Sierra ski season off to bang with huge snowpack |

Sierra ski season off to bang with huge snowpack

Martin Griffith
The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. and#8212; The ultimate Christmas present awaited skiers and snowboarders this past weekend on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

Some resort operators are reporting the best Christmas holiday skiing conditions in decades after a string of recent storms bolstered an impressive early-season snowpack.

The storms brought the Lake Tahoe Basinand#8217;s snowpack to 219 percent of average for the date as of Friday, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

and#8220;The amount of snow we have seen this season is incredible,and#8221; said Jon Slaughter, spokesman for Boreal Mountain Resort atop Donner Summit. and#8220;I have never seen the snow banks as tall this early in the season.and#8221;

His resort has reported receiving 28 feet of snow in November and December, the most by far at Boreal over that period in 30 years of record-keeping. The bulk of the snow fell in the weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Some of the largest resorts at nearby Lake Tahoe have reported up to 25 feet of snow so far this season, which is nearly 75 percent of the average snowfall for the entire season, said Eric Doyne of Ski Lake Tahoe.

His group represents seven of Tahoeand#8217;s largest resorts: Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe and Squaw Valley.

and#8220;Some of the resorts have never seen ski conditions like this for Christmas,and#8221; Doyne told The Associated Press. and#8220;This is definitely one of the snowiest Christmas and New Yearand#8217;s holidays weand#8217;ve seen.and#8221;

Jeff Glover, 57, of Quincy, Calif., raved about the conditions last Thursday at Alpine Meadows.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s beautiful. Excellent conditions and#8212; cold, fresh powder,and#8221; he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. and#8220;It doesnand#8217;t get any better.and#8221;

Tourism officials said the latest storms positioned resorts to take advantage of the week after Christmas, traditionally one of the three busiest periods of the ski season along with the Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Day holiday weekends.

and#8220;We are a snow-driven economy,and#8221; said Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. and#8220;When Mother Nature delivers, the visitor experience is enhanced, and businesses large and small prosper.and#8221;

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.