Storm pummels Tahoe |

Storm pummels Tahoe

Staff and wire reports

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ John Tierney from Venice, Calif., rides the light powder at Heavenly Mountain Resort as snow continued to fall Tuesday morning.

A potent winter storm that barreled into the Sierra Tuesday dumped at least 18 inches of snow in South Lake Tahoe, creating slick driving conditions and forcing school closures but also giving area ski resorts optimal conditions.

“It’s the driest snow in five years,” said Dave Pelgosch, 30, of South Lake Tahoe who took in runs at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

“It’s phenomenal. Five stars,” added snowboarder David Mass, 29, also of South Lake Tahoe.

Chains or snow tires were required across the region, including a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and Highway 50 over Echo Summit. Conditions early in the day were not much better in the valleys around Reno and Carson City, where travel restrictions also were in effect.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen said authorities responded to several accidents and numerous spinouts, but no serious incidents.

Ski resorts around Lake Tahoe reported 18 to 24 inches of snow Tuesday.

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Inside the Lake Tahoe City limits, co-op observer for the National Weather Service Simon Smith reports 18 inches of snow fell in town as of 6:30 p.m. with temperatures hovering in the low 20s, the storm made for a light, fluffy snow that skiers and snow shovelers prefer.

“It’s not your typical Sierra cement,” Smith said.

Schools in South Lake Tahoe all the way to Truckee were closed, and a winter storm warning for Lake Tahoe region was extended until early Tuesday evening.

An avalanche advisory was issued at North Lake Tahoe through Wednesday morning for the Cyrstal Bay subdivision and the Third Cree area.

Officials for the Washoe County Emergency Management Program said the advisory was issued to alert residents to possible avalanche conditions. They said if an avalanche warning is issued, there will be an Emergency Alert System activation and door-to-door notification.

Officials at Reno-Tahoe International Airport said operations there were on schedule, though passengers were urged to check with their airline for any possible delays.

The storm is the latest in a series that has dumped more than 11 feet of snow in the higher Sierra since March 1.

The weather service said the area will get a break Wednesday and Thursday before another storm is expected to hit on Friday.

– Tribune city editor Jeff Munson and staff writer Aimi Xistra contributed to this story

New snow

In 24-hour period

Heavenly Mountain Resort: 18 inches

Sierra at Tahoe: 12 inches

Kirkwood Mountain Resort: 18 to 24 inches

Source: Ski resort Web sites at 8 p.m. Tuesday