By the Light of the Moon: Try Nightskiing
by Tammie Thompson
It's cold. It's dark. It's unnatural. Those are the things I've been told about night skiing. And they're true. But don't forget why people go night skiing - and like it! As the day winds down, the shadows appear and peacefulness falls on the mountains. And that's when night skiing takes off.
The lift rises over the crest of the hill just as the sun sinks into the west. It sounds poetically forced, but skiing by sunset has to be experienced in order to fully appreciate the words "alpenglow and purple mountains majesty". Dark shadows cover the peaks, and then slowly disappear. The first star appears in the blackening sky.
Then bam! The ski area lights start to shine and the area begins to take on a fluorescent glow. It's a different alpine world. Skiers and boarders come out of the woodwork, yelling to their friends, groups get lost in the darkness, shadows are illuminated. Welcome to the world of night skiing.
Night skiing is definitely different. Those dedicated fair weather skiers will probably not enjoy it. But there are plenty of reasons to go night skiing. Weekend warriors can get a jump on the weekend and disperse some of that pent-up energy on to the slopes (can you say five hours in a car with a four-year-old and an eight-year-old?). Locals can get out and get some slope time midweek. School kids can hoot and holler in the eerie glow and nobody will tell them to do otherwise. Stargazers can be closer to the sky. Die-hards can ski all day and into the night. And the adventurous spirit in us all can try something new.
The basics: Dress warm; the damp air is very cold. Wear clear goggles or glasses - and be prepared to spend some time inside with hot chocolate. Snow guns not withstanding… you're in for a thrill.
In Tahoe - try Boreal at Donner Summit for some evening fun. If you arrive in the afternoon - you can go on into the night. Squaw Valley also has night skiing and boarding down the Mountain Run and in the terrain park. Follow the groomers down for some fresh corduroy. Tahoe Donner XC has night cross-country skiing and some nightly races.
Many areas across the country have night skiing and boarding. Many have night races - so try your hand at running the gates. Pack a picnic dinner and get the clan out of the house. The kids will love the adventure.. and will sleep great!
donner party hike