First real storm of year hits basin |

First real storm of year hits basin

Light snow began falling at Lake Tahoe Tuesday morning, and through the day the flakes got bigger and started to stick. At dusk the white stuff was still coming down steadily and piling up.

The storm, which dumped at least 6 inches at high elevations, was a welcome relief for a ski resort area that has barely gotten any snow for nearly a month.

“That was about as dry a December as I can remember,” said Malcolm Tibbetts, Heavenly Ski Resort vice president of mountain operations and a 29-year employee of the resort.

“This is what it’s all about. Let it keep coming down,” he added.

Two light snows in January were all that had happened at Tahoe since early December.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Oasis Aviation at the Lake Tahoe Airport reported 3 1/4 inches had fallen. Higher elevations were getting more.

“I’m actually surprised at how much we’ve gotten so far,” Ben McLeod, spokesman for Sierra-at-Tahoe, said in the early afternoon. “It really didn’t start until about two hours ago, but if it keeps up like this we’ll easily have 6 inches by tonight. We’re happy.”

“We’ve been waiting for this for the last few months. We’re extremely happy,” Nicole Belt, spokeswoman for Kirkwood, said in the late afternoon. “Right now we’re probably at 3 to 5 inches, and it’s not showing any sign of letting up.”

All of the mountain passes into Tahoe required chains or snow tires Tuesday.

Dave Pike, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said there’s a chance of snow this morning.

After that, the weather will likely clear up today and Thursday. More snow is expected during the weekend.

Before the storm leaves, Pike said, it likely will drop 8 to 12 inches at high elevations, 2 to 4 at lake level.

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