Sierra-at-Tahoe is once again running solo instead of its tandem arrangement with Northstar-at-Tahoe as sister resorts under Booth Creek. Sierra, spreading its wings, promptly introduced a series of new Sierra-only season pass products after Northstar became part of Vail Resorts in October.

The resort immediately repositioned itself in the Tahoe market by issuing a statement saying that it was "thrilled to be back to the one-resort operation." Sierra-at-Tahoe is now defining itself as an independent locally operated ski area, divesting itself from, as they put it, "posh villages, over-the-top amenities, and break-the-bank après activities" of Northstar. Sierra, which has no plans for changes in management, is still owned by Booth Creek.

Sierra-at-Tahoe promptly introduced a new line of ski passes for this winter with its newfound independence. "Sierra-only passes have always been in strong demand," General Manger John Rice told OnTheSnow. "A large part of our passholders come from the West Slope and Sacramento--communities with long ties to Sierra Resort. These folks just want to ski and ride Sierra, so Sierra-only passes work for them. We've seen built up demand for them just in the last week since we released the new pricing and options."

The Sierra Only Pass returned with its original pricing. The pass, valid Sundays through Fridays excluding blackout dates, costs $199. The Sierra Seven-Day Pass offers one step up, with skiing any day except for blackout dates. The pass costs $279.

The Sierra Unlimited pass is valid every day and does not have blackout dates. It costs $329 for adults, $229 for young adults ages 13-22, and $89 for children ages 5-12. College students can get an unlimited pass for $229, provided they carry at least six credits. These three passes are available all winter at these rates.

Those who like to organize groups can rustle up 10 friends to buy the Sierra Group Pass by Nov. 30. The passes, which cost $329 per person, grant unlimited skiing and riding, plus the organizer gets the 11th pass free.

Other changes may be on the horizon for Sierra, but not in the immediate future. "We'll be able to really take advantage of some opportunities that we couldn't in the past, but, for now, we're just looking forward to opening day," said Rice. "For the most part, you'll see the same resort that we've always been. That's the beauty of Sierra. Three generations in, and it's still the same smiling, friendly resort with a killer mountain."

More information. Or call 530-659-7453.