Tahoe & Ski News

June 14th, 2016

World Cup Ski Racing Returns to Squaw Valley

Next winter the Tahoe region will be host to something that hasn’t happened here since 1969. That’s right, you guessed it, The Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit is returning to Squaw Valley. You’ll be able to see Olympic champions like Mikaela Shiffrin and be able to cheer on Squaw Valley’s own Julia Mancuso as they compete on the legendary Red Dog run, one of the more challenging and technical courses on the World Cup circuit.


May 27th, 2015

Truckee Donner Land Trust Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The Land Trust is in the throes of a campaign called “Save Donner Climbing.” At the heart of the effort is the acquisition of a parcel on Donner Summit that includes three very popular climbing areas: Black Wall, Peanut Gallery, and Road Cut. Once considered a peculiar counter culture sport, climbing is now mainstream. On a Sunday last August, I counted more climber vehicles parked along Old Hwy. 40 than hiker vehicles at the Lake Mary Trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail; 56 to 47 was the count. The granite faces of Donner Summit are world renowned and have served as a training ground for climbers traveling to Yosemite, Patagonia, and the Himalaya to attempt the world’s largest walls.

The campaign stands to benefit non-climbers as well. A more sustainable trail network that will minimize erosion is being planned. Eventually, trails to Black Wall will link to a new trailhead at Billy Mack Canyon just down Old Hwy. 40. This trailhead will also access the Pacific Crest Trail.

Finish reading the Truckee Donner Land Trust Newsletter


June 09, 2014

Shane Perrin Sets New SUP Still Water Record: 95.6 miles in 24 hours

Photo: Daren Wolf

St. Louis distance paddler Shane Perrin is no stranger to breaking new ground, being the first SUP athlete to complete endurance races including La Ruta Maya, The Texas Water Safari, and the MR340—races typically contested in canoes and kayaks. So, it’s no surprise that Perrin just established a new high water mark for most still water miles paddled in 24 hours: 95.6 miles. The women’s record in this unusual category is 90.7 miles, while no men’s standard had been set. Ben Friberg owns the record for most moving water miles paddle in 24 hours at 238.

Perrin had initially focused his late-spring schedule around an attempt to traverse the waters around California’s eight Channel Islands. But, after further research, he discovered that the US military has bases on two of the islands and, as such, he wouldn’t be able to complete the expedition. So, the 38-year-old paddler made the 24-hour record attempt his sole focus for May.

With a weekend of turbulent weather forecast across the Midwest, Perrin and his support crew arrived at Simpson Lake in St. Louis’s Valley Park—where Perrin conducts classes for SUP St. Louis—at 8:00 on Saturday morning. His support crew chief/resident technology wiz Joe Baisa and crew member Daren Wolf helped Perrin prepare boards for local paddlers taking SUP yoga and fitness sessions in return for sponsoring Perrin in his ‘Live Love SUP’ fundraising effort for the day, which raised $600, to send the campaign total to $1,088 thus far.

Perrin began his first paddle around the 1.2-mile loop at 9:00 am. Prior to launching, Baisa attached a Contour camera on the nose of the board facing Perrin, with a Garmin GPS unit attached a foot behind it. These devices were present to prove to the Guinness Book of World Records that Perrin had indeed paddled the total he would claim at the end of the ultra marathon event.

In the days leading up to the paddle, Perrin cut his finger on a chain saw, leaving a nasty gash. “For some reason I didn’t put on gloves until three hours in,” Perrin said. That decision caused the painful wound to reopen and then, as predicted, the weather didn’t play nice. May is the start of tornado season in Missouri and while thankfully there were no rotating clouds, Perrin did contend with lightning, outbreaks of torrential rain, and wind gusts that produced sizeable whitecaps and chop on the normally placid lake.

Photo: Daren Wolf

“I was at 52.5 miles after 12 hours, and so, [I] was on pace to exceed my target of 100 miles,” Perrin said, “but then, the wind set in and whichever way I turned on my loop, it seemed to follow me to become a headwind.”

After his average pace dropped from more than four miles per hour to just over 2.5 for a couple of hours, the wind suddenly switched again, this time cutting across the side of Perrin’s board. “I couldn’t fight that side wind standing up and had to drop to my knees for a while,” Perrin said. Another mishap occurred when he tried to swap from his medium paddle blade to a smaller one, with increased stroke cadence as the goal. The paddle got caught in Baisa’s jacket at the handover, and Perrin overreached to try and free it, losing his balance and unceremoniously falling into the lake. His smartphone took a bath and was only revived after Baisa put it in a bag of rice (gotta love those low cost fixes!).

Battling wind, dropped paddles, and his increasingly swollen hand, Perrin couldn’t regain the fast pace he had started out at. But, when 24 hours was up he’d still set an admirable mark at 95.6 miles. In addition to treating his hand, Perrin reported that on Monday morning he had to get his foam roller on his back and shoulders, “for at least 30 minutes to be able to walk out the door.”

Never one to rest or recover for long after breaking a new SUP boundary, Perrin will head to the US Virgin Islands next month for a 100-mile paddle. Then, he’ll join Nathan Woods and other paddlers from around the country on the EUG 2 PDX SUP Challenge on August 29, which will see the group glide 164 miles up the Willamette River from Eugene to Portland, Oregon. And, to wrap up his string of strenuous SUP missions this year, Perrin will head to the Netherlands in September for the grueling SUP 11-City Tour. “When they added the ‘non-stop tour’ division to this year’s event, that clinched it for me—I had to go and take on those 135 miles,” Perrin said.

Photo: Daren Wolf -Phil White, SUP Magazine


April 20, 2014

Ski Service Cards Expire April 30th

Well another season is coming to a close. This was a rough one but we managed to get some awesome runs in, in less than an awesome winter, but fun hogs always find a laugh or two and a good stash of snow.

Hope to see you this summer and next winter. Get those skis in to the boys in the shop so we can buff them out and ready for some epic skiing next year, it's our turn!


April 20, 2014

Granite Chief's Outhouse on Donner Summit has arrived!

You can always tell it’s spring when the Granite Chief Outhouse appears in the parking lot at Snowshed Wall on Highway old 40. It’s the 8th year that we have provided a place for climbers, hikers, and cyclists to take care of business without harming the environment of beautiful Donner Summit.

The outhouse is emptied and cleaned once a week all summer long. Sometimes during the peak summer months it may need some added service, let us know if we need an to take an extra dump, so to speak.

Granite Chief is proud to do our part to keep our community clean and beautiful.

Herb Manning



April 18, 2014

New Plumpjack Lodge Preliminary Drawings

Preliminary drawings of the new Plumpjack Lodge were presented to the MAC meeting on April 3rd by the owners of the project. The drawings were for presentation only, no approval was requested or considered.

View Drawings Here.


March 22, 2014

Shreddit Showdown Winners Announced on Truckee Radio 101.5

Herb Manning of Granite Chief and Clem Smith of Blizzard Tecnica talk with Big Bri of 101.5 about the 1st Annual Shreddit Showdown and announced the winners from the Adult and Grom divisions.

"We picked a lousy winter to kick off our first annual ski movie contest and film festival but we were all so impressed with the quality, creativity and the skiing and boarding that our community of skiers submitted to the event. The Shreddit Showdown was awesome and we owe a big fist pump to our partner Eric Bryant of Snowbrains.com for all his technical support, we couldn't have pulled it off without Snowbrains and Eric's expertise. We also want to thank our sponsors, Clem Smith of Blizzard Tecnica, Shannon Carey of Smith Sports, Mike Rosen of K2, and Dan Kelsey of GoPro for all the work they put in and the sweet loot they each put into the prizes." according to Herb.

Clem, Shannon were both blown away at how great the edits were. Our judges were so impressed with all the Shreddit Showdown edit, judging was an extremely difficult task and took a lot of beer and Red Bull to get the job done.

