December 27, 2012 | Back to: News

Snow blankets ski resorts in time for New Year's

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Many area ski resorts and businesses are rejoicing over this year's white Christmas, with several inches of snow falling Tuesday and Wednesday adding to the nearly 4 feet of snowfall in several regional locations from a major storm this past weekend.

On Wednesday morning, Diamond Peak Ski Resort reported 18 inches of snow had fallen in the past 24 hours, bringing the resort's total weekly snowfall to more than five feet.

"The timing of this storm could not have been more perfect," said Brad Wilson, general manager for Diamond Peak, in a Wednesday statement. "Skiing today on a scale of 1 to 10 was an 11, and it's going to be a fantastic holiday period for our guests."

Diamond Peak, which opened Dec. 20, went from having five lifts and seven trails available on opening day to up to 26 trails and more than 90 percent of the resort's terrain open, allowing top-to-bottom skiing and riding, by Christmas Day, said Andrew Baird, marketing manager for the Incline Village ski area.

"It's basically the best situation we could have had," he said, adding that "the vibe" on the mountain from skiers and riders is one of excitement.

Down Highway 431, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe reported 12 to 14 inches of "fresh powder" snow over Christmas night, bringing its upper-elevation depth to 126 inches.

"There's no doubt that Tahoe has snow now," Kayla Anderson, public relations coordinator for the resort, said with a chuckle on Monday.

In Truckee, Vail Resorts-owned Northstar California reported Wednesday morning getting between 12 and 17 inches of snowfall in the past 24 hours, bringing it base depth to 50 inches at 6,900 feet and 114 inches at 8,300 feet.

"The series of storms we saw over the weekend set us up nicely for the holidays and for the rest of the season," said Bill Rock, chief operating officer at Northstar.

Squaw Valley near Tahoe City reported accumulating 82 inches of fresh snow in the past five days as of Wednesday morning, with 16 inches of that falling at 6,200 feet and 20 inches at 8,200 feet in the past 24 hours.

On the South Shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort - also owned by Vail - reported 12 inches of snow in the past 24 hours, making this season's total snowfall between 139 to 196 inches.

"The two recent storms that have come through have brought a lot of light, fluffy snow and have really allowed us to expand our operations going into this holiday season," said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly's general manager, in a statement. "The conditions out there are beyond mid-winter quality."

A year ago, dry conditions were the norm in Truckee and at the lake as 2011 turned into 2012. Temperatures were in the 50s into mid-January, and not much snow had fallen, a trend that continued through the spring.

"I think this is what the entire ski industry in Tahoe really needed," Baird said Wednesday, in light of last year's mild winter. "It was the best present we could have gotten for the holidays."

The fresh snow isn't only benefiting the region's ski resorts, but many local businesses as well.

Bill Lassaline, general manager for Village Ace Hardware, located in the Raley's Center in Incline Village, said business has increased "a lot" from this time last year.

"We attribute most of it to the snowfall," he said Wednesday.

Lassaline said the store's top sellers are shovels, tire chains, window scrapers, brushes, shoe chains and heaters.

"It's great," he said about this week's snow. "We needed it. It's good for the community, ski resorts and businesses."

Wildflower Cafe, located off Highway 28 across from the Christmas Tree Village, however, has not seen business increase much with this week's rising snow levels, said Ellen Toto, co-owner of the cafe.

"It hasn't brought in a lot of business because people are skiing when we're open," she said Wednesday. "When there is no snow, we actually do better because then all there is to do is shop and eat."

However, Toto said she expects business to start picking up Thursday and the days to come with tourists coming up after Christmas.

"Hopefully, they'll stay beyond New Year's because the skiing is so good," Toto said.

According to the National Weather Service in Reno, no major storms appear in the near forecast; sunshine could return to the region by Friday, and there are "slight" chances for snow this weekend before more sun is forecast for New Year's Eve and the middle of next week.

- Bonanza Managing Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 27, 2012 08:22PM Published Dec 27, 2012 08:21PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.