Open season (even longer): Lake Tahoe resorts extend operations following record February snowfall | SierraSun.com

Open season (even longer): Lake Tahoe resorts extend operations following record February snowfall

After record snowfall in February, area resorts report skiers and riders can once again go deep into the calendar with an extended season.

With more than 50 feet of snow so far this season, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced lifts will spin at Squaw Valley until July 7, while Alpine Meadows will operate into May with a schedule dependent on weather — and the construction of a high-speed chair lift that will replace Hot Wheels.

Squaw Valley will be open from Friday through Sunday after Memorial Day. The resort's projected closing date of July 7 is just shy of the latest closing date ever at Squaw, which was July 15, 2017. Last year, Squaw closed following Memorial Day weekend.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has also rolled out season pass options for 2019-20, and is offering those who purchase an Ikon Pass for next year access to the resort beginning on April 8. Price of the Ikon Pass is currently $649 with blackout restrictions, or $949 for the full Ikon Pass.

Vail Resorts' subsidiaries around Lake Tahoe have also announced season extensions as well. Northstar California Resort, Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort will all remain open through at least the first two weeks of April.

"Record-breaking snow conditions paired with the hard work of our mountain operations teams have made for a truly unforgettable season so far," Mike Goar, vice president and chief operating officer of the Best of Tahoe Resorts, said in a statement. "With even more snow on the way, we are thrilled to extend the winter operations at all three of our Lake Tahoe resorts and offer skiers and riders additional opportunities to take advantage of these amazing spring conditions across the region."

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Following its record 286 inches of snow that fell in February, Northstar California Resort announced the mountain will remain open through April 21. Heavenly Mountain Resort plans to extend the season through April 28, and will also be open for a three-day weekend on May 3-5. Kirkwood Mountain Resort said it will spin lifts through April 14, and will also be open April 19-21.

Vail Resorts has also announced its Epic Pass is on sale for the 2019-20 ski season. Vail is offering several different options for passes, including the Epic Pass for $939, which offers unlimited access to the 15 resorts the company operates; the Tahoe Local Pass for $589, which offers unlimited access to Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood; and the Tahoe Value Pass for $499, which gives guests access with holiday restrictions at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. For more details, visit EpicPass.com.

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort is projecting April 14 for its closing day, which will include the mountain's annual season-ending party, featuring live music, food and drink specials, and the traditional Downhill Dummy event, in which teams build dummies to send sliding down the hill and off a jump. This year's theme for the event is cartoons. For more information or to register, visit TahoeDonner.com.

Season passes at Sugar Bowl go on sale on March 18, and will give skiers and riders access to the mountain for the rest of the 2018-19 season. Sugar Bowl will spin its lifts seven days a week until April 21, according to the resort, and will operate longer as conditions allow. An unrestricted pass at Sugar Bowl next year costs $699 for adults. Restricted passes cost $499 and midweek passes are $319. For more information, visit SugarBowl.com.

Boreal Mountain California has yet to announce a closing date, but typically ends the year with one final day of riding and skiing, the Summer Shred, in early June. The resort ended regular operations on April 22 last season.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village is extending its season through April 21.

The resort planned to close April 14, but conditions are too good to close that early, Diamond Peak General Manager Mike Bandelin said in a press release.

"We've had big winter storms this year, so the snowpack is in great shape and the spring skiing is going to be really fun," Bandelin said. "So rather than wait and announce the extension at the last minute, this year we wanted to give our pass holders and customers more of a heads up so they can plan their spring trips to the mountain."

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.