Storm excites skiers, snowboarders
Associated Press Writer
RENO – Skiers and snowboarders rejoiced but motorists cursed after a storm dumped as much as 3 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.
Resort operators, who had relied on manmade snow to cover the slopes before the snowfall began Thursday, said the storm changed conditions overnight.
“We saw people going from hiking and mountain biking one day to skiing and snowboarding the next. That’s just how fast the weather changes in the Sierra,” Alpine Meadows spokeswoman Rachael Woods said Saturday.
The Boreal and Soda Springs resorts atop Donner Summit – at an elevation of about 7,100 feet – reported a foot of new snow Saturday morning for a storm total of 3 feet.
Operators had been nervous about heading into the Christmas holiday period – traditionally one of their busiest of the season – with only manmade snow.
“We knew the snow was going to happen. It was just a matter of time,” Boreal spokesman Jon Slaughter said. “The real stuff is what gets everybody excited. There’s definitely more of an energy out on the slopes now.”
While the Sierra’s first major snowstorm of the season allowed resorts to open more lifts and runs, they still needed more snow to become fully operational.
And while resorts reported larger crowds Saturday, they acknowledged holiday shopping and the storm itself kept many skiers away from the slopes.
Chains or snow tires were lifted Saturday morning on two major highways linking Sacramento, Calif., and Lake Tahoe: Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. 50 over Echo Summit.
But controls remained in effect later Saturday on other highways around Lake Tahoe, including Highway 88 over Carson Pass.