Put the carving boards away, and pull out the fat pontoons again. Snow reports today (Jan. 12) rang with long-awaited new snows across the west, with dumps over a foot deep in the Sierra Mountains. Warm, dry weather clutched the region since the New Year, keeping the skies blue, but the slopes in dire need of a fresh coat. "December was consistently good," Kirstin Cattell, spokesperson for Northstar-at-Tahoe told OnTheSnow.com. "The storm door closed at New Year, but now it's back open."
The Lake Tahoe area picked up the biggest dump in the West. Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Dodge Ridge, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Soda Springs, Squaw Valley, Mt. Rose, and Diamond Peak stacked up around a foot of new snow by early morning. Ski patrollers scrambled for their avalanche control routes, and lift operators grabbed shovels to dig out terminals.
Northstar-at-Tahoe, however, came out on top with 18 inches by this morning. "Everybody is pretty giddy about getting out skiing or riding today," said Cattell. "Snow is exactly what we needed and just in time for the (MLK) holiday weekend."
The National Weather Service expects the storm to continue throughout Wednesday with snow accumulating up to five inches more at most resorts by 4 p.m. Cattell indicated that Northstar could see a foot more of snowfall by evening.
Those looking to ski Tahoe resorts over the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend may find themselves in for a treat. Forecasts are calling for snow all next week, starting on Sunday.
Cattell reported that the roads to the resorts are plowed. Chains are required except for four-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires. "Just take it slow," added Cattell, advising drivers to rein in the powder fever on the road for safety.
The storm also extended south and north of Lake Tahoe, but resorts saw less snow accumulation. Bear Valley and Sierra Summit saw over six inches of new snow, while Mammoth Mountain totaled 15 inches in the last 24 hours. The central Sierra resorts also expect more snow throughout the day Wednesday.
Oregon finally saw relief, too, from the snow drought with Mt. Bachelor tallying seven new inches. But warm, wet weather still persists across the Washington Cascades-dropping rain on lower elevations and a few inches of snow in higher elevations at Crystal Mountain. A colder weather system is expected to move in over the holiday weekend, pushing the freezing level back down and bringing fresh snow.