Forget summer: Anticipation for snow starts to surface
At the premiere of the latest and greatest snowboard video, “The Art of Flight,” it was pretty clear summer was well over and one thing captivated the minds of the audience: snow.
“Everyone I’ve talked to seems like they’re ready,” said Heavenly Mountain Resort’s Russ Pecoraro. “That’s kind of funny because of what a short summer it was.”
With snow falling into June and temperatures at night already dropping to lows in the 30s, it was a short summer indeed. Though there are those that would love to hold onto the sun a little longer, for many fall might as well be known simply as “the waiting period.”
Flashy jackets, snow pants, sparkling new goggles and shining new skis and boards are flowing into gear shops.
“People are coming in looking for the newest and coolest, beanies, goggles, ninja suits, lots of flannels, insulated flannels,” said Shoreline at Tahoe’s Ryan Cochran.
Ski and snowboard videos, full of highlights from last season, are premiering. Resorts are pushing season pass sales and polishing snowmaking and snow grooming machines.
“Our mountain operations are getting the mountain ready,” said Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort’s Steven Hemphill.
At Kirkwood Mountain Resort, construction crews are racing to finish $6 million in capital improvements, including a $1 million Expedition: Kirkwood facility and a $5 million facelift to the Mountain Club, which sustained damage from a fire in May.
Heavenly is installing a new ski school building, modeled after the Tamarack Lodge. The resort bought two new grooming machines and is adding several new trails among other improvements.
Around town, preparations for winter are more and more obvious.
“People are splitting wood like there’s no tomorrow,” said South Lake Tahoe resident Tressa Gibbard. “I’ve never seen people prepare for winter like this.”
Some drivers are getting a jump on switching tires. Les Schwab has been getting six or seven calls a day from people asking about snow tires, said employee Jason Osika.
“They’re getting ready. I guess they’re expecting another big winter like last year,” Osika said.
As ready as South Shore residents may be, meteorologists are shining a little sun on the snow parade.
“The only thing I can say in certainty is that we’re trending toward a La Nina year,” said Dawn Fishler, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Reno. “The amount of precipitation we had last year was well above what a typical La Nina would bring. We can speculate that this year won’t be as wet as last year just because last year was so extreme.”
Of course, for some South Lake Tahoe residents, the longer the sun stays out and the less it snows, the better.
“I do not want winter to start,” laughed Video Library employee Anna Lampman. “I don’t want to shovel and be cold … and shovel.”