Sierra, Kirkwood have record shattering weekend |

Sierra, Kirkwood have record shattering weekend

Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain Resort hosted record-breaking crowds on a busy Presidents Day Weekend.

Warm, spring-like conditions ended when a storm moved in late Sunday.

The rain was expected to turn into snow Sunday night. As much as 10 inches could fall at lake level by noon today.

“A vigorous high-pressure system will move inland and across central California,” Bob Melrose, of the National Weather Service, said. “It will produce heavy snow in the central Sierra Mountains.”

Heavenly Ski Resort’s Monica Bandows said, “We did better than expected. It has been a great weekend. Things look like they are back on track for a great season.”

Last week’s snowstorms brought the Tahoe snowpack to 87 percent of normal – well above the 22 percent reported just over a month ago – and also brought much-needed crowds to the slopes. Bandows warned that Sunday’s storm could keep people away from the mountains Monday but she and other resort officials were pleased with what has become the season’s biggest weekend.

“Presidents Day can be as big, or bigger, than Christmas,” Bandows said. “And this year it is definitely bigger.”

The crowds caused severe traffic delays on U.S. Highway 50. No serious accidents were reported.

“Now that we have snow, people are here to play,” Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Ben McLeod. “While we did have a product to offer in December, it was not what people expected. In the last five years the snow has been so great in the Sierra that people are spoiled.”

Sierra-at-Tahoe was so crowded Saturday that the resort was forced to turn people away, according to McLeod who said, “The slopes are not too bad but the parking lot is just a zoo.”

“It is beautiful but they should have a bigger facility, especially when the weather is bad,” Mark Summers of San Francisco said at Heavenly. “It is well worth coming but it would be nice if the crowds were smaller.”

The number of people who go to Kirkwood Mountain Resort today could be limited by the storm, according to Spokeswoman Tania Pilkinton, who said, “Right now the snow is incredible and there is still a lot of pent up demand from the slow Christmas season.”

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