Lake Tahoe ski resorts see first snow storm of the season, more on the way
Lake Tahoe ski resorts are celebrating the arrival of the first snow storm of the season, with several inches having fallen and more on the way. Mother Nature's fall delivery sets the winter season in motion for a promising ski and snowboard season.
“It’s not unusual to have snow in October,” said Chief Marketing Officer Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association. “This time of year, weather changes on a dime. Ideally, though, we love to see a few good storms come through this month and next along with cooler evening temperatures. With resorts investing millions of dollars in snowmaking equipment, we can complement what falls from the sky providing a good base, which makes for a stellar ski season.”
According to the National Weather Service, snow is predicted through Thursday with heavier amounts falling Monday afternoon and Tuesday – up to two feet at the region’s higher elevations. The sun will come out Friday with highs inching back up to the 50s. For updates go to www.GoTahoeNorth.com and www.TahoeSouth.com
Taking a cue from the three to six inches of snow Mother Nature provided South Lake Tahoe on Monday, Heavenly Mountain Resort will fire up the largest snowmaking system on the West Coast when the sun goes down and begin making snow at the top of Gondola, on California Trail and Orion’s Run.
Combining natural snowfall, snowmaking horsepower and Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation, guests are assured the best, most consistent and reliable snow surfaces when Heavenly opens for skiing and snowboarding on Friday, November 16, 2012.
“Last season, our guests saw how important snowmaking is to the overall ski and ride experience,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. “This early natural snow is encouraging and is, hopefully, an indicator for a big season of snowfall ahead. But, if that doesn’t happen, our guests can be confident in our commitment to provide the best possible snow conditions.”
With a winter storm warning in effect until Tuesday morning, the forecast for the remainder of the week calls for snow until Thursday, with up to 32 total inches expected in the higher elevations. Historically, almost every year that Heavenly has experienced significant snowfall in October, the following winter was above average. The average October snowfall total is 3.06 inches, with October 2004 experiencing the most recent largest snowfall for the month (24”). The 2004-05 winter recorded the fifth biggest snowfall season on record. With outlets like Accuweather calling for a return to normal snowfall for winter 2012-13, Lake Tahoe’s high annual snowfall average should position Heavenly for a big winter.
If Mother Nature doesn’t come through as anticipated, under optimum conditions, Heavenly can cover 73 percent of its 97 trails in machine-made snow, by far the most in the Lake Tahoe basin. In more visual terms, Heavenly can produce three-and-a-half feet of snow over one acre in an hour. That’s enough snow to blanket a football field with eight-and-a-half feet during an average three-hour game.