It hasn't been an easy winter for Tahoe-area ski resorts. Some haven't even been able to open, and the ones that have are relying on man-made snow.
"It's been a challenging year but here at Northstar we've had the best conditions in Tahoe thanks fo our snowmakers and groomers here," Northstar Vice President and COO Bill Rock said."
But nothing compares to the real stuff-and that finally started falling. Northstar opened six more runs on Saturday and right now they're more than 30% open. And if the snow keeps falling, that could change quickly.
"When we get snow like this we'll open more terrain faster and have a ton of stuff open really quickly so people should stay tuned, there's more to come."
It's a huge difference from the last time Hill Valley resident Joseph Moran hit the slopes here. On Saturday he said conditions were ideal.
"They're perfect," Moran said. "Last time we came it was raining like crazy so we were just happy to wake up with about four inches of snow and get out here nice and early, it's been great."
Moran and Allison Decker were serving as counselors for kids with diabetes.
"I haven't snowboarded all that much so I can completely relate to falling as much as the kids do!" Decker said. "But I love the powder and it doesn't hurt to fall, it's gorgeous."
Some of the parking lots filled up early and Rock says now that it's finally snowing, it's a great time to showcase the improvements the resort made over the summer.
"People can check out the $30 million in investments we've made," Rock said. "We have the only 22-foot half pipe in Tahoe, we have a new lodge with on-mountain dining and a new lift and trails so I think people will really be excited to see all these new things.
For area students, the snow couldn't have come at a better time. Cooper Dietz from Truckee and Michael Lampe from Incline Village were enjoying the fresh tracks Saturday morning.
"It's pretty fantastic, it's like the first big storm of the year and I'm really excited," Dietz said. "This snow is amazing. I really love it, it's the best thing ever."
"We've been going in the powder, it's really fun," Lampe said. "I really enjoy the powder but this is the first time we've had it this year so I'm kind of not used to it and I've been falling a little bit but it's really nice, I love it."
Snow continued to fall at Northstar Saturday afternoon and more is in the forecast.
"You can see there's a lot of people here and there's a lot of smiles," Rock said. "People are having an awesome time, this is what we've been waiting for, so let's get out here!"