Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort opens to guests, earliest first day in 11 years (Video) |

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort opens to guests, earliest first day in 11 years (Video)

Adam Jensen

TWIN BRIDGES, Calif. — An extended electric guitar solo by a rocker in red long johns, a flurry of silly string blasted at skiers on the first few chairs and entreaties to “keep winter weird” kicked off the 2015-16 ski season at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort on Friday, Nov. 20.

The opening day celebrations were the earliest in 11 years for the South Lake Tahoe-area resort, and November skiing and snowboarding generated plenty of grins from guests who made it out for the event.

Roseville, California, residents Eleece and Tim Schrader snagged the first chairlift ride of the season on Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Nob Hill lift, getting in line at 8:30 a.m. for the honor.

“We didn’t get up extra early not to get first chair,” Tim Schrader said with a laugh.

In addition to Nob Hill, the resort ran its Rock Garden and Easy Rider Express chairlifts, as well as its Slider and Magic Carpet surface lifts, for opening day. Resort officials urged guests to be aware of their surroundings and watch for unmarked obstacles, as early season conditions still exist in the Sierra Nevada.

Most everyone just seemed happy to be back on the slopes Friday.

“It’s really nice. It’s better than I expected,” said Walnut Creek, California, resident Austin Cornwell, who drove up from the Bay Area for the day.

Cornwell said he was able to find some soft snow on the side of Lower Main. The early season obstacles on some runs are pretty easy to spot, he added.

While there’s always room for more snow, South Lake Tahoe resident and snowboarder Johnny Thorne said he was happy Sierra is open before Thanksgiving.

“It’s good — a couple chairs and the runs that are groomed are groomed well,” Thorne said.

The resort will open additional lifts as conditions allow, resort spokeswoman Thea Hardy said. More snow is expected to hit the area Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s awesome,” Hardy said. “It’s early season conditions, but we’re stoked.”

Sierra-at-Tahoe will honor all purchased 2014-15 season passes, unfinished 3-PAK lift tickets and unfinished 3-PAK and 10-PAK lesson programs through Dec. 20.

More information is available at

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