VIDEO: Sierra snowpack increases dramatically over past week



LAKE TAHOE (KRON/AP) — For ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada, it’s a good problem to have: too much snow.

Recent storms walloping mountains across the West dropped up to 10 feet of snow, creating thrilling powdery runs. But once avalanche danger emerged on roads and at the slopes, several resorts made the unusual move of shutting down.

While the closures cost resorts income from lift tickets, the businesses will likely make it up in the long run by promoting the fresh snow on Twitter and getting more people excited to come up and carve powder turns.

It’s a change from previous years beleaguered by drought.

Meanwhile, all the ski resorts are back open Friday after the storm brought fresh powder to the Sierra.

In the last 24 hours, Northstar got one inch of snow.

That’s nothing compared to the 5 feet of snow that fell from Wednesday to Thursday. Eleven of the 20 lifts are open.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort got a total of 7 inches of snow in the last 24 hours.

A bit more than Northstar, but basically, it was just a dusting compared to the blizzard earlier this week.

Nearly 6 feet of fresh snow fell from Wednesday to Thursday. Five of the 15 lifts at Kirkwood are open.

And in Squaw Valley, a good amount of new snow on Friday. Ten inches of fresh powder fell in the last 24 hours.

Squaw got a little over 4 feet of snow on Wednesday and Thursday.

Twenty-eight of the 42 lifts there are open.


Heavy snow typically does not affect resort operations, but it often creates problems on the roads leading to the slopes, said Chris Linsmayer, a spokesman for Colorado Ski Country USA, an industry group representing more than 20 resorts.

“It’s extremely rare (for snow to close a resort). I’ve been skiing my whole life and it’s never happened to me,” he said.

It’s hard to say how often resorts close because of heavy snow, but most agree it’s unusual.

Dan Lavely, who has lived in the Lake Tahoe area for decades, was looking forward to heading to the Mount Rose ski resort southwest of Reno. More than 10 feet of snow fell in about a week at some area resorts.

“In all my years, it’s so rare to have too much snow,” Lavely said Wednesday. “Having a season pass — you pretty much live for these conditions. You want 2 or 3 feet of fresh powder, and you want to go play in it.”

Wintry conditions close resorts in the Sierra Nevada, the mountains spanning California and Nevada, more often than those in Colorado because they get massive amounts of snow all at once, said Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association.


In the Sierra Nevada, storms dumped the most snow the mountains have seen in six years, the National Weather Service in Reno said. It helped ease the effects of California’s lingering drought, with federal monitors saying Thursday that more than 40 percent of California is out of drought.

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