Sierra storm excites skiers, snowboarders |

Sierra storm excites skiers, snowboarders

Nevada Appeal Staff and Wire Report

The first wave of what’s expected to be a powerful weekend storm dropped as much as 2 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada, and raised the hopes of skiers and snowboarders for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Squaw Valley USA on Saturday became the latest Lake Tahoe-area ski resort to open for the season after reporting 18 inches of new snow.

In Carson City, about 3 inches of snow fell before dawn Saturday morning, and heavier amounts were expected after midnight into today as the second wave moved through the area, said Mark Faucette, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

From 6-12 inches were predicted above 5,000 feet in the Sierra foothills and Virginia City, and possibly between Carson City and Minden after midnight last night, he said.

A big high-pressure ridge sitting over Alaska was forcing the cold trough down into the western part of the country.

There is also a chance of snow showers tonight into Monday, and Monday into Tuesday, Faucette said, and skies are expected to be partly cloudy Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The storm could dump as much as 2 more feet of snow at higher elevations of the Sierra by Monday.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and I’ve never before seen a storm set up like this before Thanksgiving,” said Mike Livak, general manager of Squaw Valley.

Boreal, which in October became the first California resort to open for the season, on Saturday reported 2 feet of new snow atop Donner Summit.

Northstar-at-Tahoe near Truckee, Calif., Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe southwest of Reno, Heavenly above Lake Tahoe’s south shore and Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite National Park also have opened for the season.

Most other resorts plan to open in December.

Northstar typically gets just 4 percent of its seasonal snowfall in November, but the pre-Thanksgiving storm could get resorts in prime shape for the season, said Northstar spokeswoman Jessica VanPernis.

“This time of year it’s always a bonus to get so much snow in so short a time,” she said. “It should

be incredible skiing and boarding.”