Recent snowstorm won’t extend ski season at south shore resorts |

Recent snowstorm won’t extend ski season at south shore resorts

Jeremy Evans

Not even an unexpected April blessing of snow will extend the 2002-2003 ski season at two of the most popular resorts on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Last week, Heavenly and Kirkwood both set April 27 closing dates but on Wednesday night, the first of a series of storms rolled through the Tahoe region and Northern Nevada. The wet weather pattern ended Saturday but not before leaving behind as much as five feet of snow along the Sierra crest.

But despite the much-needed moisture, Kirkwood and Heavenly won’t change its closing dates. Sierra-at-Tahoe, the other south shore resort, will close on April 21.

“We won’t change that date,” said Tracy Miller, Marketing Manager for Kirkwood Mountain Resort. “Generally, closing dates can be moved up due to the elements, like lack of people or snow conditions. But we never push one back.”

“That’s our closing date and we’re sticking to it,” said Heavenly spokesperson Molly Cuffe. “It’s a lot of different factors. It’s the volume of skiers and the snow conditions. We’ve typically been open at least through the first week of May. I’m sure the snow rejuvenates skiers and snowboarders. Everybody knows that if its raining in the Bay Area, it’s snowing in Tahoe.”

Kirkwood, which routinely ranks among the top resorts in the nation for snowfall totals, received 4-5 feet of new snow since Wednesday, pushing its season total to over 400 inches.

“We’ve had a lot people showing up but I don’t know if it’s because of the snow or because we have a lot of other things going on here this weekend,” said Miller, who usually sees her resort get about 540 inches of snow annually. “We’re still 100 inches below normal but we’ve had an exceptional year. Unlike other resorts around Tahoe, it only rained one day here all season. We had a couple of days where the snow was firm and that was it.”

Heavenly received two feet of new snow from the storm. Both resorts can’t release official numbers of visitors this season, but the consensus is they weren’t bad considering the season’s below normal snowfall and a sagging economy.

“We’re coming off two records year. We didn’t exceed those numbers this year but we weren’t far behind, either,” Miller said.

For a limited time, Kirkwood is offering an unrestricted $399 pass for the 2004-2005 season. The pass includes either free skiing until April 27 or two full-day adult tickets for friends or family next year. This pass doesn’t have any blackout days over holiday periods. Also, any season pass holder from another local resort, including Mammoth and June Mountains, can ski at Kirkwood the rest of this season for $20.