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National Spotlight for Winter 09-10

Lake Tahoe's Affordable, Quality Ski Vacations, Iconic Winter Destination Experience Support Annual No. 1 U.S. Travel Destination Rankings

 

Lake Tahoe, CA & NV (Nov. 19, 2009) - The seven Ski Lake Tahoe resorts confidently enter the 2009-10 winter season thanks to substantial reinvestments in the guest experience and the unparalleled value proposition Lake Tahoe offers as a winter destination: the most affordable, quality ski vacations and unique experience of any U.S. ski destination. The improvements at the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and the surrounding region are representative of Lake Tahoe's West Coast culture and visitor experience that centers around an active-minded, sustainable lifestyle enriched with fun and entertainment, luxury and a welcoming sense of camaraderie.
 
Lake Tahoe remains a top choice among winter destination travelers and in statistics from the last three seasons, Lake Tahoe was praised as the #1 ski and travel destination from travel booking Web sites including TripAdvisor, Orbitz and Travelocity. Entering another season complete with unbeatable ski vacation deals, noteworthy new resort improvements, amenities and activities, an El Niño weather forecast for colossal snowfall, and the customary authentic culture and laid-back lifestyle experience, Lake Tahoe remains a top winter destination yet again this season.
 
Lake Tahoe has a legacy of harboring innovators in sport and its Olympic heritage and the personalities who carry the torch for Lake Tahoe in the Winter Olympic Games and beyond will be celebrated this season. Former and current Olympians and renowned athletes who call Tahoe home push the limits of the sport and gravity in a Lake Tahoe-focused segment in Warren Miller's Dynasty. Additionally, this winter marks the 50th Anniversary of the Winter Olympics being hosted at Lake Tahoe, and season-long celebrations will take place in honor of that heritage.  
 
Lake Tahoe is a truly up-and-coming destination, and in terms of new developments, the investments continue with new eco-friendly hotel and five-star luxury resort lodging options that will open this season from shore-to-shore, while new resort base developments are under construction as part of several of the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts' master development plans. A regional emphasis on pleasing palates has emerged this season with award-winning chefs both opening new restaurants of their own and also enhancing the culinary exploits at individual resorts.
 
The slope side experience at the seven Ski Lake Tahoe resorts this season improves with new ski lifts and terrain, enhanced terrain parks and improved snowmaking capabilities. In addition to these physical improvements, the resorts continue to create new and dynamic programs reflecting trends in the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Learn-to-ride academies with specialized gear and sculpted terrain, unique women-specific programs hosted by industry professionals and even a kids' ski camp emulating what it's like to be in a ski movie have all been developed for the upcoming season. A handful of new attractions join the ranks of one-of-a-kind Lake Tahoe experiences such as cable-car rides to a mid-mountain lagoon, snowcat excursions to gourmet mountaintop dinners, and sunset paddleboat tours and floating après-ski parties on the lake.
 
Lake Tahoe's value proposition is unmatched in comparison to other ski destinations and is more relevant than ever in the current economy. Lake Tahoe offers a savings phenomenon that lures travelers back season after season due to the combination of discount airfares into the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, incredibly low priced rooms at area hotels and casino resorts, affordable local transportation, and generally low priced lift tickets that all enable savings in just about every key aspect of the typical ski vacation. In response to recent economic trends, the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts have created a number of recession-minded offers including the most affordable ski-and-stay packages in the country starting at $69, learn to ski and ride packages at $25 per day and special deals and incentives for kids and families.
 
This season includes a renewed focus on families and kids who will take advantage of the added value and non-stop fun built into every Lake Tahoe vacation. Programs this season include kids ski free and eat free deals, interchangeable lift tickets for parents and special clinics and lessons for families. Resorts have upped the ante with family-minded amenities that ease the experience for parents, like GPS-enabled tracking devices for kids and new ski-in, ski-out beginner terrain. In addition to new beginner terrain, other options include unique kids and teen focused clinics, father-son clinics and expansive new tubing areas.
 
Following is a brief overview of what's new for the 2009-10 season at the seven Ski Lake Tahoe resorts including Alpine Meadows, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and Squaw Valley USA.
 
Alpine Meadows
Adding to its already endless terrain options, Alpine Meadows has announced a new dual lift ticket valid at its partner property, Homewood Mountain Resort, including a complimentary shuttle interconnecting the two mountains. Back by popular demand, guests can sign up online to become members of the Alpine Club with expanded benefits for the 2009-10 season including deals on dining, shopping, demos and rentals, lessons and daily lift tickets as low as $44. Skiers and snowboarders this season will enjoy an entirely new terrain park designed by industry experts that offers progressive elements and a more natural flow. Alpine Meadows is embracing new technologies this season to elevate the guest experience including a new GPS tracking system for families to keep tabs on their kids and hands-free automated turnstiles to expedite lift lines.

