Ethan Sanchez, 6, awakened to the same surprise as other residents in Carson City and surrounding communities.
“I saw a bunch of snow,” he said.
As much as 8 inches of snow was reported Thursday morning at Gardnerville, 5 inches in Lyon County’s Smith Valley and 4 inches in Carson City and Yerington, the National Weather Service said.
And there was only one explanation, according to Ethan.
“Our snow dance worked,” he said.
The Carson Montessori School first-grader joined his schoolmates this week in starting each day with a snow dance, where they stomp their feet, chant for snow and make snowflakes with their fingers.
It marked the first significant snow since up to 3 feet fell above Lake Tahoe in early December.
Ski resort officials said it was allowing them to open up numerous additional runs and trails at Northstar near Truckee, Calif., and Heavenly, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood on the south end of the lake.
“This is the break we’ve been looking for,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
It has become the school’s tradition to perform rain or snow dances after long dry periods. And, so far, it has worked every time, said Principal Jessica Daniels, who also confesses to keeping a close eye on the forecast.
“They’re 100 percent on,” she said. “They’ve never missed.”
For Emma Drysdale, 7, it was a welcome sight.
“First it was raining, then it was snowing,” she said. “We need moisture.”
A winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service was issued Thursday through noon today.
The forecast calls for snow showers today before 10 a.m., with a high near 39. According to the National Weather Service, it should clear up over the weekend with highs in the high 30s and low 40s.
Students and staff celebrated the snowfall Thursday with snow ice cream.
Beth Carrick, 7, confided the secret of the snow dance success.
“You want to know why it works?” she asked. “Because God sees that we want snow.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.