Storm doesn’t deter holiday skiers at Tahoe |

Storm doesn’t deter holiday skiers at Tahoe

MARTIN GRIFFITH, Associated Press Writer

RENO (AP) — A storm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow didn’t stop thousands of holiday skiers and snowboarders from hitting the slopes Sunday at Lake Tahoe.

Ski resort operators said the Presidents Day holiday was living up to expectations as one of the busiest weekends of the season along with the Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. holidays.

Winter sports enthusiasts were lured by “killer powder” stemming from a light, dry snow that fell most of Sunday morning, said Sierra at Tahoe spokesman Todd Majoris.

“We’re packed to the gill today,” Majoris said. “Judging from the traffic congestion and all the people up here, I would say all the resorts are doing very well.”

Sierra at Tahoe, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA reported from 6 to 10 inches of new snow.

But the brunt of the storm hit to the south of Tahoe, where Kirkwood said 1Y to 2 feet of new snow fell Sunday morning.

“We just got creamed,” Kirkwood spokeswoman Tracy Miller said. “It came in hard and fast. We were getting about 4 inches of snow an hour at times.

“Today we’re sitting at about 4,000 people out here. It’s definitely going to be one of the two or three biggest weekends of the season for us,” she added.

Chains were mandatory overnight on all three major trans-Sierra highways: Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass.

The controls on I-80 and U.S. 50 were lifted by early afternoon, but remained in effect on Highway 88.

No major accidents were reported.

After two straight dry winters, water officials are hoping for a strong finish to winter. Nevada and California depend on the Sierra snowpack for summer water supplies.

The National Weather Service was calling for another chance of snow with the arrival of a new storm Monday night. The snow level is expected to rise to 6,500 feet elevation Tuesday.

“They could get another foot of snow at Tahoe if they’re above 6,500 feet,” weather service forecaster Steve Goldstein said.

After a wet December left the snowpack at nearly twice-normal levels, a drier January and February sent the snowpack to near normal levels for this time of year.

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