Big Oak Flat Road/Hwy 120 closed for repairs Feb. 29, 2012 thru April

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A section of Big Oak Flat Road, leading from Hwy 120 into Yosemite Valley and other park destinations is scheduled to be closed for roughly six weeks starting at 8:00 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to repair damage from a rockfall on January 22 of this year. The road is expected to be closed 24 hours per day, seven days per week until early April. During this time, crews will be working around the clock to the get road ready for visitors hoping to use that route to see Yosemite’s waterfalls in peak flow for spring. (You can see an interactive version of the map here.)

Meanwhile, you can still get to Yosemite Valley via Hwy 140 (El Portal Road) coming from Merced/Mariposa and Hwy 41 (Wawona Road) coming from Fresno/Oakhurst. If you’re coming from the Bay Area, the Highway 140 route is commonly referred to as the year-round Yosemite Highway, and although longer in terms of distance, adds little, if any, time to your drive.

The best way to get current road information inside Yosemite National Park is to call (209) 372-0200 and press 1 and then 1 again. This recorded road information is updated by NPS as soon as road conditions change. For other current park information, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Read the full NPS press release below:
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Presidents’ Week at Badger Pass

Badger Pass is gearing up to welcome skiers and snowboarders for the upcoming Presidents’ Week. The recent blanket of fresh powder means that even Mother Nature is on board for the winter time fun. Check out the video taken at Badger Pass today for a glimpse of the current conditions and some advice from Badger Pass ambassador, Sean Costello, on some of the best ways to make the most of your time here on the slopes.

Trip Tips

  • Arrive early! The day lodge, rental shop, and nordic center open early at 8am, so that you can get your gear together and hit the slopes when the lifts start at 9am. Early birds will be rewarded with shorter lines, and more snow time.
  • Eat breakfast with Sean Well, OK, Sean might actually be working, but if you get to Badger Pass early, you can enjoy breakfast at the ski area, after you’ve beat the lines to the rental shop.
  • Get your rentals for multiple days If you know you’re going to come back for more skiing the next day, rent your gear for multiple days. You can store them in a rental ski locker overnight and save time the next day by going straight to the snow.
  • You can get the latest weather conditions and snow conditions online. Get the most up-to-date road conditions by calling (209) 372-0200, press 1 and then 1 again.

Curry Village Ski Buffet

What to do after a fun-filled day at the ski area? This Saturday night (February 18, 2012), swing by the Curry Village Ski Buffet. The buffet is open from 5:30 – 8pm with a delicious menu, and live music by the band “Wild Horses”.

See you on the slopes!

Yosemite’s Natural Firefall – Horsetail Fall

Horsetail Fall Photo by Nancy Robbins

The Firefall is coming up soon. Are you coming to see it?

Although the firefall from Glacier Point, is now just a memory, Yosemite-lovers and photographers from all over the world gather in mid to late February for a show that is, in some ways, even more spectacular because it is all natural. When the angle of the sun is just right, and there is enough water in Horsetail Fall, and the day is clear, the waterfall turns molten in the light of the setting sun against the already shaded shoulder of El Capitan. But the perfect conditions are elusive. Will it all come together this year? And when is the prime viewing time?

Local photographer, Michael Frye, is heading up a conversation with others to calculate the dates when we’ll be most likely to see the firefall, and speculating about when it will be the most spectacular. So far, it sounds like your best bet to see the waterfall light up is between February 16 – 23, but the verdict isn’t fully in yet. Be sure to join in if you have been here to photograph the firefall, and if you haven’t been here yet, this is a great source for detailed information about the event.

You can also benefit from Michael’s expertise at one of the photography workshops in Yosemite, offered through The Ansel Adams Gallery. Michael, along with many other talented photographers in that program, offer many opportunities to hone your photography skills and experience Yosemite with a real Yosemite insider.

“Got Snow?” Contest Winners

Star-spangled, carmel corn, candy snowman

Congratulations to our creative snowmen designers who won the “Got Snow?” contest! It’s hard to complain about the beautiful sunny days that we’ve been having lately, but it’s always good to dream up some winter white, and happy snow-people like this one.

First prize, four lift tickets at Badger Pass Ski Area, went to Kathi A. for her star-spangled, carmel corn, candy snowman. Second prize, two snowshoe rentals at Badger Pass, went to Carolina D. for the picture of her lovely “Minne-snow-ta” wedding snow couple made out of rice crispie treats and fondant. Third prize, a Yosemite beanie hat, went to Jackie M. for the creative mini forest snowman and his friend.

Thanks “snow” much everyone!