Tahoe area ski season winds down | SierraSun.com

Tahoe area ski season winds down

Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts are winding down the season as warmer temperatures melt the Sierra snowpack and lure people away from the slopes to other recreational activities.

Boreal and Diamond Peak plan to shut down operations this weekend. Others hope to push the season to the end of April or possibly into May.

“We have awesome coverage, we’re holding up really well,” said Jennie Bartlett, marketing manager for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, which is operating at 100 percent and is shooting for an April 27 end-of-season.

“It gets just warm enough to melt the snow pretty well during the day, and it freezes at night so that the snow is like popcorn seeds,” she said. “It’s been incredible.”

Christine Horvath, marketing director for Squaw Valley USA, agreed, saying the resort still holds 100 inches of snow on its upper mountain.

The resort will close May 11 at the earliest, Horvath said, making Squaw the last lake resort to stop running lifts.

Two other ski areas, Alpine Meadows and Heavenly Mountain Resort, will be one week shy of Squaw’s date, with a planned May 4 closing.

“The spring conditions are about as great as it can get,” said Rachael Woods, public relations manager for Alpine, which still has 10 feet of snow on the ground.

“Spring is a time when Alpine shines,” Woods added. “In the morning, people will ski the south-facing slopes, and migrate after lunch to the northwest-facing slopes and just get phenomenal skiing. It’s a magical time to be on the slopes.”

A series of strong winter storms early this year blanketed the Sierra, and cool temperatures this spring have helped preserve the snow.

The timing of the storms, many occurred on the weekends, hampered travel for many skiers and resulted in a weaker overall season than in previous years, said Daniel Pistoresi, marketing-communications manager for Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

At its high point, the resort had almost 170 inches of snow at the summit, and still has about 129 inches thanks to the resort’s high elevation. Its base is at 7,800 feet.

The resort plans to close down half of the mountain after this weekend and keep the front side open until April 27, Pistoresi said.

Northstar-at-Tahoe also will stop its lifts on April 27, said spokeswoman Jessica Vanpernis, while its sister-ski area, Sierra-at-Tahoe, will close on April 21.


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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