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Tighter Restrictions, A Smattering Of Upgrades Highlight Opening Of California Resorts

Squaw-Opening California is open for skiing and riding, albeit with strict restrictions and an early-season ban on lodging. (Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows/Faceebook)

A few improvements have sprung up at California resorts this season but, more importantly, state officials said that ski and snowboard mountains can stay open regardless of which Covid "tier" their county falls under.

A few improvements have sprung up at California resorts this season but, more importantly, state officials said that ski and snowboard mountains can stay open regardless of which Covid "tier" their county falls under.

Masks, social distancing, staying home with symptoms, and more: All standard. But the latest change has been a ban on any overnight stays in 11 counties, including most of the ones that have mountain resorts, and a strong request to restrict "leisure" travel and all travel to within a home county. Ban in effect until Dec. 26.

Of course, in this odd time, things can change. Before anyone packs up the car and heads up the hill, they should check resort websites, social media platforms, and email blasts.

SnoCountry surveyed California resorts about new additions for this season -- aside from Covid-related alterations -- and found a number that we are highlighting below.

At Mammoth Mountain, the much-used Broadway Express from the Main Lodge will be replaced by a high-speed six-seater -- nearly doubling uphill capacity. And, the Canyon Express gets the same replacement to more than double uphill travel. There's more snowmaking on the slopes, and slopeside The Mill gets a half-million-dollar upgrade.

SoCal's popular Big Bear adds a pedestrian boardwalk, with pop-up refreshments, at the base. On the summit, Skyline Taphouse will get a renovation.

Farther north in the Sierra, Squaw Valley's summit Gold Coast Lodge gets a renovation, and the deck at the mid-mountain Chalet at neighboring Alpine Meadows is bigger. More snowmaking at both resorts, too, the much-touted gondola interconnect has happened yet.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe has upped its snow-on-the-hill game with a new water storage tank, more guns, and a winch cat. Also, a new first aid facility opens.

On the shores of Lake Tahoe, Homewood has cut four minutes off the Ellis chairlift ride with improvements to the heavily used lift that runs from mid-mountain to the summit and serves intermediate.

Although Vail Resorts postponed all capital projects at its resorts for this season, Northstar California did manage to add snowmaking and wooden-carved animals to its Kids Adventure Zone.

 

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