Ski resorts hope for end-of-year snowfall | SierraSun.com

Ski resorts hope for end-of-year snowfall

David Bunker
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun A mist of snow from a snow making machine at Sugarbowl Ski Resort cascades over a snowboarder Wednesday.
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After a dry December, Truckee can expect a cold, stormy pattern to finish off the year.Cold temperatures, light winds and sunny skies are in store for the area through Christmas, with a chance of snow coming on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Reno. Another storm could move through the area before the new year. “We’re going to be transitioning from the high pressure system that we’ve been seeing,” said Wendell Hohmann, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Overall it’s going to be more stormy for the next couple weeks.”The cold air that comes with the storms will mean that snow levels will be low, possibly reaching the valley floors, said Hohmann.

The prospect of new snowfall is good news for ski resorts that have weathered the December dry spell with increased snowmaking. Still, resorts are reporting good conditions and good revenues for the beginning of the ski season.”For Boreal, because we’ve been able to open so early, our numbers are strong,” said Jody Churich, marketing director for Boreal, Soda Springs and Alpine Meadows. The resort has taken advantage of the cold nighttime temperatures by making snow regularly. But a little natural snow for the holidays would be welcome, she said.”A nice little powder shot wouldn’t hurt,” said Churich.

Alpine Meadows has been making snow and will have 10 lifts open for the holidays, while, “Every single thing will be open at Soda Springs,” said Churich.That includes the Planet Kids, a new feature at the resort that caters to kids 10 and under with mini snowmobile rentals, a tube carousel and a moving carpet for kids that are too young to negotiate the ski lifts.Northstar at Tahoe is running 14 lifts and operating without a hitch despite the major construction going on at the site of the resort’s new village. Replacement locations house rental shops, restaurants and ticket sales even closer to the gondola than before construction began. “I really thought that we could do something better than the Clocktower [where ticket were sold before construction] with less-than-permanent facilities, and they really hit a home run with this one,” said Northstar General Manager Tim Silva of the temporary structures.

Sugar Bowl expects to open up its superpipe for the holidays, and is hoping that the coming holiday weeks will add to the resort’s strong start.”Because of the early opening, we’re having a good year,” said Kristin York, marketing manager for Sugar Bowl.The resort is augmenting a solid snow base by making snow and doing some extra grooming on the runs. And York said she’s hoping that next week brings new powder to the mountain.”We’re just taking what Mother Nature gives us,” said York.