The Shreddit Showdown could not have been produced without the help of many of our Granite Chief Staff. Thank you Jesse Cassidy, Tyler Delumeya, John Darby, Sean Carey, Josh Benge, and Kirby Bresnahan for spreading the word, your facebook posts, and the marketing efforts that made the film festival happen.

And Now Our Winners.

Adult Category:

1st Place . Jonathan Matthew . AK Dreaming
Prize: Blizzard Choice of any Ski from Freeride and Tecnica Cochise Ski Boots plus a Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

2nd Place . Hazen Woolson . Hawt Drowt
Prize: Smith Variance Helmet and Smith IO Goggles plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

3rd Place . Henry Holdsworth . Departure
Prize: K2 Pilchuck Avi Pack plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

People's Choice . Ryan Faye . The Bird
Prize: GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Camera plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

Grom Category:

1st Place . Ryan Lubin . Shred
Prize: Blizzard Jr. Cochise Skis and Tecnica Cochise Ski Boots plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

2nd Place . Kaz Sosnokowski & Noah Gaffney . Shreddit Showdown
Prize: Smith Gage Helmet and Smith IO Goggle plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

3rd Place . Declan Xavier Mark . Declan Shreddit
Prize: K2 Pilchick Pack plus Granite Chief $100 Ski % Boot Service Card

People's Choice . Zach Gaut . Skiing Like a Boss
Prize: GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Camera plus Granite Chief $100 Ski & Boot Service Card

Thank you to all our Shreddit Showdown Edit Makers! Every single entry to the film festival was awesome, sweet, gnar, loved them all. Hope you come back next year and win the Shreddit Showdown.

The winning edits as well as all the finalists can be viewed on our blog. CLICK HERE


March 3, 2014

Ganong gets 1st career podium, now he wants a win

By Jerome Pugmire

With the World Cup season nearly over, Travis Ganong is just getting started.

The American earned the first podium of his career on Friday, finishing only .12 seconds behind co-winners Kjetil Jansrud and Georg Streitberger in a World Cup downhill.

With another downhill scheduled for Saturday, the 25-year-old Ganong is hoping to do even better and emulate some of his more illustrious countrymen.

"Tommy Moe won here and Daron Rahlves won here and hopefully I can bring it back to the U.S. with a win tomorrow," Ganong said. "I'm not burnt out at all. Usually at this time of year people are tired and right now I feel like I'm just starting out the season."

Moe won the gold medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics while Rahlves won back-to-back World Cup downhills in Kvitfjell in March 2000, as well as a super-G in March 2004.

Ganong's previous best result was seventh, but an impressive fifth-place finish in the downhill at the Sochi Olympics was a clear sign of his improving form.

"This is a really big step in my career. I've been slowly building up the last four years on the World Cup tour and this last month or so I've really been finding some speed," he said. "I always told myself I'd get to this point. It's just a matter of time. I've had enough time now racing all these hills and I'm comfortable."

As well as feeling more relaxed, Ganong said he is "stronger and more fit" than he used to be — and he credits that to conditioning coach Toni Beretzki, who trained the Austrian ski team during the days of Hermann Maier and Stephan Eberharter.

"He totally revitalized our conditioning plan and we worked way harder this last summer than we've ever done before," Ganong said. "Now within the season, we're able to lift and ski more, generally do more work and build throughout the season."

Ganong was the eighth skier to start Friday's race. The weather was miserable, with rain and fog making the Olympiabakken slope slushy.

"When I went it was raining and I had to do a goggle wipe halfway down the hill," Ganong said. "But on days like today it's tough you've just got to forget about the weather and just ski. You can't really see anything, so you just have to put your head down."

Still, those conditions reminded him of his childhood, when he would spend hours out in the rain when others stayed indoors.

"I grew up in Lake Tahoe, California, and skiing at Squaw Valley — the same place as Julia Mancuso, Marco Sullivan and Daron Rahlves," he said. "Growing up there you have passion for skiing, it's embedded in our culture. I would even be out there on rainy days like today and just having a great time."

Congratulations Travis, our Tahoe grown World Cup Downhiller!


February 22, 2014

How Did Mikaela Shiffrin Win Gold? Take a look...

After her first run, 18 year old Mikaela led the field by .50 of a second. But Austria's Marlies Schild, (one of Shiffrin's slalom heros), lays down the fastest time of the day on the second run of the women's slalom event to take the lead.

Marlies, a veteran great has won silvers and a bronze in her career and the gold is now within her grasp. Shiffrin needs to ski even faster than her first run. She is fast out of the gate and halfway through the course Mikaela becomes unbalanced and her weight shifted back on her heels. The tails of her skis launch her forward but she is able to recover and skis the next turn on one foot. Will Brandenburg her ski team coach said, "She used a remarkable recovery move and gets right back into rhythm."

Second Run

Mikaela's first run was so fast it literally nullified her earlier error which cost her six-tenths of a second. Her 2 runs combined snatch the gold and beats Schild by a half second.

Click here to finish reading and see how she won.


February 22, 2014

Ski Jumpers Petition Olympic Committee For New Ski Jump Cross Event

by Treas Manning

World Cup Ski Jumpers petition the Olympic Committee to instate a new event to debut at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. The Ski Jump Cross has never been a competition event on the World Cup level. There are however a handful of athletes from a small town in Minnesota that have participated in the event in amateur competition but we were unable to interview them as only family members are allowed in the intensive care unit where the Ski Jump athletes are currently being housed.


February 21, 2014

Emergency Crews Attempt To Rescue Olympic Figure Skater Who Fell Through Ice

by The Onion, A Fine American News Source

SOCHI, RUSSIA- In a race against time, local emergency crews reportedly rush to rescue Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner Wednesday after the Olympian plunged through a hazardous thin patch of ice during her short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace. "Unfortunately she skated way out into the middle of the rink where the ice was weak and it collapsed instantly when she landed her triple axel," said rescue worker Ignativ Barkov, adding that Kostner ignored the sounds of cracking ice while performing an otherwise flawless step sequence and combination spin. "We have to act fast or she will succumb to hypothermia. Granted, a world-class athlete like Kostner can withstand the initial shock for a few minutes, but her thin, sparkly leotard will do little to protect her from the deep and frigid water below the ice." At press time, crews were attempting another dive after initial efforts had only managed to recover a sequined headband and several loose rhinestones.


February 4, 2014

Tahoe Area Athletes Competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics

This year in the XXII Olympic Winter Games, the United States is happy to be represented in Sochi, Russia by some of the nation’s top skiers and riders, who also happen to be Tahoe locals. Starting February 6th, and continuing through February 23rd, we will watch as our athletes try their hardest to maintain our area’s reputation for producing some of our nation’s finest Olympic competitors. We are proud to acknowledge the many incredible local athletes and wish them well on their Olympic endeavor.

Squaw Valley:

Coming from Squaw Valley, we have two world cup ski racers, Julia Mancuso and Travis Ganong, along with snowboard cross specialist, Nate Holland.

Julia Mancuso: Julia Mancuso, now a four-time Olympian, is the headliner of the Squaw group for obvious reasons. In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Mancuso won the gold in the giant slalom and the silver in both downhill and combined in the 2010 Vancouver Games. With a passion for ski racing, Mancuso started World Cup racing at the age of 15, and was titled champion one year later. Mancuso has received three Olympic Medals, making it the most medals ever received by a female American Alpine skier.

During a recent interview Mancuso stated “things are going in the right direction, and I know I have a lot more in me. Training has been going really well and racing is getting better, so I’m getting there just in time for the Olympics.” The Tahoe region has high hopes for Julia Mancuso and is happy to have her as an athlete representing the Lake Tahoe region, especially her home resort, Squaw Valley.

Travis Ganong: Launching his World Cup ski career only a few years ago in 2010, Travis Ganong has quickly become a bright star on the U.S. ski team. This last year, Ganong finished top-20 in all but two of the World Cup downhills, including getting 7th on the Stelvio speed track in Bormio, Italy, making it his career best. One of this season’s best moments came when Ganong took the Super G gold at the U.S. Alpine Championships that were held at Squaw.

