This past Monday, just hours after Mount Rose-Ski Tahoe saw four feet of snow fall during a four-day span, the sun was shining and over 2,000 skiers and snow boarders played in near mid-winter conditions.
Despite being in the midst of the first serious storm of the season, which dumped nearly five feet of snow at some Tahoe resorts, Mount Rose opened for business on Saturday, its earliest opening date since 1998, the last El Ni-o year. This year, Mount Rose was the second Tahoe area resort to open behind Boreal, which opened on Halloween, and became the first area resort to open for the second straight year.
Nearly 1,000 hardy people braved the blizzard like conditions on opening day at Mount Rose and that number went up to almost 1,300 on Sunday. Then came Monday, when Guest Services Manager Kathy Leggett said the resort saw almost 3,000 people show up on Veteran's Day, basking in 50 degree weather.
"These are the best early season conditions we've had in years," Leggett said. "We've had no complaints. Normally we don't open until the second or third of November and not even then sometimes. It's been great."
Last year, Mount Rose didn't open until six days after Thanksgiving. The resort is open again today and thru the weekend after being closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Thursday-Sunday schedule will continue until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"After Thanksgiving, we'll be open every day," Leggett said. "We're offering discounted lift tickets until then."
A full day, adult lift ticket is $40, down from the usual price of $48.
Monday started with two lifts operating (Northwest Magnum 6 and Ponderosa). But by midday, when the lift lines swelled, Lakeview lift also opened. Coupled with manmade snow, the Main Lodge (8,290 feet) has a base of 2 1/2-3 feet while four feet of the fresh stuff was recorded at the resort's 9,700-foot summit during last week's storm. Except for only a few areas, all the runs accessible by the three lifts are open, but the conditions in the trees are marginal--at best. Dozens of rocks and stumps are poking up above the early season snowpack, which is estimated to be 200-300 percent of normal for this time of year.
For the resort's latest conditions, go to www.skirose.com.
Most of the other major Tahoe resorts are opening this weekend. Alpine Meadows Resort, which recorded five feet of new snow, will open today. Sugar Bowl will open Friday. Kirkwood Mountain Resort, located along Hwy. 88 about an hour south of Carson City, and Squaw Valley will open on Saturday. Heavenly, which received between 2-3 feet of snow, isn't opening until November 22.