‘Tis the season for snow sports

Want to get out of Davis? Members of the community looking to de-stress while cruising down a mountain are in luck. Davis is only a short drive away from multiple ski and mountain resorts.

UC Davis’ own Ski or Snowboard Club (SOS) offers students access to discount cabin trips, lift tickets and transportation to popular ski resorts. SOS has cabin trips every two weeks of winter quarter; the next trip is Jan. 28 to 30 to Alpine Meadows and Homewood.

Tara Lenehan, publicity officer for SOS and senior communication major, is an avid snowboarder who bought the Alpine Meadows/Homewood college season pass for $299.

“One of the best parts of the club are the cabin trips. We get tickets half off and it’s great if you want to go once and don’t want to pay an extreme amount of money. You can go two days instead of just one,” Lenehan said.

And to help students decide which mountain to check out, The Aggie has provided a guide for a few resorts around Davis.

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

2600 Alpine Meadows Rd., Tahoe City

Driving Distance: 126 miles; around 2.5 hours

Adult season pass: $599

Full day lift ticket: $70

According to Lenehan, Alpine Meadows is good for snowboarders, skiers and hikers.

“It’s the overall best mountain to go to. The terrain fits everyone’s ability and it is a little less crowded than Northstar,” Lenehan said.

Max Bausher, senior communication and psychology major and skier, said although Alpine can be busy on the weekends, the powder is good and there are no flat parts. He stated Alpine has a rule, “If you can see it, you can ski it.”

“The staff is really nice, they won’t stop you from hiking up somewhere and skiing over to the next ridge to ski on your own and at your own risk,” Bausher said.

Homewood Mountain Resort

5145 Westlake Blvd., Homewood

Driving Distance: 134 miles; around 2.5 hours

Adult season pass: $399

Adult lift ticket: $49 to $61

Lenehan said riders at Homewood can have good tree runs and explore the backside terrain. Bausher, who owns the Alpine/Homewood pass, said the park and the view of the lake at Homewood is easy for skiers or snowboarders to appreciate.

“It’s a little lower elevation but it’s really pretty because it looks like you’re skiing right into the lake,” Bausher said.

Boreal Mountain Resort

19749 Boreal Ridge Rd., Soda Springs

Driving Distance: 113 miles; around 2 hours

College season pass: $159

College Friday lift ticket: $15

Lenehan said the best part of Boreal is the proximity to Davis and the Friday deal for college students. Bausher stated although Boreal only has a few runs, it is good for beginners.

“It’s very, very small and about 90 percent park. If you want to hone your skills in the park, then you will love Boreal,” Bausher said.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

1501 Kirkwood Meadows Dr., Kirkwood

Driving Distance: 114 miles; around 2.5 hours

College season pass: $169 to $549

Adult lift ticket: $76 to $79

Nick Berdjis, vice president of SOS and a junior international relations and German major, said Kirkwood is better to float over on powder days. Lenehan recommends the mountain for expert skiers.

“Kirkwood is a more difficult mountain and the terrain is really, really steep. On powder days, you can’t see anything on top of the mountain,” Lenehan said.

Bausher said Kirkwood is a hard location to drive to, but it is also less crowded and the snow tends to stay longer and fresher.

Squaw Valley USA

1960 Squaw Valley Rd., Squaw Valley

Driving Distance: 123 miles; around 2.5 hours

College season pass: $369

Adult lift ticket: $88 to $92

Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is one of the largest and pricier resorts. Bausher and Lenehan noted Squaw Valley has a unique ski culture on and off the slopes.

“If you’re an expert skier you can spend your whole life skiing on that mountain and there will always be stuff to do. It’s a cool place,” Bausher said.

“Squaw Valley is beautiful. You can take the gondola up and sit in the hot tub and heated pool. It’s a really nice place to relax, although it is pretty expensive,” Lenehan said.

If you’re in need of people to go skiing or snowboarding with, joining the SOS may be your best option. Doing so gives UC Davis students 15 percent discounts in Ken’s Bike and Ski and Ground Zero Clothing and Boardshop. Renting skis and snowboards at Ken’s Bike and Ski costs about $35 for one day. Lenehan said if riders are going more than three times in a season, they should buy their own gear.

“Skis are pretty expensive and snowboards can cost anywhere from $100 to 700. Boots are around $100. It’s an expensive sport, and that’s why SOS has tried hooking it up with sponsors,” Berdjis said.

Other than the essential boards and waterproof outerwear, Lenehan recommends riders invest in a helmet, gloves with liners, sun-blocking goggles, boots that fit well, a bandana faceguard, sunscreen and ChapStick.

“Sunscreen and ChapStick are both things I learned I can’t live without on a mountain,” Lenehan said.

Both Lenehan and Berdjis recommend SOS as a good way to exercise and meet new people.

“Some people just come on trips to enjoy the snow, even if they don’t ride,” Berdjis said.

For more information and SOS cabin trip recaps, visit the club’s blog page at skiorsnowboardclub.blogspot.com.

GRACE BENEFIELD can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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