Heavenly set to open, other ski resorts wait and see

Adam Jensen
A photo shows snowmaking above Heavenly Mountain Resorts' Tamarack Lodge early this month.
Photo courtesty of Heavenly Mountain Resort |

Heavenly Mountain Resort expects to become the second Lake Tahoe area resort to open to the public for the 2013-2014 ski season this week, planning to turn its chairlifts for skiers and snowboarders Friday morning.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain Resort could also fire up their lifts this week depending on how much snow drops around the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Access to Heavenly will run through the resort’s gondola, located at Heavenly Village. The Tamarack Express chairlift is expected to service runs at the resort. Exactly what runs open depends on weather and snow conditions, said Heavenly spokeswoman Sally Gunter. Friday’s opening will kick off seven-day-a-week operation for the resort, with lifts running from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekdays, Gunter said.

Both Gunter and Northstar California spokeswoman Brooke Rose urged people to buy their season passes prior to a Nov. 24 pass deadline for Vail-operated resorts.

Rose said Northstar’s slopes will not open as hoped for on Friday. Although Northstar’s village will offer plenty to do, resort operators are waiting for more optimal snow conditions before skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes, Rose said. The resort has not set a new target date to open chairlifts to the public.

The operators of Mt. Rose, at the northeast corner of the lake, are keeping an eye on this week’s weather before making a decision about opening for the season Friday, said marketing director Mike Pierce. On Wednesday, Mt. Rose was reporting 1-2 inches of snow had fallen since Monday afternoon, with more snow expected in the forecast.

“We’re optimistic for Friday, but we’re still going to wait to see what Mother Nature has in store,” Pierce said. If the resort is unable to open Friday, Wednesday, Nov. 27 would be the next target date, he said. He encouraged skiers and riders to check the Mt. Rose website,, for the latest information.

Operators at Kirkwood Mountain Resort are also hoping to open this week, said spokesman Kevin “Coop” Cooper.

“We’re going to push for Friday, but we’re going to need some help from Mother Nature,” Cooper said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning Kirkwood was reporting up to a foot of snow had fallen at the resort from this week’s storms.

Cooper recommended checking the resort’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest information about a possible opening.

Even if natural snow does not accumulate as hoped for, conditions should be favorable for additional snowmaking in coming days, according to a Wednesdaypost on by forecaster Bryan Allegretto.

“We begin to clear out on Thursday but overnight lows into the weekend look cold,” according to the post. “That means some great snowmaking on top of the wet base builder snow that fell this week.”

The long-term weather forecast for the Lake Tahoe area is still up in the air.

“We stay cool into the weekend and next week,” Allegretto wrote. “The forecast models are still all over the place with the forecast beyond a week. Still a chance we see some light snow on Thanksgiving but let’s look at next week once we get through this storm. Hopefully that will give the models some time to get a better handle on the pattern.”

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