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Storm just what ski resorts needed before Christmas

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Storm just what ski resorts needed before Christmas

Postby ERIC » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:02 pm

Storm just what Sierra ski resorts needed before Christmas period

Martin Griffith
December 20, 2005



Reno (AP) -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Lake Tahoe ski resorts after a weekend storm dumped up to 3 feet of snow.

Resort operators said the timing of the storm - the strongest of the season so far in the Sierra Nevada - couldn't be better because the week after Christmas Day usually is one of their busiest of the year.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported 2 to 3 feet of snow from the storm. Alpine Meadows ski resort just north of Lake Tahoe reported 19 inches to 27 inches.

"This is fabulous timing and we're totally happy with it," said Tracy Miller, spokeswoman for Kirkwood. "It gives us plenty of snow to work with."

Jody Churich, spokeswoman for the Alpine Meadows and Boreal resorts, said the snow would allow her resorts to open more lifts by Christmas, conditions permitting.

On Monday, four of nine lifts were open at Boreal and seven of 11 were in operation at Alpine Meadows.

While 100 percent of Kirkwood's terrain is open, most Sierra resorts have offered only limited operations since a relatively dry start to the season.

"It's definitely the kind of snow that's building a fantastic base," Churich said. "It's setting us up perfectly for Christmas. It's what we want for a white Christmas for sure."

But the National Weather Service's forecast for later this week could cause rain to fall on ski resorts' parade.

It was calling for a snow level of 7,000 feet when the next system pushes through the Sierra on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The last storm's snow level started out at 4,500 feet before climbing to 6,500 feet.

"The resorts are going to have some issues with the next system," said Scott McGuire, spokesman for the weather service in Reno. "Their lower runs, unfortunately, are going to get a decent amount of rain. However, higher-elevation resorts should be good to go."

Elsewhere, the storm left up to 3 feet of snow at the Mammoth Mountain ski resort near Yosemite National Park and 2 feet at the Heavenly resort on Lake Tahoe's south shore.



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Surprise storm good news for Dodge Ridge

Postby ERIC » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:07 pm

Surprise storm good news for Dodge Ridge

Published: December 19, 2005
By LENORE RUTHERFORD and The Associated Press


A surprise weekend snowstorm dropped 16 to 20 inches of new snow at Dodge Ridge Winter Sports Area, allowing the resort off Highway 108 to announce it would open for the season tomorrow.

The storm added 23 to 27 inches of new snow to the pack at Bear Valley Mountain Resort off Highway 4 in Alpine County.

The intense storm soaked the foothills, dropping 2.36 inches of rain in Sonora and 3.58 inches to Twain Harte. Pinecrest had 1.25 inches of snow on the ground this morning, and got 2.67 inches of rain over the weekend.

"Unfortunately, we got a little rain yesterday afternoon," Dan Kelsey, director of marketing at Dodge Ridge, said this morning. "But the snow still looks good. The storm door is open, and we're excited."

He said the resort will be up and running tomorrow and will have plenty of snow in time for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

"That's when all ski resorts usually get 25 percent of their business for the whole year," he said.

Ken Brunges, hill manager at Leland High Sierra Snow Play off Leland Meadow Road, said the resort opened yesterday with lots of new snow, but it was raining when he went to bed last night.

He suggested calling ahead about conditions because of the rain that fell yesterday. The number is 965-4719.

Bear Valley, off Highway 4 and just east of the Calaveras County line, has been open since Dec. 7. Seventy percent of the terrain is open with 55 inches of snow at the top and 44 inches total at the bottom.

Friday morning, forecasters were saying this weekend's storm would produce light rain in the foothills and virtually no snow in the high country.

But by Saturday morning, it had intensified enough to prompt a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service.

The storm ended up dropping 14 to 27 inches of snow above 6,000 feet, said Robert Baruffaldi, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The snow level lowered to around 4,000 feet for a short time Saturday, but soon raised to about 6,000 feet, he said.

Baruffaldi said a series of relatively warm storms is expected to come through this week, producing a chance of rain and snow.

Snow levels are expected to be above 7,000 or 8,000 feet today and tomorrow, he said.

Elsewhere in the state, the storm brought strong winds and heavy rain to Northern California yesterday, causing flooding, traffic accidents and power outages from Monterey to the Oregon border.

The storm brought an average of 3 to 4 inches of rainfall in the Bay Area, with Big Sur and parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains collecting more than 7 inches in the 24-hour period ending 4 p.m. yesterday, said NWS meteorologist Rick Canepa.

Flood advisories were issued throughout the Bay Area.

The storm then moved east to the Central Valley near Sacramento and continued on to the Sierra Nevada, where it was expected to bring welcome snowfall overnight to ski resorts that have been suffering from lack of precipitation.

Most of yesterday's severe weather warnings were lifted by mid-afternoon, although wet weather was expected to continue until this evening, Walbrun said.

Contact Lenore Rutherford at lrutherford@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4526.
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