Taking gourmet dining to previously unexplored heights, the resort will offer unique dinners courtesy of a customized snowcat ride to the resort's cozy Mid Mountain Chalet encircled by towering Sierra peaks and statuesque pine trees. Guests can enjoy an evening of star gazing, fun with friends, and house made fare including four courses of delicious, creative cuisine.

Alpine Meadows has announced a new women's ski team representing the next era of ski coaching for women, by women. Team R.A.D. (Rippin' Alpine Divas) includes coaching by eight of the country's top female ski instructors who focus on a sensory experience on the slopes and building technical skills. Team R.A.D. coaches were carefully selected so that coaches and students are able to relate to each other outside of skiing. Additionally, Alpine Meadows remains the host mountain of Jamaican Ski Team and 2010 Jamaican Olympic Team athlete, Errol Kerr, as he trains for the upcoming games.

Heavenly Mountain Resort
For winter 2009-10, Heavenly will debut a new four-lane tubing hill accessed by a state-of-the-art magic carpet conveyor. Stretching hundreds of feet up East Peak, the new tubing hill will be a welcome addition to Heavenly's Adventure Peak family recreation are that already includes sledding and ski bikes. In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Heavenly Mountain Resort continued its selective trail enhancement projects that annually identify key trails to be treated. This year, The Pinnacles trails were selected and this area can now be opened earlier and groomed more consistently. In addition, several trails were also widened while entrances were enhanced to provide more convenient access and rocks were removed for a better guest experience.
 
Heavenly's expansive snowmaking and grooming operations were enhanced to continue improving its snow surface. The resort expanded snowmaking onto Stagecoach run, increasing the amount of terrain covered with snowmaking to 70 percent, and Heavenly's new grooming machines will be added to its technologically-advanced snowcats. The resort will also add snowmaking to the new tubing area to provide early-season access for sightseers as well as skiers and snowboarders looking for non-ski activities.
 
In 2008-09, Heavenly's terrain parks won an award from Ski Area Management Magazine for the best use of recycled features. This season, the Terrain Park Crew has created some of the most creative, urban-based recycled jibs at Lake Tahoe, including highway barriers, water drums and corrugated pipes.
 
The Stateline area has undergone major improvements including a new vibrant village, upscale lodging and exquisite restaurants. Re-development has turned the area into a bona fide "double-black-diamond" destination. Over half a billion dollars have led to mountain and village improvements including a gondola, new resort hotels, new lifts, advanced snowmaking and grooming, extensive lodge renovations, a world-class ski school facility, and a family adventure center. And when the sun starts to dip, things really heat up with the non-stop nightlife of Lake Tahoe's South Shore: high-stakes poker tourneys, all-night dance clubs and headline entertainment.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort added two new lifts last season that improved access to its 2,300 acres of legendary terrain. The Lookout Vista lift replaced the hike to the famed chutes of Thunder Saddle along with access to the snowfields and cliff bands of Sunnyside for those headed to the resort's backside. The Covered Wagon lift gains access to the highest point crossed on the historic Mormon Emigrant Trail along with pristine powder stashes on Fawn Ridge and mind-blowing backcountry access. Additionally, the resort installed a new Wonder Carpet lift in the Timber Creek beginner's area designed specifically to ease the learning process for those just taking up the sport. These improvements are the first significant phase in bringing to reality Kirkwood's Mountain Master Development Plan.
 
Kirkwood has invested over $10,000 in new school features to revamp its three terrain park layouts. The resort has recruited a dedicated staff of experienced individuals to maintain the features and invested in snowcats and machinery specifically designed for terrain park applications. In addition to its three terrain parks and halfpipe, Kirkwood will be constructing a dedicated Skier/Boarder X Course open to the public.
 
