Written by Kendra Wilson
I fell in love with snowskating a little more than a year ago. At the time, I had been snowboarding for boocoo years. I’d ride every single day that I wasn’t working. But, my whole heart wasn’t in it anymore. I’d get up to the mountain, ride a few hours, and then leave after I hit my favorite runs a couple times. Although I loved snowboarding, I was bored with it.
I didn’t even know what a snowskate was the first time it was mentioned to me. But the first time I saw one, I was fixated. All the implications of a “snow-skate” and what it meant to my understanding of riding snow started to come together.
I learned to snowskate in Pat Bonser’s back yard, which is kind of like learning to skateboard at Tony Hawk’s ramp. I was so pumped that I actually ran back up the hill after each drop in. I couldn’t get enough of it.
In the 2010/11 season, I snowskated more than I snowboarded. I was euphoric, I wanted to snowskate all the resorts and backcountry that I had previously only experienced within the confines of my snowboard bindings.
I started with Heavenly Mountain, which is my home mountain. When I snowskate Heavenly, I ride from first chair until they don’t let me on again. There is so much to explore, so many different features, and any terrain you could ask for; it is a snowskating paradise. There are no restrictions on where you can take your snowskate, so whether you want to ride Motts or Killebrew, High Roller or Groove, as long as it’s open, snowskates are welcome.
Donner Ski Ranch hosts the Minus 7 Melee, and they are exceptionally welcoming to snowskaters. There have been days at DSR that there were more snowskaters on the mountain than skiers and snowboarders combined! And, they make the BEST bloody marys.
Sierra at Tahoe is also wide open to snowskaters, and the vibe there is super upbeat and fun. They host the Ralston Cup every year. They’ve got the only super-pipe in the area, a nice boarder-x run, and fun kid’s stuff for the groms.
Kirkwood opened the Banked Slalom competition to snowskaters last season. They are so responsive to customer’s needs and wants that I want to ride there just to support them for that reason, (not to mention they have the most advanced terrain in the Sierras.) Kirkwood restricts snowskates only on Chair 10, but the ever famous Coop has advocated for us in the past and who knows if that restriction will be lifted this season.
Squaw Valley USA doesn’t allow snowskates. In fact, they won’t even let you hike around in July, after the lifts are closed, with a snowskate strapped to your backpack. But, they won’t tell you that until after you waited in line that rivals Disney Land, paid for a tram ride that costs more than a full lift ticket at DSR, crammed yourself into the tram full of screaming babies, stood patiently and listened to the screaming babies for 15 minutes, and assisted a woman with her stroller off the jam-packed tram. But they did refund our money after we had to do it all again backwards(minus the stroller). Thanks Squaw!
Mammoth Mountain will send out a groomer cat to catch you if you try to snowskate a run after the lifts close. They don’t care if you paid for your lift ticket to get sore feet snowboarding all day. The groomer guy told us that snowskates aren’t allowed because “THIS IS A SKI RESORT,” watch out snowboarders, you might be next.
Alpine Meadows doesn’t allow snowskaters either. So, I haven’t even tried to give them any money.
Project Snowskate is an attempt to open up a dialog with the resorts that don’t allow snowskates in order to get things changed and to express how grateful snowskaters are to the resorts that welcome us. I have shared this blog with all of the resorts listed via their Facebook pages.
Let’s see how they react.