LAKE TAHOE — Winter is back at Lake Tahoe — and resorts and residents couldn’t be more pleased.
A small storm swept through the greater Truckee/Tahoe region early this week, dumping more than 2 feet of snow in some areas and stoking enthusiasm for a strong 2013-14 ski season.
Located west of Truckee, Boreal Mountain Resort — which strives each fall to be the first area resort to open — planned to open as early as this weekend, according to various reports. Officials were expected to make a decision as early as Tuesday afternoon; last year, the resort opened on Oct. 26.
On Tuesday, Sugar Bowl Resort in Norden reported 29 inches of fresh snow had fallen at its summit (8,383 feet), with 21 inches at its 6,883-foot base.
Near Tahoe’s North Shore, Squaw Valley on Tuesday reported 23 inches of new snow at upper mountain from the storm, while neighboring Alpine Meadows tallied 19 inches up top.
Several main Tahoe/Truckee highways were under chain and snow tire controls overnight Sunday and Monday morning — when snow was blowing the hardest — including the Mt. Rose Highway in Nevada and California Highway 267 over Brockway Summit.
A few Tahoe schools got started an hour late Monday morning due to slick roads. Regional emergency crews responded to several slide-offs and fender benders, but no major incidents were reported.
It marked the first significant snow of the 2013-14 season for Tahoe, outside of an upper-elevation dusting on Sept. 21 — which also was the evening prior to the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe.
“Winter is here,” Northstar California Director of Mountain Operations Jim Larmore said in a Monday statement. “The conditions are allowing us to start making snow a little earlier than we’d planned to. We’re firing up the snowmaking guns ... to compliment the natural snow this storm has brought so we can take full advantage of our systems.”
By Tuesday, the resort located between Truckee and Kings Beach reported 14 inches at upper mountain.
Several other resorts, including Boreal and Heavenly Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, also have begun snowmaking operations, officials said.
Many of Tahoe’s resorts still expect to open near the Thanksgiving holiday.
The weather had residents taking to social media early Monday with eyes toward a strong season after lackluster winters each of the past two years.
Tahoe Vista resident Cody Rose Kelley expressed her satisfaction with this message on an Instagram photo: “Woke up to this Winter Wonderland!!! #Tahoe #YAY #ilovesnow #moretocome”
South Lake Tahoe resident Jenn Gleckman, meanwhile, was among those who commented on Twitter: “Waking up to this makes me giddy for what lies ahead. #snow #tahoe #skiing”
Skies began to clear Tuesday afternoon throughout the region; sunshine and high temperatures in the upper-50s to lower-60s are expected by midweek and into the weekend.