Expedition: Kirkwood continues to offer California's only resort-based backcountry education program encouraging skiers and snowboarders to explore new boundaries. The Expedition: Kirkwood Three Day Women's Camp returns and is hosted by top-notch professionals including Lynsey Dyer and Heather Paul, featuring complimentary demos, an industry fashion show and daily video analysis included in addition to lift tickets, lessons and lodging.  Expedition: Kirkwood will also add a new amenity for resort guests with its Evening Snowcat Tours that take clients to the top of Red Cliffs to enjoy one of the most spectacular views in the High Sierra complete with appetizers and drinks.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe
Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe has undergone off-season improvements in excess of $4 million, highlighted by the contemporary new Slide Lodge. Replacing the former structure is a modern facility with a contemporary style that is unique in Tahoe. Architects designed the building based on a style becoming popular in Europe which brings the valley architecture into the mountains. The glass façade of the primarily steel and glass lodge will bring the mountain into the space, creating a warm, special feel for what has become coined as the "locals" side of Mt. Rose.
 
Located on the south eastern most edge of the Slide Bowl base area, the positioning of Slide Lodge will lend itself to a more conducive guest area providing improved traffic flow from the slopes, to the lodge, as well as to the loading zone for the Blazing Zephyr lift. A modern kitchen will bring signature food service to the lodge and the cozy bar will relax its patrons and offer panoramic views of the Washoe Valley 4,000 feet below. An impressive outdoor deck will provide expansive seating within an inviting atmosphere for a ski break on those perfect Tahoe days.
 
Other enhancements to Tahoe's Gateway Resort include construction of a grand staircase to improve guest flow between the Main Lodge and the middle parking lot, selected rock blasting, and a new Skier Services building. Early season snowmaking efforts were complemented by three new snow making machines which allowed the resort to open in late October this season. Check out daily lift ticket deals including Two 'fer Tuesdays, Runs n' Roses family packages, Ladies Day Thursdays, the Weekend Xtender and more.

Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort
Situated at mid-mountain at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe will open on Dec. 9, 2009, featuring ski-in, ski-out access, mountain valet services, Manzanita, the resort's signature restaurant created by renowned San Francisco celebrity chef Traci Des Jardins, and a 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center. The year-round destination includes 170 guest rooms, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 25 Ritz-Carlton Club fractional ownership units. The new Highlands Gondola, featuring 8-passenger cabins was erected this summer and will provide a direct connection between the Village at Northstar and The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe. The Bear Paw double lift accessing the resort's beginner teaching area has been replaced and realigned. The new quad chairlift now provides ski-in, ski-out access to and from The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe from the mid-mountain area of Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort and greatly improves access to Northstar Resort's beginner teaching terrain.

Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort's beginner teaching area has been expanded and redesigned to include more of the sculpted smart terrain that helps improve the learning curve for beginning skiers and snowboarders. This increase in terrain (twice the size of the previous teaching area) as well as new ski trails brings the resort's ski trail count to 92 and its total skiable acreage to 3,000 acres. New snowmaking has been added to the beginner teaching area of the mountain, allowing for ski-in, ski-out access from The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, as well as improved early season conditions for the beginner slopes. This adds to Northstar Resort's already extensive snowmaking system. In an effort to improve the efficiency and quality of its snow grooming efforts, the resort has invested in three new grooming machines, including a "Beast," that is designed to reduce the time and fuel needed to maintain the snow surface.
 
New this year, the Burton Snowboard Academy will feature instruction for children under the age of 13. In addition, the Academy will introduce the Northstar Training Lab, a season-long development program that will follow a structured process that supports the foundations, skills and tactics that all riders need to become creative and push the limits of their riding and the sport.

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has taken a direct shot at the price barrier to learning a new sport in a tough economy with a $35 beginner package that includes a limited access lift ticket, rental equipment and a 2½ hour lesson. Friends and families can now spend an entire day on the slopes, learning a new sport, for less than the cost of going out to dinner and a movie. Advanced skiers and snowboarders will appreciate the resort's recognition in the 2010 TransWorld SNOWboarding Resort Guide as the #6 Overall Resort in the nation and the #9 Resort for Parks & Pipe including progressive terrain parks and a Superpipe that serve as the training grounds for 2010 Olympic hopefuls Hannah Teter and Jamie Anderson.

Huckleberry Canyon, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort's double black diamond terrain, continues to be top of mind for expert skiers and riders who will now have a whole new way to experience that terrain this season. Free backcountry tours will take qualified skiers and riders out the five gates every Friday afternoon when conditions allow. The tour will introduce skiers and riders to the terrain, offer advice on various lines, chutes and drops, and give directions on when and where to exit the canyon. Also new this season, an expanded Backcountry and Telemark Center will offer telemark and splitboard rentals, avalanche beacons, probes and shovels and continue to offer telemark lessons. The Backcountry and Telemark Center will give skiers and riders a primer of the skills and knowledge they need to travel through Tahoe's vast winter backcountry terrain.

