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Tahoe Nugget #175:

Olympic Heritage Celebration
January 17, 2010

After one of the best starts for snowfall in recent memory, the productive weather pattern pretty much fizzled out after New Years. The storm door didn't slam shut, but a split in the all-important jet stream gutted several potential Pacific storms of their energy. As a result, water content in the Tahoe Basin snowpack has fallen to less than 80 percent for the date.

But hang on to your skis because all that is going to change in a big way this week. The Sierra Nevada and Tahoe Basin are poised to get hammered by a series of juicy storms that have the potential to dump yards of snow. Indicative of the snowfall potential, note this Special Weather Statement posted today by the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service: "Significant snow is likely in the mountains with several feet of snow around the 5,000 foot elevation…and 10 FEET or more over the higher Sierra Nevada by next Saturday."

These weather systems are ripping across the Pacific, driven by a jet stream exceeding 200 mph. If the forecast and dynamics verify, Tahoe ski resorts will be smothered in bottomless powder by next weekend. Bring your snorkel.

The stormy weather is arriving just as Squaw Valley's first Olympic Heritage Celebration is winding down. Hundreds of people attended this week's party that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Current and former Olympians and top athletes were here, as well as veteran ski patrollers, moneyed glitterati, and lots of curious visitors.

A star-studded gala with more than 500 guests on Saturday night featured a silent auction to raise money for a new ski history museum at Squaw Valley.

Event organizers really lucked out. Ridge gusts this upcoming week will clock in at more than 100 mph at times, shutting down chairlift operations. Blizzard conditions will reduce visibility and snarl traffic. Road closures are anticipated at times over Donner Pass and Highway 50 south of the lake. These extreme conditions would have put a real damper on the Olympic Celebration turnout and reduced access to the mountain.

Photo #1: The NWS office in Reno posted this look at the Pacific storms lined up to hit the West Coast this week.
Photo #2: The Olympic Heritage Celebration attracted people from Europe and beyond.
Photo #3: The colored plaques on this original Tower of Nations represents all the countries that competed in the 1960 Winter Games.
Photo #4: The state of the art Funitel gondola at Squaw Valley USA is designed to operate in high wind conditions.
Photo #5: The Resort at Squaw Creek ice skating rink provides pleasure and spectacular views.
Photo #6: Lake Tahoe as storm clouds begin to roll in.

Nugget #175 NWS Storms Projection sized

Nugget #175 Tower of Nations sized

Nugget #175 OHC Sign sized

Nugget #175 Funitel Tram Sized

Nugget #175 Squaw Resort Ice Rink sized

Nugget #175 Lake Tahoe sized

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