Winter enthusiasts converge on Boreal
The hard-core skiers and snowboarders who made the trek Friday to Boreal Mountain Resort to lay the inaugural tracks of the winter season didn't mind the cold or biting wind. It was the freezing rain that put a damper on the day.
Those conditions didn't keep everyone away, as hundreds of people converged on the California resort to make a few turns over the one run that made Boreal the first Lake Tahoe-area resort to open for the season.
Devin Black, 18, drove about two hours from Woodland, Calif., and was the first customer down the mountain, following the ski patrol. He said there was no chance rain or limited terrain would have kept him away from opening day.
"I've been waiting since last year," Black said.
His friend Nikko Van Aken, 16, said he was surprised by the quality of man-made snow.
"It's not bad. The snow's not bad right now for it all being fake," Van Aken said.
With only one short run open, Boreal was selling lift tickets for $22. Not everyone who made the trip was sure it was worth it for the thin strip of snow accessible by Gunnar's chair lift, the only lift running.
Winnie Lau, 20, drove from Davis, Calif., with two friends, but was taking her time in deciding whether to venture on the mountain to combat the rain and what she called a "sliver" of a run.
"I'm not even sure if I can carve that narrow," she said.
People willing to pass up the first day and head to the mountains this weekend might find a little more cooperation from Mother Nature, who was pushing a cold front over the Sierra Nevada on Friday that was changing rain into snow.
Snow levels early Friday were at about 8,500 feet, but that level dropped throughout the day and elevations at about 7,000 feet could receive about 2 inches of snow throughout the system, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Shane Snyder. Higher elevations could expect up to 7 inches, he said.
"All the precipitation is wasted as rain right now," Snyder said.
Boreal spokeswoman Rachael Woods said the resort prides itself on opening early and wanted to be available for season pass holders who might want to take a few turns.
"Combined with all our snow-making efforts and the fact we're expecting about a half a foot of snow tonight, it should be fun for people who show up," Woods said.
Other resorts are counting on the lower temperatures to help them open, too. Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe is eyeing the cold to help keep the snow-making machines blowing, said resort spokesman Russ Pecoraro.
"We're still a couple days away from opening, so we're just playing it by ear," Pecoraro said.
Snyder said that while everyone's eyeing precipitation because of the ski industry, the real weather story lies in the temperatures. The cold front should bring temperatures Sunday morning in the low 20s to Reno. Temperatures in the north valleys could drop as low as 10, he said.
"We'll be getting single digits to down below zero for up in the Sierra," Snyder said.
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.
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