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Tahoe Nugget #125:

Waiting for the Big One 
December 6, 2007

After an exceedingly dry November (Squaw Valley USA had only one day of snow with 8 inches above 8,000 feet on Nov. 11), the Lake Tahoe Basin is finally getting its first shot of winter. Snow is falling today and for local resorts, retailers and skiers and boarders, it's about time. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Warning for later today, tonight and tomorrow with heavy snow expected in the Sierra. Forecast is calling for 6 to 12 inches at lake level with up to 2 feet predicted in the higher terrain above 7,000 feet.

This incoming low pressure system originated in the Gulf of Alaska so temperatures will be cold and the snow dry, which will allow the powder to pile higher. For skiers, it's better to get heavy wet snow early in the season to build up a solid base over the rocks and steep terrain, but at this point, we'll take whatever we can get and love it.

Today's winter storm is a much-needed shot of adrenalin to our local, ski-based winter economy, and the 2 feet of powder will open up a lot of ski terrain, both at the resorts and in the backcountry. Up until today, hiking, fishing and mountain biking were the sports of choice, but it's now time to break out the boards! Several Tahoe resorts have had a few chairs and ski runs open since Thanksgiving, but this fresh snow will really get the bullwheels turning.

I took the attached photos yesterday, December 5, 2007, the day before the storm hit. You can see how badly we needed this snow.

Photo #1: Squaw Valley has been trying to make enough snow to open their top to bottom mountain run. It's been slow going.

Photo #2: No skiing yet!

Photo #3: Lift access on manmade snow near the golf course at Squaw Valley. Note sand traps in background.

Photo #4: Boreal Ski Area on Donner Pass can open their whole mountain with manmade snow if the temps are cold enough.

Photo #5: Close-up of an open run at Boreal. Note terrain features. Boreal caters to younger skiers and especially snowboarders who don't care about mountain topography. Many of them are skateboarders who want to do stunts and tricks on the rails and pipes and other installed features.

Snowmaking Squaw Mtn Run Best logo 12-07

Snowmaking empty chair logo Squaw

Snowmaking Squaw logo load 12-07

Snowmaking Boreal ski area logo 12-5-07

Snowmaking Boreal terrain logo features 12-07




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