Snow season on track | NevadaAppeal.com

Snow season on track

by Andy Bourelle

While the Lake Tahoe region hasn’t been hit with as much snow as it had this time last year, ski resorts are on time with when they normally open.

Thanksgiving weekend tends to kick off the ski season.

Heavenly Ski Resort already has opened, but it plans to have more runs available soon. Provided the weather cooperates, both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood will open next week.

And it looks like the weather is going to cooperate – at least this weekend.

Al Cox, weather service specialist for the National Weather Service Reno office, said snow is likely Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday and the rest of next week likely will be dry and cold.

“We’re trying to open Nov. 24; that would be weather permitting, of course,” said Tania Magidson, spokeswoman for Kirkwood. “If all goes well, we’ll be open then.

“We usually open about a week before Thanksgiving. If we open on the day before, that’s pretty close.”

Sierra’s opening in 1998 was the day before Thanksgiving. The same opening date is planned this year.

“We’re hopeful, if we get the snow we expect, that we’ll open by then,” said Ben McLeod, spokesman for Sierra. “It’s snow dependent. We don’t need too much. We’ve probably got 8 to 12 inches throughout the mountain from the last storm. All we need is probably another 6 to 8 inches.”

Heavenly, with the largest snowmaking operation in the West, broke a record in 1998 by opening Oct. 18. This year the resort opened Nov. 11, and that date, although it pales in comparison to the previous year, is certainly not considered a setback or failure.

“Up until about two years ago, we always opened the week before Thanksgiving,” said Monica Bandows, Heavenly spokeswoman. “Thanksgiving is the opening of the ski season at Tahoe.”