Snow’s up: Ski resorts opened early after storm dumps several feet
A series of winter storms battered the Lake Tahoe Basin during the past week, setting up the best early season conditions for skiers and snowboarders in recent memory.
The storms have dropped more than nine feet of snow in some areas of the Sierra Nevada and Thanksgiving Holiday conditions are the best at the South Shore in the past decade, Heavenly Mountain Resort Spokesman Russ Pecoraro said Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, the resort reported receiving 53 inches during the past week.
Weather conditions have allowed Heavenly to open only sporadically since Saturday morning, but the resort planned to open the California side of the mountain Wednesday, Pecoraro said.
The resort’s Aerial Tramway, Gunbarrel Express, Powderbowl Express, Patsy’s, Sky Express and Canyon Express chairlifts are expected to run, Pecoraro said.
Because the California lifts have yet to open for the season, they may be slower to open then the resort’s Gondola and Tamarack Express lifts, Pecoraro said. The Dipper Express lift started to turn Wednesday.
Skiers and snowboarders got their first turns for ski season at Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort this week. The resort reported receiving more than seven feet of snow from recent storms and opened the Grandview Express, Easy Rider Express and Knob Hill chairlifts Tuesday.
In the afternoon, ski patrollers were determining what would the resort would be able to open Wednesday, but most, if not all, of the resort will be open to skiers and riders soon, said spokeswoman Kirstin Cattell.
“I imagine we’re looking at a full mountain opening for the weekend,” Cattell said. “The last time we opened this early was 2004-2005 and the last time in my personal memory when we opened with this kind of snow was 2001-2002.”
Kirkwood Mountain Resort opened Wednesday. The resort has reported receiving between 112 and 115 inches of snow in the past seven days. The resort opened Chairs 5 and 6 first Wednesday, according to a statement from the resort. Chairs 1 and 11 will follow suit as conditions allow, according to the statement.
“I have been at Kirkwood for over 30 years and this is the most snow and best conditions we have ever had in November,” said Dave Meyers, vice president of operation for Kirkwood Mountain Resort, in the statement. “Skier and riders are in for exceptional powder conditions for opening day and throughout Thanksgiving weekend.”
The National Weather Service in Reno is predicting mostly sunny to mostly cloudy conditions through tonight. There is a chance of snow on Saturday and Sunday, according to the weather service.