Lake Tahoe storm brings 2 feet of snow, cross-country resorts reopen
March 4, 2015
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — More than two feet of snow blanketed the region after a storm swept through the Sierra this weekend, bringing winter back to Lake Tahoe and likely ensuring the 2014-15 ski season will last into spring.
Squaw Valley appeared to come out the big winner, as the resort northwest of Lake Tahoe on Sunday reported 32 inches of snow at upper mountain, while neighboring Alpine Meadows got 28 inches.
Meanwhile, Diamond Peak in Incline Village reported 24 inches had fallen by early Sunday morning at upper mountain. Sugar Bowl Resort in Norden near Donner Summit also reported 2 feet.
Sierra-at-Tahoe, located in Twin Bridges, Calif., south of South Lake Tahoe, reported 17 inches from the storm at its high-elevation areas.
Northstar California, located between Truckee and North Lake Tahoe, reported 16 inches, as did Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, located between Reno and Incline Village.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported 14 inches from the storm, and Boreal Mountain Resort, in Soda Springs, reported 12 inches of snow. On the South Shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort also reported 1 foot of snow.
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Elsewhere, it's unclear how much snow fell at Homewood Mountain Resort on the West Shore or at Tahoe Donner Downhill in Truckee, although a Facebook post Saturday from Homewood indicated 15 inches had fallen.
According to their websites Monday, both resorts remain closed due to low snow levels this winter.
In terms of the region's ongoing drought conditions, the storm didn't do much to help. The Truckee River Basin's snowpack measured 35 percent of normal on Sunday, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, with the Tahoe Basin's snowpack at 20 percent of normal.
Those numbers showed a 2 percent and 1 percent increase, respectively, from snowpack levels before the storm.
CROSS-COUNTRY RESORTS REOPEN
Royal Gorge Cross Country, located next to Sugar Bowl, reopened on Sunday with 14 machine-groomed trails on 17 kilometers of terrain, running out of the Summit Station Lodge in Soda Springs, according to a press release.
"As the operations crew busily grooms the new snow, Royal Gorge will open more trails throughout the week," officials said.
In Tahoe City, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area also reopened Sunday with 5 snowmobile-groomed trails on 20 km of terrain.
Tahoe Donner Cross Country remains closed, according to its website.
According to the National Weather Service in Reno, a much-smaller system is expected to quickly move through Truckee-Tahoe on Monday, and some snow, although nothing likely more than couple inches, may fall at higher elevations.
From there, temperatures are expected to reach the mid- to upper-50s by Thursday in Truckee, and by the weekend across the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
While ski resorts are heralding the storm as a much-needed boost to an otherwise abysmal snowpack for the fourth-straight winter, it also caused major headaches for mountain travelers on Saturday, as well as power outages.
Large portions of Incline Village, mainly in businesses and neighborhoods north of Highway 28, were without power for several hours Saturday.
Further, the Truckee Police Department responded to more than 15 reports of traffic collisions and vehicle spin-outs related to snowy and icy conditions, according to a statement at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Elsewhere, snow tire or chain restrictions were in effect along most highways and passes all day Saturday, including Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50, California highways 28, 89 and 267, and Nevada highways 28, 207 and 431.
While many accidents and spin-outs occurred across the region, no major injuries were reported.