It’s snow time! |

It’s snow time!

Jeff Munson

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Steve Amos and Isabela Banach, visiting from Washington, D.C., sled a snow-covered Regina Road on Monday.

With 23 days left until the first day of winter, Lake Tahoe got an early taste of it Monday, with a storm that brought wind, cold and a healthy amount snow to the Sierra.

The weather system should continue through this morning, bringing more snow to the mountains but will taper off into rain at lake level by afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

The system was expected to drop nearly 2 feet of snow above 7,000 feet and about 8 inches at lake level by the time it blows through sometime later today.

With the snow, two South Shore ski areas announced plans to open this week. Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe will open three of its runs beginning Wednesday, while Kirkwood Mountain Resort will open at least one chairlift on Thursday.

Sierra-at-Tahoe, which relies solely on Mother Nature for its runs, may open by the weekend if another storm moves into the Sierra by Thursday, spokeswoman Nicole Belt said.

Following today’s storm, the basin will have a brief reprieve on Wednesday but another system is expected to move in Thursday morning and could bring with it 2 feet of snow above 7,000 feet, said weather service forecaster Shane Snyder.

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“Thursday looks pretty good. We’re thinking about 2 inches of rain below lake level, which could amount to about 20 inches of snow when you get above 7,000 feet,” he said.

Monday’s storm brought its share of fender-bender calls into police dispatch, which is nothing new when it’s the first storm of the season, said South Lake Tahoe dispatcher Leona Allen.

“It’s pretty much a mess outside. Cars have been all over the place,” Allen said early Monday night. No serious injury accidents were reported as of press time.

Police will respond to accident calls if there are injuries, if there is a crime, if someone requests a police report, or, in one instance Monday night, people are unsuccessfully trying to push an SUV across the “Y.” Otherwise, if it is a minor fender bender, dispatch advises those in the accident to swap telephone numbers and insurance information.

Ski resorts rejoice

Heavenly and Northstar will follow Boreal Ski Resort at Donner Summit as resorts to open for business this season. At 9 a.m. Wednesday the South Lake Tahoe resort will open three runs – Comet, Dipper and Orion’s. Although many other trails have snow on them, some places don’t have enough and will be roped off, said spokesman Russ Pecoraro. The resort advises skiers not to cross the ropes or ski on closed trails.

Kirkwood had at least 10 inches of snow Monday. It plans to have chairlift 5 ready for operation with more terrain forthcoming as Thursday’s storm approaches.

“We’re a go on Thursday and we’ll wait and see what becomes of the next storm so that we can open more terrain by Saturday,” said spokeswoman Tracy Miller.

Lake Tahoe area ski resorts

Boreal Mountain Resort: Open

Heavenly Mountain Resort: Opens Wednesday

Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Opens Thursday

Northstar-at-Tahoe: Opens Wednesday

Squaw Valley USA: Opens Saturday

Mammoth Mountain: Open

Diamond Peak: Dec. 15

Alpine Meadows: Opens Friday

Sugar Bowl: To be announced

Mt. Rose: To be announced

Homewood: To be announced

Granlibakken: To be announced

Donner Ski Ranch: To be announced

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