A bit late for Christmas, but skiers still welcome snowy weather
The brunt of it blew in while most slept, and it was gone by the dawn.
Yet in its wake, the fast-moving winter storm Sunday night and Monday morning left Lake Tahoe ski resorts with at least a foot or more of snow and a backlog of weather systems sitting in the Pacific waiting to make landfall this week.
After a few hits, misses and soggy stretches, it looks like winter conditions have finally arrived.
The National Weather Service in Reno says another storm – a relative carbon copy of what moved into the Sierra Sunday night – could begin late tonight, bringing more wind, rain and possibly another 1-2 feet of snow above 7,000 feet.
“It is shaping up to be a lot like the last one. It will come in quickly and start out warm, hitting more of the northern Sierra and then brushing up against Tahoe,” said weather service forecaster Brian O’Hara.
In fact, it looks as though Thursday will be the only day of clear skies as another system will move into the Sierra late Friday, stay through Saturday, and warm up just enough by Sunday until yet another system rolls into the mountains Monday.
“It’s good for the snowpack and good for the ski resorts,” O’Hara said.
A couple inches of snow fell in the valley areas, with Stateline reporting 6-8 inches of snow.
Warm temperatures and some sunshine allowed for most of the snow on the roads to melt. But ice and driving too fast for conditions likely caused a single-car rollover near Spooner Summit Monday afternoon.
At 1:15 p.m., a vehicle traveling eastbound near Spooner Summit lost control on the wet roadway, collided with the barrier, and landed on its side, said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Nick Nordyke.
Driving too fast for conditions was being listed as the primary cause of the accident, according to Nordyke.
The accident was the third of the day for Nordyke in the aftermath of the early storm that hit the area.
The driver, a Hispanic woman in her mid-20s suffered cuts and bruises on her face but was not taken to a hospital.
An avalanche advisory was issued for the Sierra Monday morning. High winds have created slabs in lee area below ridge lines, which have made for snowpack instability. Highway 88 was closed briefly Monday morning because of avalanche control.
For winter road conditions:
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For ski areas, the storm brought impressive amounts for the brief time it stayed. Heavenly Mountain Resort received about a foot of snow from top to bottom. At Kirkwood Mountain Resort, skiers rejoiced in 3 feet at the top of the mountain. Sierra-at-Tahoe received about 18 to 24 inches.
“It looks like we have a few storms stacked up and ready to come in, which is good because this is the time where people are coming in who are planning to stay the week through the new year,” said John Wagnon, vice president of marketing and sales for Heavenly.
The snow at Kirkwood was dry and powdery, unlike the last few soggy storms that have rolled in, said Tracy Miller, spokeswoman for Kirkwood. Skiers lined up first thing Monday at Chair 6 for the first powder run.
At Heavenly, skiers and snowboarders lined up at the gondola, waiting for their first runs. The snow has made for a perfect mixture of powder and groomed packed powder, Wagnon said.
Ski area snow report
Alpine Meadows: 15 inches
Boreal: 15 inches
Diamond Peak: 12 inches
Heavenly: 12 inches
Homewood: 12 inches
Kirkwood: 24 inches
Mt. Rose: 12-18 inches
Northstar-at-Tahoe: 8 inches
Sierra-at-Tahoe: 18 to 24 inches
Soda Springs: 12-15 inches
Squaw Valley: 10-12 inches
Sugar Bowl: 24 inches