After a long, dry autumn, the colder temperatures are bringing with them the opening weekends for resorts around Lake Tahoe.
Eager snowboarders and skiers hit the slopes last weekend for the official opening of Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
"It was a highly anticipated event," Heavenly spokeswoman Aimi Xistra-Rich said about the opening. "People were talking about it two months ago. Everyone had a great time."
Alpine Meadows Ski Resort became the latest to open its doors on Friday, when resort operators opened the ski runs accessed by the beginner Meadow chair and the intermediate-but-short Kangaroo chair.
Spokeswoman Rachael Woods said the resort, which is on Tahoe National Forest land, will be only open through Sunday. If the cold snap holds, Woods said, it will attempt to open every weekend until the real white stuff starts to fly.
Although nary a flake has fallen in Lake Tahoe Basin, the resort is among those, like Boreal and Squaw Valley, using snowmaking equipment to create an artificial base.
"Due to consistently cold temperatures, Alpine's snowmaking team has been able to make quality snow through the week," Alpine Meadows General Manager Jim Kercher said in a press release.
At Adventure Peak in Heavenly at the top of the gondola last week, snowboarders and skiers took a breather from their outdoor events while eating at picnic tables and talking to family and friends.
Snowboarder Kent Roberg sat in a chair and looked out at the snow. "It's my first time out this season," he said. "It was nice, good for a ride."
Roberg said he chose Heavenly because the resort is adept at making snow.
Eight-year-old skier Corey Huber also enjoyed the snow. "I'm having fun so far," he said. "The snow is good. I like jumping."
Kirkwood Mountain Resort officially began lift operations for the 2007-08 winter season Sunday. Kirkwood opened Chair 5 with access to intermediate and advanced terrain on its Race Course run, according to a news release.
Resort officials continue to assess operations in regard to opening additional terrain and lifts. Visit www.kirkwood.com or call the Snowphone at (877) KIRKWOOD for daily updates on resort operations.
"We are excited to have a product available for our locals and pass holders this holiday weekend, and we will continue to push to open additional terrain," Chip Seamans, the resort's general manager, said in a news release.
"Recent cold temperatures have enabled us to maximize our snowmaking efforts, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for a little help from Mother Nature."
The South Shore's other ski resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, has not yet set an opening date. Visit www.sierraattahoe.com for more information.