Nate Holland: Nate Holland will be competing in his third Olympics this year, and at age 35 Holland is one of the oldest U.S. team members. In the 2006 Winter Olympics Holland finished 14th, and in 2010 he took fourth. As a snowboard cross specialist, Holland has received seven X Games gold medals, and with his all-out personality, he defines the sports chaotic style which he continues to portray in every race.

Marco Sullivan: Raised in Truckee and now residing in Squaw Valley, Sullivan learned to go fast early on in his career, turning him into a world-class competitor and a motivated athlete. In 2008 Sullivan had his first World Cup win, and in 2013 reached his overall best. Marco Sullivan enjoyed a season-opening downhill podium at Lake Louise in Canada, and he finished 14th in the season-long standings.


Coming from Sierra-at-Tahoe we have slopestyle snowboarders, Jamie Anderson and Hannah Teter;and skier Maddie Bowman who we will be watching in this year’s 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jamie Anderson: Make sure to keep an eye out for Jamie Anderson in the Olympic snowboard slopestyle event. When Anderson was only 13 she made her first appearance at the X Games opening her up to the competition. Two years later Anderson took her first bronze medal. Since then, Anderson has built a reputation as the most solid slopestyle rider in the business. Anderson has enormous talent, exceptional style, and of course a big bag full of tricks.

“I feel slopestyle is going to bring a new, fun energy to the Games. There’s a lot of amazing athletes, so it’s hard to say how I’m going to do,” said Anderson, “I can imagine how humbling it’s going to be to just walk through the opening ceremonies in Sochi.”

Hannah Teter: Coming from a family of snowboarders, Teter has always had the support she needed to advance with her snowboarding career. Teter won the Olympic gold in 2006 and the silver in the 2012. Now we are looking forward to see what this halfpipe rider has in store for us this year at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Maddie Bowman: Just recently turning 20 years old, Maddie Bowman is proving to be another rising freestyle skiing star. Bowman used to be part of the Rippers and Sierra-at-Tahoe team programs which are the groups responsible for teaching her how rip as hard as she does today. Last week, Bowman defended her title of being the next big freestyle skiing star as she took first in the Women’s Ski SuperPipe at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado. Make sure to keep your eyes open for Maddie Bowman out on the SuperPipe this month!

Northstar: In this Winter’s Olympic Games, we are also being represented by Northstar’s skier David Wise, as well as snowboarder Chas Guldemond.

David Wise: Skier David Wise happens to be the only skier on the Northstar Pro Team, which features some of the world’s top snowboarders including two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, and also Elena Hight and Eero Attala.

Growing up in Reno, Wise has spent the past decade training at Northstar. Wise credits some of his success, include taking the 2013 FIS World Champion title, to how Northstar’s parks and pipes are built and designed. According to Wise himself, he “was never the most talented kid on the mountain, but was determined to constantly improve. Each season has been a little better than the last one. And here I am.”

Chas Guldemond: Chas Guldemond is a member of the first-ever U.S. Olympic slopestyle team. Snowboarding since 1996, Guldemond started competing only one year later in 1997. By the time 2006 rolled around, Guldemond had turned pro. Guldemond is now in good company training with his teammate Shaun White, who also has trained at Northstar for the past two years.


January 20, 2014

Our Tahoe Community Loses a Son

January 18th we all woke up to the heart breaking news of the passing of Will Rogers.

Will is the 24 year old son of a longtime Tahoe family. His father Hamilton Rogers is one of Granite Chief's oldest friends. Back in 1976 Ham was not only best buds with Herb but was one of Granite Chief's first employees, (though Herb could not afford to pay him).

The years went by and the young ski bums grew into business men and family men. Our friend Ham married beautiful Nina and her son Shawn. A few years later Will was born and barely three years after that Nina announced to the Alpine Meadows Ski School that Will, not yet fully potty trained, was ready for ski lessons.

Left to right: Shawn, Will, Rocket, Ham

Will skied his way through high school and ripped it up on the mountain every chance he got. When ski season ended Will took his athletic abilities to the water, racing Lasers in the Tahoe Race Series and Championships.

After graduating from North Tahoe High, Will headed to Cal Poly and earned his degree in viticulture. At the young age of 23 Will followed his dream and landed a job managing a vineyard in Santa Maria. He earned a reputation as a hard working man of the earth. His friend announced to him after the two had attended the PBR Rodeo in Las Vegas, "Will, we're not cowboys we're plowboys". Will was one of those young men that early on knew what he wanted and had the constitution to pursue it.

The Rogers family home on the West Shore is the place to be; the hang out, BBQs, Thanksgiving dinners for wayward friends of Will and Shawn. The Rogers are the kind of family everyone wants to be a part of. The loss of young Will leaves his family with a broken heart that will never fully mend. But with a lifetime of memories and the stories of Will that pop into conversation a ray of light will ease the pain and bring a smile to all our faces warming our souls.

Rest In Peace young Will Rogers, you are a bright shining star.


January 10, 2014

Lindsey Vonn Will NOT Compete in 2014 Winter Olympics: Another Surgery Scheduled

It's official, Lindsey Vonn will not compete in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Lindsey will undergo her second knee surgery this season and she doesn't forecast skiing on the World Cup until February 2015. That means that she will have been injured and out of the World Cup racing scene for 2 years before she comes back.

I don't pictures Lindsey dominating fully next year on the World Cup. She'll be smarter, take it easy, and get back to her full potential. In 2016, it'll be a different story. If Lindsey can stay healthy, watch out for her in 2016.

People forget that it's not always just an elite athlete's body, it's her mind. Lindsey clearly has a mindset and lifestyle that leave no room for anything but excellence. I expect to see that side of Lindsey shine again, even if her knee is never 100% again.

"I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi. I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete as this level. I'm having surgery soon so that I can be ready for the World Championships at home in Vail next February. On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!"- XO Lindsey


December 16, 2013

Two California Ski Areas Named U.S. Top 10

Two California ski areas make the Forbes.com list of Top Ten U.S. Ski Resorts. Squaw Valley comes in at number 5 and Mammoth Mountain grabs number 7.

Christopher Steiner's in depth analytics and research are interesting and thought provoking. For most California skiers the only kick in the gut is that his list places Squaw Valley just above Vail and Mammoth one spot behind. Come on, Vail? The terrain at Vail does not come close to that of Squaw and Mammoth.

What is it we California skiers say, friends don't let friends ski Vail. First of all when was the last time you saw a Squaw skier wearing fur or walking a miniature poodle sporting a diamond studded collar through the village? Secondly Mammoth is as the name implies, Mammoth an active volcano to boot! So put that in your Manhattan martini glass Mr. Steiner!

Click Here To Read The Article From Forbes.


December 16, 2013

Squaw Valley Eyes Martis Valley's Water.

The Squaw Valley Public Service District has a problem that’s preoccupied it for the past 20 years — all of its water comes from a single source, the aquifer under the Squaw Valley meadow and ski resort east parking lot. This means that in the case of an emergency such as contamination of the aquifer, there is no backup water supply to turn to. In September, the district board approved studying a preferred alternative water supply — the Martis Valley aquifer, more than eight miles away. While the district has decided to take a step back and more fully explore water sources closer to Squaw Valley, the idea of exporting water from a neighboring community is raising some eyebrows.

The question for many locals is the Squaw Valley Development Plan behind reigniting studies for building a 30 million dollar water pipeline from Martis Valley to Squaw Valley.

To Read Moonshine Ink's Full Article, Click here.


December 09, 2013

Squaw Valley hit -17 degrees this morning!

Squaw Valley isn't taking these cold temperatures for granted, instead they're taking advantage of the below freezing temperatures and keeping those snow guns blasting! It looks like we're back in the white this winter season.


