Lake Tahoe resorts popular with Bay Area residents are gearing up for favorable conditions Presidents Day weekend thanks to a series of storms that dropped more than 6 feet of snow in the region in less than a week.
Combined with a blanketing of fresh powder in the week prior, some parts of the winter destination have seen more than 10 feet of snow over a two-week span. While weather analysts said the recent storms have not resolved regional drought conditions, area resorts are boasting prime terrain for skiers and snowboarders.
“With such powerful recent storms, the ski conditions at Kirkwood, Heavenly and Northstar are amazing, and guests on both sides of Lake Tahoe are so excited for more terrain,” said Bill Rock, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the resorts.
The three resorts are offering a total of 173 trails, including several newly-opened popular runs, via 39 lifts. Prior to the holiday weekend, Kirkwood is slated to open 100 percent of the mountain — the first Tahoe resort to do so this season — while Northstar expects to open 100 percent of its backside trails, a spokesperson for the resorts said.
Melissa Brouse, spokeswoman for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows resorts, said the two mountains received 66 and 61 inches of snow, respectively, in the last week. And forecasts from NOAA are predicting up to 8 inches of new snow by Sunday evening in the upper elevations, she noted.
While the resorts relied on snowmaking early in the season to boost terrain quality, they’re now “seeing winter conditions all around Tahoe,” Brouse said.
“It looks like we have a great weekend on tap. It’s a holiday weekend, and I think people will be coming up to the Tahoe area to enjoy the new snow,” she said.
As of Thursday, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows had 28 lifts and 110 trails open across both mountains, she said.
Expectations from some Tahoe resorts prior to the new season were that they would see average snow levels, approximately 400 to 450 inches. With a couple months still to go, at least two resorts are giving the season a thumbs-up, Brouse said.
“Overall it’s been great skiing and riding, and we’re just enjoying what we have,” she said.