Kirkwood, Heavenly reach 600 inches of snow for the season |

Kirkwood, Heavenly reach 600 inches of snow for the season

J.P. Kelsey
A March 6 shot of Heavenly, after nearly two feet of snow had dumped over the weekend.
Courtesy Photo/ Elizabeth Rauch |

This year’s snowfall count has been creeping higher and higher with each winter storm that has hit Lake Tahoe, causing several area resorts to hit a notable mark: Northstar, Kirkwood and Heavenly all either reached or surpassed 600 inches of snow on the season after this most recent storm. Put another way, that’s 50 feet of snow.

As of March 7, Northstar, Kirkwood and Heavenly have all collected between 600 and 612 inches.

It should be noted, however, that these aren’t the only resorts piling on the powder. There are a total of 10 resorts in the region that have surpassed 600 inches this year. At a virtual tie, Mt. Rose and Sugar Bowl are leading the pack and nearing 700 inches. Mt. Rose is boasting 680 inches, while Sugar Bowl is just behind at 679.

This data represents snowfall since October 2016 and is at resorts that have top elevations of 8,000 feet or more.

According to data from the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, the average for the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region has been, historically, about 450 inches. It’s not uncommon for snow to keep falling well into the spring months so the 2017 numbers could grow even larger. The 2011 season, for example, had a June snowstorm that pushed the yearly total to 810 inches. February tends to be the month with highest accumulations. Most resorts reported levels of nearly 200 inches for the month this year.

Even if several more feet of snow accumulate, it may be hard to beat some of the other snow-packed winters that have hit northeast California. According to Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin’s book “Snowbound!” the winter of 1938 is the record to beat if 2017 wants to compete. A whopping 819 inches, or 68.25 feet, had fallen before it was all said and done in May.

The Sierra Sun, a sister publication serving the Truckee area, contributed to this report.

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