Monster Snowpack Extends Skiing Season in Sierra

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A monster snowpack will keep skiers and snowboarders on the slopes longer than usual in the Sierra Nevada.

Ski resorts, which typically shut down for the season in April as warmer weather approaches, announced plans to extend the season to take advantage of one of the snowiest winters since 1950.

Squaw Valley USA, just north of Lake Tahoe, will be open daily through May 8 and for Friday and weekend operations through Memorial Day. The resort received 57 feet of snow this season, surpassing its previous record of 55 feet of snow set in the 1994-95.

Andy Wirth, its CEO, said with the amount of snowfall, the resort will consider opening on Independence Day.

The Boreal resort atop Donner Summit extended its daily operations to April 24 and its Friday-to-Sunday operations through May as conditions permit. The resort received 64 feet of snow this season, surpassing its record of 55 feet set in 1994-95.

"We are really excited to head into this spring with so much snow," spokesman Jon Slaughter said.

Kirkwood Ski Resort, south of Tahoe, extended its season to at least until early May after receiving 59 feet of snow this season, just short of its record of 63 feet set in 1982.

"It's some of the best spring skiing conditions you'll ever find," Kirkwood spokesman Michael Dalzell told The Record of Stockton, Calif.

Farther south, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area said it could stay open until the Fourth of July after receiving 17 feet of snow in March, a record for the month.

Among other resorts in the Tahoe area, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe extended its season from April 24 to May 6 and Alpine Meadows pushed back its closing from May 8 to May 15.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday repealed a statewide drought declaration made in 2008 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after state officials reported the water content in the Sierra snowpack at 165 percent of normal for this time of year.

More than 61 feet of snow has fallen in the Sierra high country so far this season, second only to 1950-51, when 65 feet fell, according to records kept by the California Department of Transportation.

A string of powerful March storms provided a major boost to the snowpack.

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