How long will ski season run at Lake Tahoe resorts?
In what is a sure indication of how good this winter has been for snowfall, several South Shore ski resorts announced earlier this week that they will continue operating into mid and late April.
Vail Resorts on Wednesday announced that its Tahoe properties — Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain on the south end of Lake Tahoe and Northstar California on the opposite end — will stay open until mid and late April.
Heavenly will stay open daily through April 23, as well as the weekend of April 28 – 30, according to a press release. Kirkwood will remain open through April 16, while Northstar will stay open until April 23.
“We’re thrilled to offer guests great skiing and riding, as well as a variety of spring activities for visitors this spring at Heavenly and Northstar,” Pete Sonntag, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort, said in the press release. “With the record snowfall totals in January and continued snowfall throughout the season, we’re excited to offer guests an unparalleled experience at the mountains.”
All three resorts have experienced the snowiest winter on record, with a current season total measuring more than 40 feet.
The announcement came relatively early in the ski season.
Sierra-at-Tahoe has not yet set a date for when it will close for the season, according to Thea Hardy, public relations official with Sierra-at-Tahoe. The resort will likely make that decision in the next month, she added. As of Thursday morning the resort reported 477 inches of snow for the season.
“It’s been really awesome with all the snow,” Hardy said. “Obviously new challenges are presented, but it’s been so great. It’s a good problem to have when you’re trying to figure out what to do with all the snow.”
Meanwhile, multiple media outlets reported this week that Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows plan to stay open until June — and possibly allow skiing on July 4. The Alpine Squaw blog on Thursday reported a season total of 47 feet of snow.
At the moment, it’s unclear if Heavenly and Kirkwood will revisit the closure dates.
“Right now we’re where we’re at,” Kevin “Coop” Cooper, senior communications manager for Heavenly and Kirkwood, said Wednesday. “I’m not sure if revisiting is what we’re going to do. … It’s a great winter — people need to get here now.”
Heavenly on Thursday morning reported 81 inches of snow in the past seven days and a season total of 545 inches. Kirkwood reported 80 inches over seven days and a season total of 564 inches.
Last year, both resorts closed in mid April, as did Sierra-at-Tahoe. Sierra takes into account multiple factors when deciding how long to stay open, according to Hardy. That includes the amount of snow and people’s interest as it relates to the time of the year. Additionally, many ski resorts operate on U.S. Forest Service land and require a special use permit.
“We just try to take into account what people are interested in and how many guests are interested in skiing,” Hardy said.