LAKE TAHOE — The first winter storm of the 2011-12 winter season brought as much as 6 feet of snow to the Truckee/Tahoe region, according to some ski resorts.
After three days of snowfall, Squaw Valley received five feet of snow at upper mountain, according to a press release late Monday, while neighboring and Alpine Meadows saw six feet in 72 hours at the summit — the most of any resort in Tahoe, according to Squaw.
“... Chairlifts are carrying elated skiers and riders with ear-to-ear smiles as they experience the powder days they have been dreaming of during the slow start to the winter season,” said Spokeswoman Amelia Richmond in a statement, who added that both resorts have been able to open approximately 700 percent more terrain.
Earlier Monday, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe reported 50 inches of snow from the storm, which it boasted as the highest amount in the Tahoe region. The resort south of Reno plans to open Slide Bowl Tuesday.
At Northstar California, the resort reports 52 inches of new snow the past 4 days, according to its website. The resort just south of Truckee as of Tuesday morning boasts a 36-inch base at upper mountain.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort reported late Monday receiving 41 inches of fresh snow during the storm. With the combination of machine made snow and natural snow, the Incline Village resort is now 90 percent open with 5 lifts operating.
Despite the new snow, many Sierra ski resorts are only offering only limited operations. The Tahoe basin snowpack is only 25 percent of normal as of Monday.
“There’s no denying that it’s been a rough start to the ski season in Tahoe, with delayed or limited operations at all local resorts,” officials at Tahoe Donner said late Monday. “But it’s all smiles at Tahoe Donner after 40+ inches of snow over the past week.”
The Truckee resort opens its downhill ski area and cross-country ski center on Tuesday.
“The snow is wet and sticky, so it hasn’t played nicely with the equipment that we normally use, but it’s great base snow,” said Miguel Sloane, director of operations for Tahoe Donner, in a press release. “We’ve been packing it down with groomers and snowmobiles and I think it should be in nice shape by our Tuesday opening.”
Jon Slaughter, spokesman for the Boreal Mountain Resort atop Donner Summit, said he hoped Monday’s storm would allow more terrain to open. Boreal reported 12 of 41 runs open on Sunday.
“I’m thrilled to see we actually have some natural snowfall,” Slaughter said. “We’re going to be able to rapidly expand the terrain. We should be able to groom more runs.”
The current skiing and snowboarding season stands in marked contrast with last season, when roughly twice as much snow as normal fell in the Sierra and resorts stayed open later than usual to take advantage.
It won’t be long before Tahoe locals look forward to the next storm series, which, according to various weather reports, may be a long way out. The forecast into next week shows sunny skies and high temperatures in the upper-40s to low-50s.
Below is an extended forecast from www.noaa.gov for the Truckee/Tahoe area.
Today: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. South wind around 5 mph.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. South wind around 5 mph.
Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 51. West wind around 5 mph.
Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 25. West wind around 5 mph.
Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 54. West wind around 5 mph.
Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of rain before 4am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 21.
Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 46.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 16.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 48.