It’s Season Pass Season!

With a few more Tahoe ski resorts scheduled to open this weekend (Squaw Valley USA, Mt. Rose, Heavenly, Northstar), and a huge snowstorm on the way, readying winter gear is forefront on everyone’s minds. Tahoe Mountain Sports‘ hard goods manager, Kevin, talks about his favorite accessory of the season.

The piece of gear a skier is most proud of is not his skis, or jacket, or goggles — it’s a season pass.

Think about it: If you’re a passholder, don’t you just love saying “I’m a passholder,” attempting to express your pride, without sounding smug. Well, forget being humble, it doesn’t work, we all sound smug, but so what. We paid (a lot) for the right to express to the world that we are able to cruise the mountain anytime we please, and free of standing in ticket lines. Not to mention, we’ve got another photo that works as a form of ID at the Truckee Wells Fargo branch (a little-known fact that I discovered this summer).

The Selby Family has taken the pride of being passholders one step further. They practice a yearly tradition of painting their faces (usually like animals) and walking from their home at Sky Tavern to Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. They make their way into the pass office, hopping like rabbits, or growling like tigers. To the surprise and often,  to the protest of other passholders, they get their photos taken in these ridiculously awesome costumes. It is an afternoon full of fun and bonding in the most unusual way possible. I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to take part in this tradition for two seasons now.

I must say, that I felt like a complete weirdo when I looked back at myself in the glass, walking toward the lodge wearing a pink and white cat face, but there is a feeling of accomplishment like none other, in knowing that I have somehow beaten the system. The rule lists for pass photos are long. I’ll cite Squaw Valley’s pass photo guidelines:

  • We need to see your face clearly (facing the camera) – suitable for passport, driver’s license, etc.
  • Only the passholder in picture – no husbands, wives, girlfriends, pets, etc.
  • No sunglasses, hats, funny faces, unusual make-up.
  • No prosthetics (noses, fake mustaches, etc.)
  • No props (beer bottles, guns, skis etc.)
  • No black & white photos
  • We can only accept photos with a .jpg file extension (no .jpeg)

Did you see the part that forbids skis in your photo? Painting your face is DEFINITELY out. I think we broke most of these rules, especially with our live cat as prop. This is the stuff memories are made of, and I highly suggest getting yourself known at your local resort, along with your family or friends. The lifties and ticket checkers won’t forget you after they do that first double take.

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