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No snow at ski resorts? No problem

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.

No snow at ski resorts? No problem

Postby ERIC » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:38 pm

No snow at ski resorts? No problem.

Carla Roccapriore
Posted: 11/27/2005

Mother Nature didn't quite deliver the goods for tourists who planned months ago to spend Thanksgiving weekend skiing and snowboarding at Lake Tahoe.

And those who made the trek were forced to find other activities to keep themselves busy.

Barbara Cameron said her family made Thanksgiving reservations at Tahoe in September and was hoping for snow. Resorts opened as early as late October last season.

"I came up here anyway so I didn't have to cook," Cameron, 47, of Placerville, Calif., said Saturday at the Village at Squaw Valley USA. "We're spending all the money we would've spent on lift tickets in the shops."

A quick-moving storm did bring up to 4 inches of snow to the Sierra Nevada by Saturday morning, causing delays for mountain motorists. Chains were mandatory on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Nevada 88 over Carson Pass until the storm passed through the region Saturday morning.

Boreal Mountain Resort atop Donner Summit, which on Friday became the first Sierra resort to open for the season, reported 2 to 4 inches of new snow.

"The (colder) weather we're now experiencing is ideal for making snow," said Chris McAuliffe, Boreal's operations director. "The natural snow we've recently received is also extremely beneficial."

The resort now will be able to open a second lift today, McAuliffe added.

The National Weather Service was calling for between 5 inches and 8 inches of snow above 6,500 feet at Lake Tahoe from a storm expected Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon.

"The tricky part of the forecast is the snow level," said weather service forecaster Jon Bonk. "It looks like it'll be just above lake level."

Nonetheless, there wasn't enough snow Saturday to satisfy the skiers and snowboarders,

San Francisco Bay Area resident Henry Wu said the lack of snow was disappointing, but he was able to take his children tubing and sledding on some man-made snow on small slopes at Squaw.

"Yesterday morning was miserable, but we went to High Camp to ice skate and ice skating was pretty good," said Wu, 40.

Squaw had almost everything running except its lifts, village manager Kirk Wooldridge said. The Christmas tree was lit, people could rent bicycles and snowshoes or make their own candles, he said. Outside the village, lessons were offered on one beginner slope and there was an area where children could snow-tube.

As Alamo, Calif., resident Alex Maddux, 6, approached the snow-tube area with his parents, he noticed other children sliding down the hill and couldn't wait to do it himself.

"Cool. Did you see that kid? This is going to be so fun," Alex said.

"I want to go again," he said after sliding down the hill.

Kim Maddux, Alex's mother, said the family stayed in South Lake Tahoe but came to Squaw because no South Shore resorts had opened.

"We knew we weren't going to ski," said Kim Maddux, 41.

Resorts don't typically count on Thanksgiving.

"Thanksgiving is a bonus," Squaw spokeswoman Savannah Cowley said. "If you get it, great."

Marilyn Wood, owner of Marilyn's Cat Walk in Truckee, said she's heard locals compare this year with last year and mention that they're OK for now with minimal snowfall.

"A lot of people are saying it's making up for the spring we didn't get," Wood said, referring to last year's long winter. "But there were a lot of people who do wish they were skiing by Thanksgiving. It depends on whether you're a skier or not."

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