November 25, 2013

Squaw Valley Opens This Wednesday!

Squaw Valley will be open for the Thanksgiving holiday. Lifts will be operating starting Wednesday, November 27th at 9am! If you haven't hit the slopes at Northstar or Boreal, head out to Squaw for the first runs of the season.

A recent cold front passing through the area has left about 10 inches of snow on the upper mountain, as well as a lot of cold air making it ideal for snowmaking conditions, so we’re in luck. Hope you’re ready; this ski season will be kicking off in no time!

Don’t have a pass? Buy a Tahoe Super Pass that will give you access to great terrain including Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Sierra at Tahoe. Pass price raises $150 if not purchased before December 1st.”


November 23, 2013

Northstar Wins the Race to Opening Day

Northstar is still the king of snowmaking. The ski resort has announced the mountain will be opening with three lifts and four runs.

Big Springs Gondola 8:00am to 4:00pm
Vista 8:30am to 4:00pm
Arrow 8:30am to 4:00pm

Skid Trail
Upper Lumberjack
Upper Main Street
Lower Main Street

Ticket Prices for Opening Weekend
Adult: $90
Child (5-12): $49
Child (4 & Under): Free
Teen (13-18): $75
Senior (65+): $75

Get out there and go skiing!


August 22, 2013

Tahoe Donner Land Trust Working With The Community

The Royal Gorge property is a 3000 acre piece of land on top of Donner Summit acquired by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, (TDLT), this past December. Royal Gorge was acquired through intensive community fundraising that allowed the TDLT to reach their goal and acquire the land. The land was purchased in order to preserve it for future recreational use in a way that is sustainable to the environment and the economy on Donner Summit. Sustainable recreation is the main goal.

The way the TDLT will reach their goal of sustainable recreation will be influenced by the community. The TDLT is putting on a number of meetings, hikes, and surveys that will allow the community to voice their opinion on how the land will be utilized. The rough plans included new trailheads, trails, interpretive signage, and easy parking for guest. The land will be utilized for recreation but with a lot of focus on the environment as well, such as preserving animal habitats.

The TDLT will make final decision as to what trails will be built. They will be making these decisions based on the community's input. There will be a multiuse trail network with certain trails designed for mountain bikes, hikers, and equestrians. This will limit trail traffic and trail abuse. The way these trails are built is up to us as a community taking the surveys and voicing our opinions. Dogs will be allowed on the property and on the trails. However, there might be certain times of the year in specific areas of the property where dogs will not be allowed because of interference with the breeding pattern of certain animal habitats.

The trails will be built over the next 5 years. There are already rough plans to have trail connectors to the PCT and the Donner Lake Rim Trail. This is an awesome chance to take their survery so that your opinion on how the land will be used is heard. This beautiful area on Donner Summit has so much potential and within the next couple of months the final decision will be made on the specifics of the trails and the design of the network. Be sure to take the survey on royalgorgeoutreach.org and let your opinion influence how the TDLT takes the next step forward to sustainable recreation.


July 20, 2013

Bill Johnson Goes off Life Support

From the start Bill Johnson rocked the ski world and changed the ski industry like no one before him. In 1984, a brash, cocky and unorthodox Bill Johnson became the first American male to win a gold medal in an Olympic alpine skiing event, and led the way for a new generation of skiers. Challenging the social norms of the strict, all business training approach of the Mahre Brothers, the Swiss and the Austrians; Johnson brought a whole new live fast and party hard attitude to the skiing world. After his 1984 gold medal win in Sarajevo, Johnson began a downward spiral that included bankruptcy and a divorce. Most recently this summer Johnson contracted an infection that attacks all of his major organs, he was on life support until just this week when he made a difficult decision to pull the plug.

Born in Los Angeles in 1960, Johnson and his parents soon moved to a small town outside of Portland where he would spend his youth skiing and ski racing. In a sport that was dominated by the rich at that time, Johnson and his parents had a rough go at it, often times sleeping in their car when traveling to race events. Johnson attended the Mission Ridge ski academy at the age of 17 in order to avoid jail time after a run in with the law. This eventually led him to the US Ski Team where he made his World Cup debut in 1983 at St. Anton, Austria. In 1984 Johnson earned a spot on the US Team and headed for the Sarajevo Olympics, at that point he had not even ranked among the top ten racers in the world. Boldly predicting he would take home the gold, Johnson came through and beat out his Swiss competition with an unorthodox style of racing that many had not seen before, and in turn won the first American gold in an alpine skiing event.

Johnson brought a new style to what some would call an uptight stuffy ski industry. With a live fast, go for broke attitude, Johnson ruffled more than his fair share of feathers as skiers after him began to adopt similar attitudes. However his live fast party hard lifestyle had consequences, and it showed after the 1984 Olympics as Johnson fell into a downward spiral that included partying, bankruptcy, and divorce. In 2001 he attempted a comeback in hopes of landing a spot on the US Olympic Team, at 40 years of age this was deemed foolish as many racers retire by 30. His comeback was cut short when he suffered a horrific crash during a training run at the US Alpine Championships. The crash left him in a coma for nearly three weeks; severe damage to the left side of his brain saw him in the constant care of his mother. A series of strokes beginning in 2010 left him even more disabled, with slurred speech and only one functioning hand, his health was badly deteriorating. Last June Johnson contracted an infection that attacks the major organs in his body; he was placed on life support until recently when he made the tough decision to take himself off life support.

Trailer for "Downhill: The Bill Johnson Story" from The Ski Channel on Vimeo.

In 1984 Johnson was a larger than life figure in the skiing world, the first American gold in an alpine skiing event in the Olympics, and an attitude and lifestyle that arguably made skiing relevant to the youth again. Johnsons life is an interesting story and case study into how one person can single handedly polarize the long tradition of a sport like skiing and make it a youthful relevance once again. Since being off life support, As Bill Johnson waits for the end to come, our thoughts are with him and those around him.


June 10, 2013

by Jesse Cassidy

Over the last few years the number of ski blogs on the internet has exploded, giving people more options than ever to get condition updates, ski news, gear reviews, and much more. Some of these blogs have thrived, others have fallen, and there is always a new one popping up to fill the hole left in the market. While the dominant players like Freeskier and Newschoolers continue to hold a monopoly on the market, smaller blogs have made small local success. Recently in the Tahoe area a hole has opened in the market allowing for a new fun and original blog to step up and bring local news and content, that blog is Snowbrains.com

Developed in March by Miles Clark and Eric Bryant, Snowbrains seeks to standout in the already over saturated ski blog market, and thus far they have been pretty successful. A website focused on originality and intelligence; Snowbrains is trying to shy away from the standard ski blog and bring a breath of fresh air to the cookie cutter ski blog industry. With original content, fun stories, and intelligent posts, Snowbrains is defining new boundaries within the industry.

“SnowBrains.com‘s mainstay is original content that consists of intelligent, positive, and community-oriented information written by skiers and riders for skiers and riders.” - Miles Clark

Today anybody with $20 and an internet connection can start a website, leading to many less than desirable ski blogs. This one is different however, with developers who have experience and a staff of writers who ski every day, work in the industry, and know what they are talking about. Miles Clark, CEO and Editor, has been in the industry for a long time, and was most recently the editor in chief at Unofficialnetworks before jumping ship when he didn’t like where the site was headed. Eric Bryant, Developer and Editor, also worked for Unofficialnetworks and knows his way around a computer, as well as a pair of skis. With intelligent and experienced developers and writers, Snowbrains isn’t going to be your run of the mill ski blog.

Based out of Squaw Valley, Snowbrains aims to bring content from Tahoe, Mammoth, Utah, Jackson, Whistler, and Argentina, through a vast number of skiers and riders whom love what they do and have years of experience in the industry. Conditions reports, gear reviews, and thought provoking articles is the aim with the content. With things like “Brain Posts”, a semi-daily feature that brings you news in the science field that is not only interesting but brain awakening. Also branching out from the standard ski blog are the features on biking and surfing with offshoot websites Swellbrains and Cyclebrains. The content is top notch, and certainly fulfills the commitment to an intelligent and original ski blog.

