Photo above taken around noon time from Loveland’s chair 1 cam; this is the start for their white ribbon of death that combines parts of the Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run trails. While it is indeed narrow up here, the route widens out nicely. It also tends to have fewer bodies than A-Basin over the hill. So indeed, the Big L is off and running for the season. One of the great underrated ski areas…Tahoe area skiers got a quickening heartbeat with 3″ of fresh natural snow on parts of the region. Combine this with the giant roar they heard out of the northeast last night, and excitement is building indeed. That roar was the guns being unleashed at Mt. Rose NV; they’re aiming to be first-to-open in the region and are talking October 27th. Significant upgrade this season at the Reno’s Rose resort is a new, enclosed dual carpet lift in the beginner area, replacing the single, un-enclosed conveyor. If you surmise from the dualness that it will double the uphill capacity in the beginners section, give yourself a rose star…If you listen to NPR you probably heard that the season forecast is in from the National Weather Service, they’re saying it’s a la whatever and while the Pac NW will get lots of snow — which they’re already getting — east coast is essentially going to get screwed again this year with much warmer than average winter. Let’s hope they’re wrong…speaking of the east, Stratton VT has made it sort of official, they’re scheduling Thanksgiving as opening weekend. Nothing new there…in New York state, work continues on the new gondy at Belleayre, that’s the quirky state-owned ski area in the Catskills that used to vy for early opening honors before ORDA took over. Belleayre has one of the highest base elevations in the northeast, arguably the highest believe it or not…back to Tahoe, double thumbs-up to Sierra-at-Tahoe which is adding the “Smart Terrain” learning concept to its ski school. I’ve seen firsthand how this gives beginners a jump on traditional methods…let’s move to central CA, Bear Valley adding a high speed six pack for the upcoming season, that’s going to be a huge improvement…new chair also at China Peak, a quad. I think it’s fixed grip, but it’s still a big step up for China Peak…down in Southern CA, Snow Valley stepping up their game with a high speed six pack; meanwhile Ski Big Bear is adding two new carpet lifts to its beginner area…let’s move to Utah, where venerable Alta has replaced the old Cecret and Supreme lifts — fixed grip double and triple — with a new high speed quad…neighbor Snowbird has added an enclosed conveyor carpet thingy near its Creekside Lodge; they’re hoping it will encourage beginner Creekside guests to get out a bit more…we mentioned that Loveland is underrated, well in Utah just look up north a bit, Snowbasin might be the most underrated in the nation. For the coming season, big change as Snowbasin has yanked the old Wildcat fixed grip triple and replaced it with a high speed six pack…and we all know that Deer Valley has sold; word is that it will still be two-plank only, at least for this season.