Lake Tahoe revels in snowstorm
February 17, 2003
Mother Nature graced Lake Tahoe over the holiday weekend with a long-awaited dumping. But the snow fell far short of making up for this month’s deficit. Some areas in the basin have less than half the average amount of snowfall for February.
The South Shore received 6 to 10 inches of snow Saturday night, with ski resorts reporting about 2 feet at their summits.
“We can hear the hooting and hollering all over the mountain. Everyone’s in good spirits,” Sierra-at-Tahoe spokeswoman Nicole Belt said Sunday morning.
The usual Tahoe snowfall between the West and East shores for February — considered a banner winter month in the Sierra Nevada ski region — is 35 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Glenbrook’s 7 inches accumulated halfway through the month shows weather patterns way behind February’s usual 21.2 inches.
And this week’s forecast has no major dumps, meteorologist Larry Brown added.
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Still, skiers and boarders enjoyed the extra layer Sunday, as the Tahoe blue sky poked through the clouds.
Jason West, standing on Heavenly Ski Resort’s California Base Lodge deck with a cast on his fractured ankle, soaked in the sunshine. The Santa Cruz man waited for his girlfriend to make her way off the hill.
“I told her if she wanted to go snowboarding, then let’s go,” West said.
Vehicles lined the slope of Ski Run Boulevard — with skiers, boarders and sledding enthusiasts making their way up the hill.
On the steep slopes of Gunbarrel, Kevin Lester of San Luis Obispo bounded over the moguls and powder.
“It worked out perfectly,” Lester said, pleased he planned his Tahoe visit around a storm without huge crowds.
He gravitated toward the trees to seize carving opportunities in the fresh powder.
Heavenly lift operator Laura Dombroski said the tree skiing was the place to be Sunday, mentioning Mott Canyon and the western perimeter as places of interest. Dombroski carved first tracks that morning.
Belt agreed with the assessment, especially with all of Sierra-at-Tahoe’s backcountry gates open.
She noticed many people buying half-day passes.
“I think a lot of people waited to see what the weather would bring,” Belt said. “We’ve seen better Presidents Day weekends. We’re hoping even though February got off to a slow start we may be looking at a more traditional February.”
The busy weekend brought about a few skid outs but was relatively slow for accidents on the road, law enforcement reported, with the exception of a single vehicle rollover on Highway 50 east of Spooner Summit.
The passenger, Margaret Pehrson, 81, of Reno was transported via helicopter to Washoe Medical Center with serious injuries, the Nevada Highway Patrol reported. The driver received minor injuries in the Sunday afternoon accident.
— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org