While Tahoe may not need another ski blog, there is certainly room for this one. A site that is thought provoking, original and fun, Snowbrains may just fill that hole left in the market with the perpetual fall of other known blogs. So next time you have a few minutes to kill check it out, you'll be glad you did.


December 29, 2012

Sierra Club Activist Network has weighed in and joined the effort to stop the current development plan proposed by KSL Investment Company, the new owners of Squaw Valley. The plan includes a 122,000 square foot, 10 story indoor water park, a roller coaster at the edge of the Red Dog ski run, re-zoning to accommodate high density residential condominiums. Many of the new structures will be ten stories. To read more on the Sierra Club Activist Network click on the link below.

Sierra Club Activist Network’s View of Planned Development for Squaw Valley


November 1, 2012

OUR CHANGING SKI COMMUNITIES...This is a must watch video.

Any resemblance to KSL and Squaw Valley development is purely coincidental..wink-wink.

October 16, 2012


Tamara McKinney, considered one of the greatest women alpine ski racers to come out of the US, turns 50. Tamara broke trail and opened the gate for future American women ski racers.

At age 16 McKinney competed in her first World Cup race and grabbed a podium finish in slalom. At age 18 she took her first World Cup victory. Her eleven year racing career brought four World Cup season titles; three in giant slalom in 1981 and 1983, and in 1984 a slalom title. Tamara took the Overall World Cup title in 1983 and was the only American female ski racer to hold that honor for 25 years. In her final year of racing she was the World Champion in the Combined Event in 1989.

Retiring at age 26, Tamara McKinney owned 18 WC victories, 45 podiums, and 99 top 10 finishes. She finished 4th in GS at the Winter Olympic games in Sarajevo.

Tamara is still very involved in ski racing, coaching junior ski racing at Squaw Valley USA and an ambassador for American ski racing. Her 15 year old daughter, Francesca is a strong ski racer in her own right.

Happy Birthday Tamara, and thank you for your dedication to ski racing.

October 1, 2012

K2 celebrates 50 years of building skis. How did it all start? The man who didn't want to pay for his kid's skis will tell you all about it. Congratulations K2, you strange start explains a lot.


July 7, 2012

Black Diamond Equipment On a Shopping Spree


As skiers migrate from resort ski areas to backcountry skiing the war heats up between downhill ski manufacturers and companies that traditionally designed and built ski equipment specifically for backcountry use.

Fifteen years ago Granite Chief sold and mounted more downhill resort skis for backcountry use than we did skis from companies like Black Diamond and Karhu. Back then ski construction technology was just better from the big downhill resort manufacturers. That's just the way it was; Salomon, Rossignol, Volkl, had the money to invest in research and development, small niche backcountry manufacturers could not keep up with ski construction and product advancement.

Today with the wave of skiers headed into the backcountry everyone is clamoring to produce state of the art ski equipment to capture the fastest growing segment in the ski industry. This new phenomenon has even given birth to a new language; backside, frontside, and bc. The gap between resort and backcountry skiing is narrowing with a huge cross over among advanced skiers. Midweek hit the resorts, high avalanche dangers, hit the resorts; holidays and weekends, spring conditions, head to the backside.

We're seeing companies like Black Diamond expanding their multi-season offerings by buying up resort equipment manufacturers to broaden their base and gain access to new technology and markets; and vice versa. A few years ago Black Diamond purchased Gregory Mountain Products, (a leader in backpack development), and last month the company acquired Swedish based Poc Sports, a helmet, goggle, body armor design, manufacturing and sales company.

Poc, in recent years has come on strong in the US with ski racers. The question is, will Poc's ski racing focus shift to the backcountry; ski racing has been stagnant in the US while backcountry skiing is gaining momentum. The larger question is how will the industry in general balance product design, appeal, and marketing to the changing world of gravity sports.


March 1, 2012

Eight years ago Josh Dueck's world came crashing down while throwing a backflip that left him a paraplegic. Josh's passion for skiing lived strong, once he regained his strength he took his skiing skills to a sit-ski. This February this amazing athlete achieved his dream of throwing a backflip on his Salomon sit-ski.

January 30, 2012

Rahlves' Banzai Tour


Former U.S. Ski Team member and local big mountain ripper, Daron Rahlves has started a fun, unique ski competition. The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour matches the fastest skiers on snow up in a big mountain race in a skiercross format. The First venue was Estelle Bowl at Alpine Meadows the next will be Kirkwood on the Eagle Bowl February 5-6, and the final stop will be a revival of the venerable Sugar Bowl Silver Belt Banzai on March 12-13. The winner will face off against Mr. Rahlves in a head-to-head, one run race for a $10,000 purse.

January 30, 2011

Drew Hartley and Sarah Williams Win Inaugural Junior Tahoe Freeride Series Alpine Meadows Big Mountain Comp


Granite Chief Athletes Drew Hartley and Sarah Williams both won their age groups at the inaugural Junior Tahoe Freeride Series big mountain skiing competition yesterday. Drew didn’t hesitate as he took an aggressive line with large airs, which he made look smooth and easy. Sarah charged the mountain as she went on to win the Girl’s category in her age group. The conditions went from corn snow to firm as teams from different Tahoe ski areas competed.

The first event on its first stop of the Junior Tahoe Freeride Series was a success, and was organized by Sugar Bowl Big Mountain Team head coach Sean Carey, and Squaw Valley Big Mountain Team head coach Eric DesLauriers. The Three stops on the tour will be Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl on either the Disney Nose or West Palisades February 13th & 14th, and the championships will be held at Squaw Valley on Enchanted Forrest or Cornice II conditions and weather permitting on February 26 & 27.

Drew Hartley is 16 years old and skis for the Sugar Bowl Big Mountain Team. When he’s not skiing Drew enjoys whitewater kayaking, and Downhill Mountain biking at Northstar and locally. Drew has a busy schedule as he plans on skiing all three stops on the Junior Tahoe Freeride Series, while also competing on the Junior Freeskiing Tour (JFT). Drew will hit all five stops on the JFT, Crested Butte, CO, Crystal Mountain, WA, Grand Targhee, WY, Kirkwood, CA, and the Championships at Snowbird, UT. Sarah Williams will compete on all stops of the Junior Tahoe Freeride Series, and elsewhere if she has the time.

January 27, 2011

Buck Thys To Celebrate 80th Birthday Do-Over


Longtime local racer and father to two U.S. Ski Team members, Buck Thys will be celebrating his 81st birthday at his home mountain, Squaw Valley on January 31st. The man in the yellow jacket is considering this an 80th birthday do-over since an early season crash in Colorado sidelined Thys last year.

Thys came to Squaw from Sugar Bowl in 1960 and moved his family to the Olympic Valley full time in the 80’s. Two of Buck’s children went on to be long time U.S. Ski Team members, his daughter Edith a two-time Olympian. Buck started racing on the Masters circuit and quickly became a nationally ranked racer. At almost 81, Buck shows no sign of slowing, and his passion for skiing, ski racing, and strong love of Squaw Valley provide inspiration to many of us. Keep it up Buck!

November 23, 2010

Straight From the Mouth of KSL Capital: Squaw Valley Purchased, Scoop by Mary Bennett



More than $50 million in capital improvements planned for legendary mountain resort

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and DENVER (November 23, 2010)--KSL Capital Partners, LLC announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the shares of The Squaw Valley Development Company, which includes all facets of Squaw Valley USA ski operations, the Village at Squaw Valley and related real estate holdings. The transaction is expected to close prior to year end.

Squaw Valley USA is a world-renowned mountain resort located near Lake Tahoe in Northern California, offering 4,000 acres and 2,850 vertical feet of skiing and riding spanning six peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Squaw Valley was founded in 1949 by Alexander Cushing and successfully hosted the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.

