Tahoe Sierra’s Drought doesn’t stop Tahoe Ski Resorts from Making Snow
Lake Tahoe may have a record lack of snow this Christmas Holiday, but it’s been very cold and all the Ski Resorts have been making snow like gang busters. My personal favorites for making snow are Boreal, Northstar and Alpine Meadows. Squaw Valley doesn’t have much coverage right now, but there is plenty to do here at Tahoe.
Check out this article from USA today…
Sierra snow drought could be one for record books
By Jeff DeLong, USA TODAY
And if that happens, it will be the first time in 128 years — since 1883 — that no precipitation will have fallen in December here, according to the National Weather Service and Desert Research Institute.
“It’s probably going to be dry until New Year‘s and possibly dry into the first week of January, too,” said Jim Wallmann of the National Weather Service.
The situation couldn’t be more different from this time last year, when the Lake Tahoe Basin’s snowpack was at more than twice the normal levels. On Tuesday, Tahoe’s snowpack was 10 percent of average.
The situation not only affects the ski slopes but also the water supply. Dry western states’ primary source of water all year is snow melt.
“I don’t see very much on the horizon except a continuation of what you’re seeing right now,” said Kelly Redmond of the Desert Research Institute’s Western Regional Climate Center. A stubborn ridge of high pressure is stationary in the Pacific, shouldering off storm systems to the north.
For Sierra ski resorts, which rely heavily on the Christmas holidays for business, it’s up to their snow-making machines to come to the rescue. Luckily, it’s been cold enough to run them.
At Boreal Mountain Resort, they’ve been making so much snow that they ran out of water to make more during a couple of days late last week. Boreal’s snow guns are now firing again, with more than 33 million gallons — a record for the resort — used for snow-making so far.
Boreal’s operators emphasize the positive — the snow they have on the resort’s slopes is top-quality, and the roads will be clear for skiers and snowboarders to get there over the holidays.
“Our product for the holidays is perfect for what we’re looking for,” resort spokesman Jon Slaughter said. “I don’t think it’s going to hold people back. They’re still going to come skiing.”
Pat McGoff of Reno enjoyed his first turns of the day Tuesday at Mount Rose Ski Tahoe.
“It’s sad we’re not getting snow, but last year we had a fantastic year,” McGoff said. “I think Mother Nature is getting even.”
Sierra resorts are “knocking it out” with snow-making as the holidays approach and should do fine dealing with a situation that’s not really all that uncommon, said Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association.
Resorts likely will offer tempting deals to attract customers during the important period, he said.
“I can remember other years when there were pretty sketchy conditions into January,” Roberts said. “We’ve been down this road before.”
The area’s reservoirs are in healthy shape after last year’s impressive winter. Still, a dry December doesn’t help things, Redmond said.
“If we lose December, it’s going to be really hard to make up the water year,” Redmond said.
Jeff DeLong also reports for the Reno Gazette-Journal.