Sierra-at-Tahoe to start ski season Friday, Nov. 20; more snow in the forecast (updated) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sierra-at-Tahoe to start ski season Friday, Nov. 20; more snow in the forecast (updated)

Caitlin Row
crow@tahoedailytribune.com
Sierra-at-Tahoe will accept 2014-15 passes through Dec. 20 to honor loyalists. The ski area closed early last year due to snow conditions.
Courtesy / Sierra-at-Tahoe |

TWIN BRIDGES — South Shore’s Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort is opening early, with its first chair planned Friday, Nov. 20. The announcement comes on the heels of two substantial snow storms in early November, with more snow predicted for Thanksgiving week.

Ski season also kicked off ahead of schedule at Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort last weekend. Sugar Bowl Resort on the North Shore will open Saturday, Nov. 21, with top-to-bottom terrain.

“We’re stoked,” said Sierra-at-Tahoe spokeswoman Thea Hardy, adding, “We definitely have early season conditions and limited terrain. Ski with caution, be very aware of your surroundings and watch for unmarked obstacles.”

According to Sierra-at-Tahoe, Nob Hill, Easy Rider Express and Rock Garden chairlifts will open to skiers and snowboarders Friday, as will Slider and Magic Carpet surface lifts. Beginner and intermediate trail access is expected. A snow-play area will be available next to the Slider surface lift (near Broadway Terrain Park). There will be no refunds due to Friday’s ski area conditions. Parking in C lot is suggested.

Though Hardy stressed Sierra-at-Tahoe does not feature mid-winter conditions, there will be plenty to do on opening day. Live music is planned in the plaza, plus Broadway Terrain Park will feature “an assortment of jibs and rails.”

“The last time we opened this early was 11 years ago,” resort general manager John Rice said in a Wednesday news release. “A November opening is giving us a great outlook for the rest of the season. In a similar year, we logged as much as 499 inches of snowfall. It should still be noted that early season conditions exist and we will open more terrain once conditions permit.”

Sierra-at-Tahoe closed about a month early due to snow conditions last season, Hardy confirmed. Season passes from 2014-15, along with other ticket packages and lesson programs from last season, will be valid for use through Dec. 20.

“The program honors all season passes, unfinished 3-PAK lift tickets and unfinished 3-PAK and 10-PAK lesson programs from the previous winter,” a news release said. “Season pass holders will need to visit the Sierra Season Pass Office for activation. Sierra Value Season Pass restrictions still apply. Unfinished 3-PAK lift tickets may be redeemed directly at the lift. Unfinished 3-PAK and 10-PAK lessons packages can be redeemed at the appropriate rental location.”

SNOW NEXT WEEK?

Cold, snowy weather is predicted for Thanksgiving week, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 24-25.

“We’re looking at really cold low-pressure system,” said Dawn Johnson, a meteorologist with Reno’s National Weather Service office. “The one question is where the exact track of the low will be going. If it’s a little farther to the west, mountains will get snow; to the east, it will be less snow and more cold. … For the incoming system, we’ll see winds increase Tuesday as well. Any snow that does fall will be blowing around pretty good.”

Due to the extended nature of the forecast, Johnson said impacts to the Lake Tahoe region are still fuzzy.

“It’s uncertain about how much snow we’ll actually see,” she said, though cold will likely linger through Thanksgiving weekend. “There is potential for another system to follow behind it over the weekend, though it’s hard to say. While potential is there, we have very low confidence.”

This weekend’s weather, however, will trend warmer for Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl Resort openings.

“This weekend is fairly pleasant and near to average,” Johnson said. “Highs around the lake are low 50s; in the mountains it will be 30s and 40s. There will be no precipitation over the weekend.”

More information about Sierra-at-Tahoe’s opening day can be found at http://www.sierratahoe.com or by calling 530-543-3150.