“Squaw Valley and the Cushing family have been synonymous for more than 60 years,” said Nancy W. Cushing, Squaw Valley USA Chairman of the Board. “Alex’s dream was to create a world-class, four-season destination resort in one of the most beautiful places in the world. This transaction will result in the culmination of that dream by providing the necessary resources to ensure Squaw Valley’s continued improvement and success for generations to come.”

KSL is a private equity firm based in Denver dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. KSL’s current and prior investments include some of the premier properties in travel and leisure, including Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, La Costa Resort and Spa, Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Hotel del Coronado, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, the San Francisco Bay Club and its sister clubs, as well as ClubCorp, the world’s largest owner of private golf and business clubs.

KSL’s founders, Eric Resnick and Michael Shannon, also have extensive hands-on experience in the snowsports industry. From 1985 to 1992, Shannon was President of Vail Associates, a predecessor company to Vail Resorts. Resnick held a variety of positions at Vail, including Vice President of Strategic Planning and Treasurer from 1996 through 2000. Both Shannon and Resnick also serve as board members for the United States Ski & Snowboard Team Foundation and the Vail Valley Foundation, and Resnick is on the Organizing Committee of the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.

“Squaw Valley is the birthplace of the modern mountain resort in the United States with a heritage, history, amenities and perhaps most of all, extraordinary terrain that can never be recreated,” said Resnick, KSL’s Managing Director. “With Squaw Valley USA, Alex Cushing made a profound impact on the snowsports industry and we’re honored to build upon the resort’s legacy.” Recently appointed Squaw Valley President and CEO Andy Wirth will continue in his role. Wirth came to Squaw Valley in August 2010 after maintaining executive level positions with Intrawest, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia and Steamboat, Colorado, and has 24 years of experience in the mountain resort and hospitality industry.

“In the short period of time he’s been at Squaw Valley, all of us at KSL recognize that Andy’s extensive experience and leadership has already had a profound and positive impact on the operations. We look forward to working with him to create an even brighter future for Squaw Valley,” said Resnick.

“KSL’s pending acquisition of Squaw Valley is great news for our guests and our dedicated, hardworking team,” stated Wirth. “KSL’s expertise in hospitality, recreation, and guest service will provide the support and resources for Squaw Valley’s talented management team to advance the resort’s enterprise-wide focus on the guest experience. The KSL team has already committed more than $50 million in capital improvements over the next three to five years here at Squaw, clearly supporting their commitment to the mountain and guest experience.”

For the 2010-11 season Squaw Valley has undertaken more than $5 million in capital improvements, including renovation of the famous Olympic House and Gold Coast facilities. These renovations are a part of the company’s comprehensive focus on all facets of the guest’s dining experience. Additionally, in support of the resort’s augmented focus on the quality of the snow surface and trail grooming, the company has also purchased three additional state-of-the-art snow cats, complementing its current fleet of 22 grooming machines. This is part of an intense focus on grooming and snow surface quality that will result in a 25% increase of grooming operations.

“Squaw Valley is renowned for the challenging, if not legendary, lines off KT-22 and the entire mountain. The resort also offers some of the best and most extensive terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders in North America. The company’s commitment to providing even more grooming will help ensure the finest, most enjoyable snow surface possible for our customers who are seeking world class groomed skiing and riding,” stated Wirth.

Squaw Valley USA opened for winter operations on Saturday, November 20th. Through the weekend a strong winter storm brought nearly 6 feet of snow on the mountain with 2 to 3 more feet expected this week.

About Squaw Valley USA

Squaw Valley USA was founded in 1949 and hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, the first televised Olympics. Squaw Valley is one of the largest and most diverse mountain resorts in North America, with incomparable outdoor recreational amenities that attract both local residents and visitors from around the globe. For more information, please visit www.squaw.com

About KSL Capital Partners KSL Capital Partners is a private equity firm dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. KSL Capital Partners has offices in Denver and New York. For more information, please visit www.kslcapital.com.

November 20, 2010

OPENING DAY: Big Dump Unloads 25 Feet of New Snow at Squaw Valley

Twenty-five feet, NOT TRUE, We just want to be the first of the ski season to exaggerate snowfall totals. What we actually woke up to was 18 inches at 6300 feet and you can bet there is at least twice that on the mountain.

This is a cold storm and the snow that is falling is better than anything you'll see in Colorado. Why, because we are going to see 4 plus feet of this stuff by the time this early season monster rolls out.

Squaw is opening with one lift, Exhibition to the mid-station while Northstar stomps on The Big Mountain with 4 lifts turning today. Opening Day Today!

November 8, 2010

Early Season Storm Drops 6" to 8" at Hightest Elevations

If these first two storms are a sign of things to come it looks like we are in for another awesome winter. Yesterday afternoon as the temperatures dropped the rain finally turned to snow, most of the night the white stuff kept coming down.

Squaw Valley reported 2" to 3" inches of wet sticky snow at 6200' with 6" to 8" at 8200'. This is the crazy part...Alpine Meadows reports no new snow as of 9:30am November 8th. Now either the Snow Gods are blessing the Big Mountain or the fine folks at Alpine Meadows forgot to look out the window. On the summit Sugar Bowl reports only 0" to 2" of new snow, and Boreal reports no new snow from this latest storm.

Going out on a limb here, we think that Squaw is the only mountain with accurate early season snow reports. We can also tell you that Granite Chief employees live for snow, so if a flake to hits the ground The Chief will report it...and no we aren't talking the kind of flake that doesn't show up for work on a powder day and scams a lift ticket, we are talking POW, the white stuff, fluff, even cement.

The rains in October and the wet snow received during the night make for a perfect setup for the upcoming ski season. The rain soaks in and causes the ground to freeze and the wet sticky stuff will adhere to the rocks and slopes. Ski area guns were blazing last night and into the morning. With the help of Mother Nature and the hard work of mountain management we just might be skiing by Thanksgiving. We'll keep you posted.

October 26, 2010

Robert Frohlich, author, storyteller, has died from stomach cancer.


Robert Frohlich has lost his battle with cancer and the North Shore community has lost a longtime friend. Fro moved to Squaw Valley in 1977 while working for ABC Sports as an assistant to the producer, since that time he has won numerous awards as a sports writer and columnist. His awards include 1st Place, Best Feature Writer from the Nevada State Press Association and 1st Place, Best Sports column from the National Newspaper Association. He also received the Far West Ski Association’s Bill Berry Award for feature writing. In 2006 the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce awarded Fro with “Outstanding Employee Service”.

Fro also authored the book “Mountain Dreamers: Visionaries of Sierra Nevada Skiing”. In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious ULLR Award by the International Skiing History Association. “Skiing With Style”, his second book, was published in 1999. In 2001 “Mountain Journal” was published for the Intrawest Corporation.

Always active in our local ski community, Fro chaired many committees including Snowfest and the Lake Tahoe nomination committee for the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. Robert Frohlich was a mountain dreamer himself. He believed in the power of community and was taken by the many colorful personalities in it. He did much to keep the history of skiing and the faces of those that contributed to it alive and not forgotten. Steve McKinney, Stan Tomlinson, Wayne Poulsen, Jimmie Huega, to name a few are known to those that came after because Fro with his storytelling would not let them die.

The burden now lies with us to keep our characters and their stories alive for future Lake Tahoe generations of skiers.

It is said that you are not gone until the last person that knew you is gone. Robert Frohlich, better known as Fro, will be with us for years to come.

October 24, 2010

Powerful Fall Storm Hits Lake Tahoe.

The weekend storm that hit Northern California dropped several inches of rain and the season's first measurable snowfall at the highest elevations of the Tahoe Basin. Wind gusts at local ski resorts were clocked at up to 132 mph.

To many locals the Truckee River water levels and the flooding of Squaw Valley Meadow brought back memories of the big floods of January 1997.

