LAKE TAHOE — While it was too late to bolster the snowpack for the busy holiday weekends earlier this year, a handful of wet Sierra storms last week gave locals a couple much-desired powder days to kick off April.
With that, spring skiing conditions — and all the bikini-clad, sunscreen-drenched and wacky snow-gear fun that comes with them — figure to be optimal as the 2013-14 Lake Tahoe ski season winds down.
“The recent storm was a happy reminder that there is far more skiing and riding to be done this season,” said Lesli Kenney, a spokewoman for Heavenly Mountain Resort on the South Shore. “Fresh flakes reinvigorated passionate skiers and riders, and brought us some of the best days we’ve had. Our snow base was boosted to nearly six feet, which sets us up perfectly for these final weeks.”
Anywhere from three to six feet of snow had fallen by last Tuesday at higher elevations after a string storms swooped down from the Pacific Northwest.
On the North Shore, Squaw Valley reported 61 inches had fallen within a week by last Tuesday evening, with 42 inches recorded at neighboring Alpine Meadows, and 34 inches at Northstar California.
Add to that high temperatures of 66 degrees by midweek at the lake — and 70 in Truckee — according to the National Weather Service, and locals and visitors are in for arguably the best spring skiing conditions America has to offer.
“Spring skiing at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows is truly unbeatable,” said Squaw/Alpine spokeswoman Amelia Richmond. “Where else can you find amazing corn snow, brilliant blue skies, California girls in bikinis and a mountaintop hot tub? Nowhere else in the country can hold a candle to the spring skiing experience that you find in Lake Tahoe.”
To put it another way, spring skiing at Lake Tahoe is, simply, “legendary,” said Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort spokesman Steven Hemphill.
“Lounging in West Bowl and the Corona Cantina, spring events like the Salsa Showdown, epic spring parks and more is why Sierra is the place to be in the spring,” Hemphill said of the resort located about a half hour south of Lake Tahoe off Highway 50. “Spring at Sierra Resort is all about fun, sun — and of course SPF.”
Heavenly, Sierra, Northstar and Squaw/Alpine are among several of the region’s downhill ski resorts that plan to stay open through Easter Sunday on April 20.
“When it comes to spring skiing, what sets Lake Tahoe apart from the rest is the energy that abundant California sunshine brings to the slopes,” Kenney said. “People are smiling, whacky costumes come out and the snow surface becomes incredibly soft and pliable. At Heavenly, we call it ‘The Spring Effect.’”
Diamond Peak plans to stay open through April 13. The North Shore resort offers one of the best views of Lake Tahoe, and spring skiing there is unmatched, said resort spokeswoman Kayla Anderson.
“It’s great to enjoy fresh corduroy runs in the morning all over the mountain, soak in some sun on the deck, then meet up with friends in the afternoon for fun runs through the terrain park and, right now, powder turns at the top,” she said. “This recent snowfall has convinced everyone to go out there and get in their last turns. Seeing snow in the trees attests to powder on the slopes. The phrase I’ve heard is, ‘Mother Nature finally remembered Tahoe.’”
And, as Northstar spokeswoman Rachael Woods said, “In a way, spring is its own unique ski season. It’s the perfect culmination of sunny days, flawless corn snow, fun events, and laid-back atmosphere.”