Buoyed by talk of El Niño and eternal optimism, the 14 alpine resorts around Lake Tahoe can’t wait to drop the ropes on the 2015-16 season.
Much of the work done over the summer centered on upgrading snowmaking capabilities to be sure that, given cold temperatures, the snow starts piling up as soon as possible.
Here’s a sampling of upgrades that California skiers and riders will see this this season:
Squaw Valley. Popular Siberia Express chair is now a high-speed six-seater, realigning access into the High Camp area. At the base, there are two new winter sports shops and renovated Plaza bar.
Alpine Meadows. Terrain parks were combined and new features added.
Northstar California. The Big Springs Express gondola got a makeover. For advanced skiers and riders, crews cut more glades and opened up more backcountry.
Mt. Rose. Beginners’ Ponderosa chair moved – and renamed Wizard Lift -- to create “family zone” with four new green runs. Rosebuds kids’ facility got expanded, too.
Tahoe Donner. Ending its holdout, the Donner Pass ski and snowboard mountain installed its first snowmaking pipes, pumps and hoses this summer in beginner area.
Sugar Bowl. A new terrain park with features for all abilities will open this season, underneath Mt. Lincoln Express chairlift.
Homewood. Snowcat skiing expands new terrain to the top of Ellis Peak, adding 750 gladed acres with runs up to 2,000 vertical feet.
Diamond Peak. Crews thinned for the health of the forest and thereby created new glade skiing and riding terrain.
Photos: Top -- Look for more glades at Diamond Peak this winter (Diamond Peak/Facebook); Snowmaking has been upgraded at Mt. Rose (Mt. Rose/Facebook)