Temperatures remain cool and snow is still visible halfway up the Mountain Run of Squaw Valley. Skiing enthusiast take this storm as a sign of things to come.

February 24, 2010

CR Johnson Dies In A Ski Accident at Squaw Valley

We have lost one of the nicest young men in our skiing community.

Pro Skier CR Johnson was killed in a ski accident while skiing with friends at Squaw Valley. The group was skiing the Light Towers when CR crashed and hit a band of rocks.

CR was not only known for his great skiing but also known as one of the most approachable pro skiers in the business. CR was born and raised in Truckee and he and his family have been a part of the Squaw Valley community for two generations. CR’s father, Russ Johnson worked on Squaw’s ski patrol and was an expert avalanche forecaster for nearly 20 years. This is truly sad news and our hearts and thoughts are with CR’s family and friends.

We will update information as it becomes available.

February 12, 2010

Jimmie Heuga Passes Away At the Age of 66

A true champion in every sense of the word.

Jimmie Heuga, a true American hero passed away in a Colorado hospital from complications of a respiratory problems. Jimmie was the first of two Americans to medal in Olympic skiing events. During the 1964 games Heuga took the bronze in the slalom and Billy Kidd took the silver medal. Their Olympic success opened the door for future Winter Olympic athletes.

When Jimmie was ask about his medal performance he told the Denver Post, “There were no expectations. We had no track record. But yeah, I accomplished one of my dreams.”

Jimmie Heuga was a champion in every sense of the word. Shortly after the 1968 Olympics where Heuga placed 8th, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Jimmie took an aggressive stance against the disease with diet and exercise, changing the way people approached the disease. He was determined to help those with this debilitating disease. Jimmie founded the Jimmie Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis. A nonprofit now called Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. The effects of MS eventually confined him to a wheelchair.

”He was the personification of determination and never giving up; he inspired so many people,” Billy Kidd said in a statement from the US Ski Team. “Jimmie’s accomplishments on the race course will forever be remembered. But it’s his accomplishments and drive in the fight against MS that will continue to help so many people live their lives. His life is an inspiration.” Jimmie was born and raised in Tahoe City and was named to the US Ski Team at the age of 15. His father Pete Heuga ran Squaw Valley’s Cable Car for years. Jimmie is survived by his father, his wife and three children from a previous marriage.

February 2010

Local Truckee Radio 101.5 & Granite Chief Report from Vancouver

JD Hoss at the games reporting live!

Keep your radio tuned to 101.5 for the best coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Local radio KTKE and Granite Chief has teamed up to get JD Hoss at the base of Whistler to bring you interviews with athletes, the latest on the medal count, and how our skiers and snowboards are fairing at the games. JD promises to not torture you with figure skating and curling and get right to the heart of winter sports, skiing and snowboarding.

JD has spent the last year putting it all together, raising funding through sponsorship and interviewing our local Olympic gamers getting us insight on their training and personal thoughts on the 2010 Winter Games. Granite Chief is proud to be working with 101.5 and JD. We will be live in the studio talking about the games, the athletes, and their equipment. Over the years The Chief has helped out many local World Cup and Olympic skiers.

Listen up on Truckee’s KTKE radio 101.5 and blog on to www.granitechief.com where can post your commentary with ours.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Nude photo posting of Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Marco Sullivan and Nate Holland will not be tolerated. Nude and raunchy photographs of French athletes are perfectly acceptable.

December 29, 2009

Squaw Valley Ski Corporation Buys The Intrawest Village...Done Deal???

What will it mean for the big mountain?

We’ve been aware that the talks between Intrawest and Squaw started up again in October, but wholly smokes, this time the lid was kept on pretty tight. I’ve had my nose all over the valley trying to sniff out some details and I got nothing.

As many of you know Granite Chief had been cleared to move to a better location in the village, then all of a sudden everything stopped. At first we all thought things with Intrawest had stalled because everyone was working on the Copper Mtn. deal, (Intrawest owned Copper sold to Powder Corp). As it turned out the brakes were put on bringing all future plans for Village merchants to a screeching halt because Squaw Valley Ski Corp reopened negotiations to purchase the Intrawest Village. The word; it’s a done deal. What isn’t clear is when Squaw will take over operations. Some say February but the most recent scuttlebutt points to January.

Well, we all knew it was going to happen, but the big surprise is that the talks hit the table so soon after last spring’s negotiation fell apart.

I think most merchants had a good relationship with the Intrawest team so on one hand we are sorry to see them go. On the other hand we all want to be a part of a growing Squaw Valley. This could be a very good New Year!

November 12, 2009

Surprise Snow Blankets Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe

Skiing by Thanksgiving? It’s looking good!

We were expecting rain all day yesterday, by sunset we had all given up, another storm passed us by…but what a surprise; we woke up to a beautiful blanket of sweet snow. All the trees cover and the upper mountain at Squaw Valley, socked in. Reports are calling for more light snow throughout the day, then mostly cloudy with super cold temperatures. That means the snow guns will be working overtime.

Skiing at Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley by Thanksgiving? Let’s tune up those skis and be ready.

October 24, 2009

Team Day

Manufacturer's Rock Bottom Team Pricing

Local Rep, Kristi Wingard Named Rep of the Year

October 24, 2009

by Talebearing Squawdog

Kristi Wingard flew back home from Norway with an unexpected award. Helly Hansen named the hard working, busy mother of three the Helly Hansen, USA sales rep of the year.

We all know that Kristi and her husband Craig, (Mr. Volkl), are two of the top USA sales reps in the ski business. But what does seem a bit odd is that Helly Hansen just recently has had a big turnover in their US rep force. Kristi is the company’s one and only rep in the US. Good spirited Kristi chuckled at the ribbing she took from her peers in the Tahoe ski industry rep community.

Frankly, Kristi would always win our vote even if the choices were many, but we’re not a Helly dealer; so there you have it, the big prize goes to Kristi Wingard, blowing the competition away, even though her favorite ski shop isn’t one of her accounts. We are your favorite aren’t we, Kristi?

September 30, 2009

A New Sense of Pride & Belonging Within the Squaw Valley Business Community

The announcement that was to come did not come. Squaw Valley Ski Corp did not purchase The Village from Intrawest. In the final hour the deal fell through. Why? We haven’t been able to find that out. Maybe the economy; as we all know many expansion deals have been put on hold, it is a sign of the times. The only thing we are hearing is the talks may resume next year. According to those at Intrawest some good things have come from the long talks and negotiations; a stronger commitment for the two parties to work together. According to Jason Roland, the commercial asset manager for Intrawest,” a strong Squaw Valley means a strong Village and a strong Village means a strong Squaw Valley”. As long as we are partners in the Squaw experience we are committed to working together to make the Valley, its mountain and the businesses within it the best they can be.”

Talking with merchants and restaurants in Squaw there is a new sense of belonging. The changes at Squaw Valley under the direction of Nancy Cushing, Mike Livak, and Joe Walsh of Intrawest have renewed a call for pride and competition with hopes of increasing the skier traffic to the valley. There’s lots of competition out there and our goal is to keep our skiers at Squaw Valley and to make Squaw converts of those that at this point have no particular alliance to a single ski resort.

Squaw has always been a place that provokes a sense of ownership from its customers. It is an odd phenomenon but none the less over the years Squaw and many of the businesses within it have developed what is almost a cult following. There is no other place quite like Squaw Valley.

September 15, 2009

A New Board of Directors Named to Granite Chief Scholarship Fund

The Granite Chief Scholarship Fund was founded by Herb and Treas Manning, the owners of Granite Chief Ski & Mountain Shop. In its third year the Fund has sponsored 10 athletes, supplying each with skis, boots, bindings, helmets and unlimited ski and boot services. GCSF has enlisted the help of ski manufacturers to provide top on the line equipment to those ski competitors that struggle with the financial challenges that many local ski families face.

