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Ski Incline Is Prepared for an Old West 'Bonanza'

February 07, 1988|FRANK RILEY | Riley is travel columnist for Los Angeles magazine and a regular contributor to this section

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Diamond Peak at Ski Incline is completing the largest expansion of a Lake Tahoe skiing area in more than a decade.

The new Diamond Peak quad chairlift has more than doubled Ski Incline's vertical drop, from 900 to 1,840 feet, adding eight runs and more than 300 acres of skiable terrain; 33% of the runs are for advanced skiers, 49% for intermediates and 18% for beginners.

The Far West Ski Assn.'s Masters Slalom Championships will be held on the new Diamond Peak runs Feb. 20-21.

Heavy Weekend Bookings

The Hyatt Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel and Casino, at Country Club and Lake Shore drives, reports heavy weekend bookings into March. The same is happening at the casino hotels around Crystal Bay, within five minutes of Incline Village.

The number of weekend skiers at Ski Incline is 2,500 to 3,000, compared to 900 to 1,000 last year.

Some 6,000 rooms in hotels, condos and private homes in the area are sharing in what should be one of the busiest winter seasons for the entire Tahoe area, accelerated by the flow of travel to and from the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.

Incline Village has been described by the Nevada Business Journal as the "richest town in Nevada."

Ski Incline is a family destination as well as a challenge for advanced skiers. Economy accommodations are available. The grand homes of the wealthy are part of sightseeing tours around the village.

Used in 'Bonanza' Series

Some of the loveliest homes are along Lakeshore Drive. The old Cartwright home above the village was used in the old "Bonanza" TV series. The summertime golfing fairways have 10 miles of cross-country ski trails in the winter. At the edge of the mountains, the Ponderosa Ranch is a theme park of museums and homes of the Old West.

Lift tickets are priced at $24 for adults and $14 for children and seniors. Two adult tickets and one ticket for a child 12 or younger can be purchased on a $49 special family package. Tickets for additional children in the family are $10 each.

If children are booked with one of the Great Escapes ski packages offered this winter by PSA, they can ski free at Ski Incline.

A package for two adults and one child flying from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe costs $546 for each adult, $419 for the child, including round-trip air fare, seven nights' accommodations, a Hertz rental car, lift tickets for the adults and free skiing for the child. Call toll-free, (800) 223-2929.

The new Child Ski Development Center at Ski Incline is for children ages 3 to 7. The Center, at the base of the resort, has four basic lessons for children: balance and sidestepping, straight runs, beginning wedge, and how to use the beginner's chairlift. The all-day session is $35, including lunch and a progress report for parents. The Nevada Winter Olympics for children is scheduled Feb. 23-26.

655 Skiable Acres

In addition to the new Diamond Peak quad chairlift, Ski Incline has six double lifts serving a total of 655 skiable acres. Snowmaking equipment supplements natural snow on about 40% of the slopes.

The total Ski Incline expansion program projected over the next 10 years includes upgrading of other chairlifts from doubles to quads, a restaurant at the top of Diamond Peak overlooking Lake Tahoe and continual environmental restoration projects.

The expansion and building is controlled and closely monitored by the Tahoe Regional Development Plan. A Hyatt resort near Incline Village is in the planning stages.

The Tahoe Biltmore, Crystal Bay Club and Cal-Neva are other hotel and casino renovations near Incline Village. Cal-Neva is a complete restoration of a facility once owned by Frank Sinatra, with the original hand-carved wooden beam arches still intact.

Two miles from Stateline at the Nevada-California border, Incline Village is about 35 miles from Reno, 135 from Sacramento and 475 miles from Los Angeles. Harrah's and other casino resorts are about a 45-minute drive south of the village.

Lift-Ticket Interchange

Around Lake Tahoe are more than 20 downhill and cross-country resorts, from Squaw Valley USA to Kirkwood. Ski Incline is part of a lift-ticket interchange with seven North Lake Tahoe resorts, including Squaw Valley. The adult downhill pass starts at $81 for three days.

The new interchangeable cross-country pass, believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, costs $36 for three days.

At Hyatt Lake Tahoe Resort and Casino, the two-night weekend package for double accommodations starts at $200, including such extras as two "lucky bucks" for the casino. The renovated Tahoe Biltmore, formerly Nevada Lodge, has a promotional double rate of $39 a night.

For more information and reservations in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay areas, call toll-free (800) GO-TAHOE.

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