Ski areas wait for snow, cold | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ski areas wait for snow, cold

Susan Wood

There’s not a cloud forecast in the sky over Lake Tahoe through Thanksgiving, leaving ski resorts high and dry for the time being.

“If it would cool off, I could at least make the snow,” Heavenly Mountain Resort Chief Operating Officer Blaise Carrig remarked this week.

A heavy inversion layer has kept the lake level cooler than higher elevations – right where the South Shore ski area wants to spray the man-made snow. It bumped its opening date from today to Nov. 23.

“We just need to make connections in a few spots. We’re optimistic it should be cooler pretty soon,” spokesman Russ Pecoraro said. The Heavenly gondola is open for sightseeing, which passholders may use to hike in the terrain.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort, which wouldn’t venture a guess when it would open, has wrestled with the same issue of a warm higher elevation. When conditions of around 28 degrees come to the area, Kirkwood will make snow on the mountain starting at Chair 5, then 6, 1 and 11.

“When we have 2 feet, we’ll open. We’ll put in a work order for snow with Mother Nature,” spokeswoman Tracy Miller said.

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Sierra-at-Tahoe also does not have an opening date, but it hopes it got the snow gods going by hosting a “Pray for Snow” party last Thursday. It gave out $2,500 in prizes including season passes, lift tickets, a snowboard, gear and Zephyr Cove snowmobile rides.

The Desert Research Institute’s Arlen Huggins said he’d like to accommodate the eager riders and ski areas with cloud seeding, but he needs the clouds. The forecast calls for no moisture and no clouds.

“It is unusual we haven’t got at least one decent storm yet,” Huggins said. “But we’re under the influence of a heavy high pressure system.”

Mammoth Mountain Resort got a little luckier with the last disturbance a few weeks ago traveling farther south. It opened last week.