Almost over: Resorts enter final month of dry 2022 ski season
The snow began falling Dec. 9 and continued to come down until the end of the month, burying local resorts in a historic amount of early season snow.
For skiers and riders, it looked to be a promising start to a potentially lengthy season on the slopes.
Instead, the new year brought with it dry conditions, meager storms, and an April end of operations for most of the region’s mountain resorts.
In December, Palisades Tahoe announced it broke its snowfall record for the month, as 211 inches of snow fell on the resort. Going into 2022, Palisades Tahoe was sitting at a season total of 265 inches snow and was well on its way to surpassing its average of 400 inches of snow per year and the 307 inches of snow that fell during the 2020-21 season.
During the next three months, however, a sparse 43 inches would dust the slopes. The Tuesday, March 29 storm brought another inch of snow to the upper mountain at the resort, bringing its season total to 308 inches.
The self-described “Spring Skiing Capital” will roll out a number of themed events through the month before closing winter operations on May 1. At Alpine Meadows, the resort said it plans to run Summit, Roundhouse, and Treeline Cirque lifts until April 17.
Palisades has also announced it will upgrade its Red Dog lift this summer. The storied lift is one of a few left in operation since the 1960 Winter Olympics. It was upgraded from a two-seater to a three-person lift in 1989. This summer it will be replaced with a high-speed, detachable six-person lift, and will be moved east to a new location, giving skiers and riders access from the parking lot. The lift will now pass over the Far East Express and terminate in the same location it does now. Construction is slated to begin later this month, with plans for the lift to be operational for next winter season. Red Dog will close on Sunday.
After a two-year absence, Palisades’ two premier spring events will return. Snow Golf will be held on Saturday, bringing skiers to the resort to play nine holes of golf, starting at the Summit chair. A new all ages, all levels yoga class will be hosted by Palisades Yoga Studio in front of SnoVentures at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Then, the original pond skim will return on April 16 as costumed skiers and riders attempt to make it across Cushing pond. The annual Cushing Crossing will be accompanied by music from G. Love and DJ Logic at the KT Deck.
Themed days for the remainder of the season include Caddy Shack this weekend in honor of the Snow Golf event; Beach Day on April 16-17; Wig out on the Wiggle on April 23-24, when the resort is encouraging guests to wear wigs; and Rodeo Day on April 30-May 1.
Tahoe Donner will be among the first to end the season, with plans to close its downhill operations on Sunday. The resort will close the season with a passholder party, featuring live music, food, discounted beverages, and its longtime annual event the Downhill Dummy, in which teams build dummies to send sliding down the hill and off a jump. This year’s theme is celebrities. Prizes will be awarded for best design, best air, and best crash. Downhill Dummy begins at 4:30 p.m. Music will run from 2 to 5 p.m.
Also closing Sunday will be Granlibakken Tahoe’s ski hill. The West Shore resort said it will keep its sled hill open until April 17.
Northstar California Resort came into 2022 with 274 inches of total snowfall. Since then the resort has seen 38 inches of snow. Northstar will end winter operations on April 17.
“Our teams are working hard to make the most of it for all our guests who come to visit us in the next week and a half. With summer quickly approaching though, we’re beginning to switch gears.”
Northstar will reopen its bike park, golf course, along with other summer offerings. The resort will also begin work on its Epic Lift Upgrade Project, in which the Comstock Express lift will have its capacity increased from a four-person lift to a six-seater.
A handful of other local resorts will wrap up the season mid-month. Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe, and Sugar Bowl Resort will all end the season on April 17.
Boreal Mountain Resort and sister resort Soda Springs have also targeted April 17 as the end of the ski season. Boreal was recently given a Visit California Poppy Award for Best Recovery Campaign for its Go-Time Tickets. The program allows skiers and riders to purchase online, select a start time, and get contactless mountain access.
“This past year we have all been given the challenge to be elastic in how we think about the industry. In parallel, we are modeling safety strategies and efficiencies that support our business continuity,” said Amy Ohran, Boreal general manager, in a news release. “While many of our strategies have been designed to adjust to the realities of COVID-19, we are finding that our industry is eager for evolution. Go Time Tickets have drastically improved the arrival experience and pacing of traffic through our parking and service areas, eliminating historical pinch-points and wait times.”
Nearby, Donner Ski Ranch has yet to announce a closing day, but will be offering free lift tickets to anyone dressed in a costume on Sunday.
Above Incline Village, Diamond Peak said it will end the season on Sunday. In South Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort will stop spinning lifts on April 24. Kirkwood Mountain Resort plans to continue operations until May 1.
Tahoe Donner — Sunday
Diamond Peak — Sunday
Granlibakken -Tahoe — Sunday
Homewood Mountain Resort — April 17
Boreal Mountain Resort — April 17
Soda Springs — April 17
Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe — April 17
Northstar California Resort — April 17
Sugar Bowl Resort — April 17
Heavenly Mountain Resort — April 24
Kirkwood Mountain Resort — May 1
Palisades Tahoe — May 1
Donner Ski Ranch — TBA
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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