According to Herb, the applications for sponsorship has made us realize that more is needed to keep our youth involved in skiing. We hope to not only help out with the expense of ski equipment but with the cost of competing. I knew this was big and we need to create a board of directors. The members of our board need to possess a passion for skiing and competing. I was a bit apprehensive at first to approach people like Tamara McKinney, Jimbo Morgan, Jim Dill and Shaun Carey, I know how much of their time they already donate to the community. I was pleasantly surprised at their reaction and eagerness to help.

Jimbo was especially excited that we were helping kids from all disciplines of competitive skiing; racing, park & freestyle and big mountain. “It’s all about mountain winter sports, it doesn’t matter what your gig is, it’s about competition, being the best you can be and passionate about it. It’s about staying involved in skiing.”

Tamara was equally excited at the thought of helping out local families. As a youngster coming up through the ranks to win the Overall World Cup and the mother of a daughter involved in ski racing, she knows firsthand that the financial commitment to competing can be staggering and many of our local talent will never realize their potential due to the cost demands.

Jim Dill, Shaun Cary and Gunner Wolf are also busy individuals that bring their enthusiasm to our board, each offering their own brand of expertise.

We all feel that this is a much needed endeavor. The new Board of Directors walked away from the first meeting with a plethora of ideas and a feeling of purpose.

August 10, 2009

Squaw Valley Names New Senior Vice President and General Manager

Big announcement coming out of Squaw Valley- Ernst Hager is retiring from his full-time duties as general manager of ski corp. He will be acting as an adviser on a consulting basis to ensure a smooth transition for the incoming Mike Livak. Mike will be reporting directly to Chairman and CEO, Nancy Cushing.

The new GM has a long affiliation with Squaw Valley, most recently as a member of the board of directors, and as far back as his youth when he worked as a ski instructor on the mountain. Mike comes equipped with an MBA with an emphasis in finance and marketing. He has also worked in administration, marketing, planning which led to the position of vice-president.

Ernst Hager has a notable career in the ski business as well. Before taking the helm at Squaw he was a U.S. Ski Team coach. Ernst is looking forward to spending time with his family and you can bet we will be seeing him on the mountain as he is an avid skier and a Squaw Valley local.

Congratulations to Mike Livak, we are all looking forward to working with you and to Ernst, see you on the hill.

July 8, 2009

Sierra Rainbow Adds Color To Tahoe City

Those of us that have lived in Tahoe for along time remember The Big Tree in the middle of the road in Tahoe City. The giant served as a landmark in our small town. Everything was just before or just passed The Big Tree. It was a dark day when the dying tree had to be taken down.

Thanks to locals The Big Tree was transformed into a beautiful carving and placed at the head of the stairs to Commons Beach. In June two locally owned businesses brightened up the carving, painting it to highlight the extraordinary work of art. All materials and labor were donated by Sierra Rainbow Painting and Jeremiah’s Tree Service.

The Big Tree lives on thanks to the help of generous, involved locals.

June 26, 2009

Got Beer? Not on the Truckee...

Truckee brew not anymore, or at least not on the Truckee River from July 3rd through July 5th. According to Lt. Allan Carter of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, beer and alcohol of any kind will not be permitted on the raging flat water between Tahoe City and the River Ranch. Bike patrol and raft patrol will be issuing citations to thirsty violators and don’t think you can out paddle our boys in blue, (or are they in green?). According to Lt. Carter, his men are not averse to getting wet. So if you're involved in a high speed raft chase and the guy is wearing a Speedo with a badge pull over, he wants your beer.

June 15, 2009

Lake Tahoe Threatened by Mussel Infestation

The League To Save Lake Tahoe is urging boaters to use only dedicated Tahoe boats on the lake. It seems that boats used in other bodies of water unknowingly transport hitchhikers to the our lake. One of the biggest dangers to Tahoe are mussels, especially zebra and guagga mussels. These guys colonized and reproduce quickly posing serious, maybe irreversible damage to the water and beaches of Lake Tahoe.

If you plan to launch your boat in the lake this summer there are a few things you should know….

1. All boat launching ramps are now staffed by a boat inspector who will examine your boat for evidence of mussels. Boat launches are only open when an inspector is present.

2. Inspection fees range from $10 to $60 depending on the size of your boat. All funds go directly to the inspection program.

3. Inspection seals will be used for the first time. Boats exiting Lake Tahoe will receive a seal between the boat and the trailer such that it must be broken if the boat launches. If this seal is still intact when the boat is next launched in Tahoe, then no additional inspection is necessary.

If you are not launching your boat/board/kayak at an official boat ramp it is important that you take the following precautions…
All watercraft need to be washed thoroughly using a high pressure hose and water heated to 140 degrees. A solution of potassium chloride or a 6% chlorine solution should be used. The craft should be drained and dried.


Shane McConkey 1969 – 2009
Legendary skier, innovator, dies in a BASE jumping accident

Decorated big mountain skier and BASE jumper Shane McConkey was killed in a ski-BASE accident in the Italian Dolomites.

A member of the Red Bull Air Force and pioneer of the ski-BASE-ing phenomenon, McConkey experienced problems when his skis failed to release after launching off a cliff with the expectation of deploying his parachute canopy and then gliding down to the ground—as he had done successfully some 700-plus times before.

A longtime resident of Squaw Valley and a larger than life personality, Shane will be missed by all. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family.

Shane is survived by his wife Sherry, daughter Ayla, and parents Jim and Glenn.

For more information please go to: ESPN Link

MSP Films Link Official statement

February 3, 2009

Avalanche Takes The Life of Squaw Patroller

Andrew Entin, a veteran ski patroller at Squaw Valley has died after being caught in an avalanche. Squaw’s snow safety team was out on the mountain working avalanche control when Andrew was caught in a slide on the Hogback between Headwall and North Bowl. His partner dug him out and emergency crews rushed him to Tahoe Forest hospital where he was stabilized and transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno where he later died

Four plus feet of snow had fallen at the higher elevations over a 24 hour period. New snow on top of wet rainy snow and high winds had closed the upper mountain. We could hear blasting in the morning hours as Squaw’s snow safety team worked the mountain to get the effects of the storm under control.

Squaw Valley is a big mountain and the ski patrol/avalanche crew is a group of tough, experienced mountain men that work in dangerous conditions to make skiing safe for the rest of us. Forty-one year old Andrew was as tough and dedicated as they come. We will miss you Andrew, you have been a friend for many years. Our thoughts are with your family and your comrade patrollers, we will not forget you.

Your friends at Granite Chief,

Herb, Gunner, Darren, Kris, Treas, & Darby

January 12, 2009

Rossignol Ski Company Makes a Break From Quiksilver

The ski industry is in the midst of staggering change. Ski areas being gobbled up by large resort real estate companies and ski manufacturers being taken over by large holding companies. Just when you think things are starting to settle down a new acquisition is announced or in Rossignol’s case a rescue mission was announced.

Rossignol is one of the big names in the industry yet under the Quiksilver corporate umbrella Rossignol struggled to find its identity. Last month a group of investors purchased the company with the intention of putting the Big R at the head of the lift line.

The first thing the new company did was to name Bruno Cercley president and CEO. According to the Northern California sales rep, Jeff Sarlo, everyone in the company is excited to have Bruno at the helm. There is no doubt about the top guy’s position on Rossignol, “We are a snow sports company, skiing is what we do best.”

When Rossignol was at the top of the game Cercley was the president of the privately owned company before being sold to Quiksilver. The company is going back to its roots. With no shareholders to tie the company’s hands Rossignol can react quickly to market trends and changes. The focus will be on technology & product development, along with athlete sponsorship for slopeside feedback and brand recognition.

Bottom line, Bruno Cercley is a skier, he grew up in the Alps, and as he sees it the Big R is a ski company. The rooster lives!

This may not be local news, but it is BIG news to loco skiiers!

By Herb Manning
Owner/Hardgoods Buyer

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