Meager Sierra snowpack forcing Sugar Bowl Resort to close Sunday | SierraSun.com

Meager Sierra snowpack forcing Sugar Bowl Resort to close Sunday

Staff report

Lake Tahoe's shoreline in Tahoe Vista on Tuesday shows how the lake is drying up amid the current drought.

NORDEN, Calif. — Add Sugar Bowl Resort to the growing list of Lake Tahoe ski areas to close early because of the Western drought.

The Donner Summit ski area will close for the 2014-15 ski season after this Sunday, officials announced Wednesday.

"Deteriorating snow conditions at the base of the mountain and no snow in the immediate forecast prompted the decision," resort officials said in a statement.

Sugar Bowl will operate through Sunday with the Mt. Lincoln Express, Christmas Tree Express and Nob Hill chairlifts, according to the statement, offering top-to-bottom skiing and riding on 40 trails.

"Sugar Bowl Resort would like to thank all season-pass holders, day skiers and staff for making the 2014/15 season the best it could possibly be, despite the challenging weather," officials said.

The news comes after Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort closed Monday until further notice due to the lack of snowfall.

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According to an announcement from the ski area south of South Lake Tahoe, conditions on the mountain have "deteriorated to the point where Sierra can no longer deliver a product that meets their standards."

It's reportedly the earliest closure for Sierra in about 40 years.

Snowpack throughout the Sierra is at or near historic lows as unseasonably warm temperatures have been the norm much of the winter.

Homewood Mountain Resort on the West Shore essentially shut down Feb. 23 for the season. Donner Ski Ranch and Tahoe Donner downhill also are closed, as are several cross-country ski areas.

Still-open resorts plan to stay open through Easter, which is Sunday, April 5.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, between Reno and Incline Village, will stay open through its scheduled closing date of April 19, the resort announced Wednesday.

"The spring skiing and riding conditions at Mt. Rose are incredible right now," Mike Pierce, director of marketing at Mt. Rose, said in a statement. "We're enjoying warm temps during the day which requires less layering, and the spring corn snow has made for some fun turns throughout the day."