Sierra snow ahead
A dose of winter is forecast for arrival this weekend, giving local ski resorts hopes of pre-Thanksgiving openings.
A Pacific storm moving in on Friday night is expected to drop up to 5 inches of snow at high elevations around Truckee and North Tahoe. Precipitation may begin as rain at lake level, but is expected to change to snow by early Saturday, said Ray Collins, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.
Another storm, beginning Sunday night, is also expected to bring wind and snow to high elevations.
While forecasters and ski resorts are unsure if the two storms will be enough to kick off the ski season, they have their fingers crossed.
“It’ll help,” said Collins. “At least we’re heading in the right direction.”
Employees at Sugar Bowl are poised to open the mountain as soon as enough snow falls from the sky, said spokeswoman Kris York.
The resort also began making snow on some of their slopes on Wednesday, she said.
“If we have enough snow next weekend, we’ll open up,” York said.
Many ski resorts have tentative opening dates scheduled for Nov. 17 or 18.
Northstar at Tahoe is waiting for temperatures to drop low enough to fire up its snow-making system, which can churn out enough snow in 48 hours to open the slopes for skiing, said spokeswoman Nicole Cox.
“We’re still optimistic that we can open on the 18th, but it’s completely dependent on the weather,” Cox said.
Last year, winter got off to a slow start. A high-pressure system kept clouds and precipitation from the area in November. Boreal Mountain Resort pulled off a Thanksgiving opening by laying down a strip of man-made snow. But other resorts opened in early December.
This year, with mild el nino conditions (where Pacific Ocean temperatures rise to elevated levels), predicting winter weather will be difficult, said Collins.
“When you get up to Lake Tahoe, it is a little trickier [to predict what effect el nino will have],” said Collins. “It could go either way.”
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.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
In order to increase the pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution to those at greatest risk, the state is prioritizing individuals 65 and older to receive the vaccine as demand subsides among health care workers.