Feelin’ a lot like spring | SierraSun.com

Feelin’ a lot like spring

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunDan Straub from Pontiac, Mich., fishes the boat dock of Donner Lake Wednesday.

Raccoon eyes are quickly becoming the must-have fashion accessory of the season as a week-long warm spell has brought spring-like conditions to Tahoe-area ski resorts.

Since Tuesday, Truckee has seen record or near-record temperatures as the mercury hovered in the mid-60s, and the warm weather had many local skiers and snowboarders out in T-shirts and even shorts.

But will all this warm weather mean a shortened season for local resorts? Or is the snowpack deep enough to provide ample skiing and riding opportunities for another couple of months?

At Northstar-at-Tahoe, a current base of 120 inches at the summit means the resort should have plenty of snow until its tentative April 17 closing date.

“It’s been extremely warm,” said Nicole Belt, marketing manager for Northstar. “I’ve been seeing people riding in T-shirts. That’s the great thing about California skiing. [The warm weather] is a good thing as far as convenience, and we’re definitely in good shape because of the strong storms we got in December and January.”

Northstar bases their decision on when to close for the season on skier interest, Belt said.

“We have a bit of a challenge in the spring when the weather warms up because we start competing with summer activities, like biking and going to the beach. We’re getting ready for our big spring push.”

That push will include special events like this Saturday’s “March-tober Fest” celebration in the Village and a special for college students, with $39 lift tickets Monday through Friday, March 14 – April 1, for students with a current student ID and a coupon printed off http://www.northstarattahoe.com.

Up on Donner Summit at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Marketing Director Greg Murtha expects that Tahoe will see a return of winter-like weather sometime before the resort closes ” tentatively scheduled for April 24. In the meantime, he and the resort’s guests have been enjoying the spring conditions.

“We saw a transition this last weekend from winter-like conditions to spring skiing and we’ve had cold nights and warm days so it’s setting up overnight and the skiing is really great,” he said.

According to Murtha, with a current snow depth between 132 and 180 inches, there should be plenty of snow let for the season, even without additional storms.

Over at Alpine Meadows ” which traditionally has one of the longest seasons in the Sierra ” a base depth that varies between 106 inches at the base and 158 inches at mid-mountain will ensure that there will be snow to ride through their traditional Memorial Day closing date, although management has not yet decided when the resort will officially close.

“It’s just the most beautiful weather I think anyone could ever ask for now,” said Rachel Woods, Alpine Meadows public relations director. “After January and February brought lots of snow, it’s nice to see the sunshine for a few days on end. And although March is known for great amounts of snowfall, it seems like people appreciate the sunny weather this time of year.

“It’s just a nice relaxing atmosphere at the ski resort. It seems like that sunny weather creates a friendly atmosphere amongst both guests and employees, and everyone here is in a great mood.”

Check out Alpine’s live music on the deck every weekend and Alpine’s $99 Spring Pass which is going on sale March 27 and allows unlimited skiing or riding for the rest of the season.

Finally, Squaw Valley will open the High Camp swimming pool and hot tub March 19. That weekend also kicks off ten weeks of springtime activities planned for the resort.

Squaw is currently advertising a base of more than 15 feet.

” Sierra Sun reporter Sylas Wright contributed to this report.

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