Heavenly and Northstar to open early due to snowfall; more snow predicted this weekend
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Thanks to winter weather around the lake since Sunday, Nov. 8, Tahoe’s South Shore is blanketed with fresh snow.
Heavenly Mountain Resort’s ski season will also kick off six days earlier than initially planned, along with Northstar on the North Shore. Both Lake Tahoe ski areas will open Saturday, Nov. 14.
“We’ve already received about three feet of snow overall this season, which — combined with around-the-clock operation from the West Coast’s two largest snowmaking systems — has created a great early-season base and the best snow surface conditions at Lake Tahoe,” said Pete Sonntag, Tahoe region vice president and chief operating officer, in a news release.
According to Vail Resorts, it’s the earliest the resorts have opened since 2012, and the first time opening six days ahead of schedule since at least 2009.
“We’ve been making snow for the past two weeks or so,” Cassandra Walker, Heavenly and Northstar’s spokeswoman, said on Tuesday, Nov. 10. “The early snow has cooled down the ground, which is a huge help to our snowmaking teams; at this point we are able to make snow [continuously], building a healthy base for Mother Nature’s added new snow. I just got off of the mountain and I’m blown away — there’s so much snow, it’s really beautiful. We see even a foot of fresh snow accumulation in the trees.”
Walker added that “Northstar will open top-to-bottom this Saturday, and Heavenly offers over mile-long runs — the longest in the basin.”
South Shore’s snow fall began Sunday, with a second storm phase kicking off Monday night, Nov. 9.
Zach Tolby, a meteorologist from Reno’s National Weather Service office, said the storm system Sunday to Monday resulted in snow accumulations of 4-8 inches at lake level with 6-12 inches over 7,000 feet.
“The snowfall from Sunday night was highly variable depending on the location,” he continued. “Approximately 4-8 inches of snow fell along the Sierra Crest with only a couple inches to a trace spilling over into the Tahoe Basin. Approximately 12-16 inches fell near Carson Pass.”
Then the South Shore received another 2-3 inches in town overnight Monday, as did Truckee and Tahoe City, according to Dawn Johnson, another meteorologist with Reno’s National Weather Service office.
“The big winner was Incline Village last night,” she said Tuesday, “with 7 inches caused by the lake-effect band off of Tahoe. … Around the greater Reno area, anywhere from 6-14 inches of snow fell.”
Johnson projected that around 6 inches of snow fell over both days in South Lake Tahoe. Another storm system is predicted to hit lakewide this coming Sunday and Monday, Nov. 15 and 16. Heavenly’s opening day Saturday is expected to be warmer, in the mid-to-low 50s, and no precipitation is predicted.