A new 1,800 square foot deck at the Baja Bar and Grill in West Bowl will keep the best beach party on snow going all winter long. Guests can lounge in the Adirondack chairs, enjoy a fresh Mexican lunch and a cold beer at the picnic tables, or nap in the sun at one of the most popular hangout spots on the mountain. The deck will also enable more live music and events to take place in West Bowl. Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has also commissioned an internationally recognized Lake Tahoe fine artist to do a series of original paintings inspired by skiing, snowboarding and Sierra Resort's relaxed California vibe. The paintings will be created live at the resort during several art and wine pairings.

Squaw Valley USA
New for 2009-10, the High Camp Triple Chairlift improves access to the multiple terrain parks and also to the High Camp area's vast beginner terrain, restaurants, ice skating rink, Lagoon & Spa, and Olympic Museum. Over previous seasons, the Monster Park at Riviera has seen a huge expansion and the new chairlift will become the hub for park riders of all tastes and abilities with access to numerous jump lines and jib features. The new 3-person High Camp Chair is scheduled to operate at night for the first time, giving skiers and riders day and night access to the Ford Belmont Park and the Monster Park and Superpipe.

The recent hiring of a new Executive Chef resulted in a complete overhaul of the on-mountain dining experience and the unveiling of new mid-mountain restaurant, The ARC at Gold Coast, and continues with the renovation of a second Gold Coast restaurant 39˚ North scheduled for completion in December 2009. The newest Gold Coast restaurant remodel is part of more than $5 million in resort improvements that took place in summer 2009. Located at the top terminal of the Funitel, the new restaurants are constructed from 100 percent recycled and locally produced building materials. Adding to the bevy of base area restaurants, the new Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar will open at the base Squaw Valley's world-renowned run KT-22 along with the Cornice Cantina Mexican restaurant going in the Red Dog building.

Squaw Valley USA's 50/60 Anniversary season welcomes new ski and snowboard programs for women, parents and children. Women of Winter on Wednesdays, a discounted full-day clinic open to women skiers and snowboarders, focuses on skiing or riding in current conditions and teaching technique needed to tackle varying terrain on the mountain. The affordable rate of $49 is a pricepoint all women can appreciate.  For maximum savings, books of 5 sessions are available for only $159. Big mountain ski icons Ingrid Backstrom and Jessica Sobolowski will be on hand for Squaw's Just for Women Weekend taking place January 9-10, 2010 including an off-snow, après ski social element. Robb Gaffney's popular ski-the-book clinic is back this winter, and his Squallywood Clinic series is welcoming a new program designed for parents and children to experience together what it is like to be in a ski movie.

In 2009-2010, Squaw Valley is embarking on a season-long celebration to commemorate two milestone anniversaries: the 60th Anniversary of the resort's founding and the 50th Anniversary of the 1960 Olympics. One of the great moments in California history, the 1960 Winter Olympic Games brought international acclaim to the Lake Tahoe region and sparked interest in winter sports and skiing in California. Thus, the 50th Anniversary of the 1960 Olympics has garnered region-wide support for an official Olympic Heritage Celebration, taking place Jan. 8-17, 2010.
 
No less than 20 events commemorating the 1960 Olympics fill the ten-day Olympic Heritage Celebration, beginning with an Olympic Torch Relay from Sugar Pine Point State Park to Squaw Valley, and an Opening Ceremony complete with fireworks, live music, and a 1960 Olympian Reception. During the celebration, ski enthusiasts can simulate competing on the original 1960 Olympic Men's and Women's Downhill courses with special early access, before the mountain opens to the public. Additionally, guests can take part in "Ski-with-Jonny Moseley" days taking place Nov 21, 2009, December 26-Jan 2, and January 8, 2010 for a tour of Jonny's favorite runs and a chance to ski with Squaw's "Golden Boy" for free. The festivities culminate with a 1960 Olympic Legends Ball at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Olympic Heritage Celebration events are either free to the public or fundraising events to benefit construction of a new Lake Tahoe ski heritage museum.

About Ski Lake Tahoe
Surrounding North America's largest alpine lake, the seven resorts that make up Ski Lake Tahoe are Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and Squaw Valley USA. Lake Tahoe boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, and the region has some of the highest annual snowfall amounts in North America. The seven resorts, all offering unparalleled scenic vistas of panoramic mountain and lake views, are located less than an hour from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For further information and to directly book travel, lodging and transportation for Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and its travel partners, visit www.skilaketahoe.com.

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