slopes, too, with construction of Parallel Sports Shop and The Ledge Board Shop in the village and remodel of the Plaza Bar. Snow making was also upgraded at Alpine Meadows, where the new terrain park was created by expanding the medium and large parks. Visitors will also find four new beginner boxes, two intermediate boxes and four new snowmaking pipe jibs, the release said. Northstar California, previously known as Northstar at Tahoe, has seen an investment of $30 million in mountain improvements since it was acquired by Vail Resorts Inc. The resort, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary season, has expanded glade skiing and added a new snow cat and more backcountry access. There’s also the new Tavern 6330’. “We’re introducing EpicMix Racing, giving our guests the opportunity to see how they stack up against Lindsey Vonn, the best American ski racer of all time, and kids learning to snowboard will love the new Burton Riglet Park complete with learning progressions and equipment specifically designed to help them improve,” Bill Rock, chief operating officer at Northstar said in a press release. With an El Niño winter on the way, resorts are hoping for a repeat of the last one — in 2010. “It brought some really great snow,” Richmond said. “The snow came in smaller storms and they typically came midweek that year, which made for a really great season for people to get up here and have great powder days and it was easy to access the resorts.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------ Ski resort job fairs Boreal Mountain Resort has scheduled a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Boreal cafeteria. Boreal is shooting for an Oct. 31 opening day, according to the resort’s website. Sugar Bowl’s job fair will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will host a job interview fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Olympic House at Squaw Valley. There will be interviews for a wide range of positions including ski/snowboard school instructors, lift operations, grooming, terrain parks, culinary services, rental services, retail, security, product sales and services and parking. Opportunities include full-time as well as part time positions Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows’ job fair is by invitation only; walk-ins will be permitted but not guaranteed an interview. For more information, visit www.squaw.com/ job-openings or www.skialpine.com/ alpine-employment/ current-openings).