Lake Tahoe: The Late Winter’s Tale

March 13, 2012

While sipping a cup of coffee with friends two weeks ago in an Incline Village cafe, the conversation inevitably turned to the lack of snow in the Sierra Nevada. With near record-breaking dry conditions for December, January, and much of February, it is a common discussion among Lake Tahoe locals and visitors.

More Tahoe Snow

As the talk ultimately turned to the effect the unseasonably warm, sunny weather is having on tourism, a slightly hunched over, elderly woman slowly shuffled past the table. As she did, she mumbled something.

“Beware the Ides of March,” she uttered in a hushed, craggy voice.

At first, the thought was she was talking about the popular movie starring George Clooney. But then everyone realized she might actually be referring to the weather after eavesdropping on the conversation.

Either way, just a short time later, amazingly, both interpretations of her warning have proven true.

Not only is the Clooney movie predictable and clich̩, but the Lake Tahoe region is once again being hit with another series of storms Рthe third time in as many weeks.

Considering more snow is expected to fall this week as the middle of March approaches than the previous three months, the long dry winter may finally be over.

Weather experts are calling for snow in the Sierra all week long and quite possibly eight out of the next 10 days. As much as five feet is expected to fall at higher elevations. Here is this week’s forecast according to Weather.com:

While much later than expected, the storms that have marched – and will march – through the area this month are welcoming signs to ski officials and vacationers looking to finally hit the slopes and fresh powder. State water officials are also starting to breathe a little sigh of relief.

In fact, all fictitious soothsayers aside, March is becoming quite a nice little wet weather story that even Shakespeare would be proud of.

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Ski Season Just a few Snow Ball Throws Away

October 4, 2011

It may not be enough to hit the slopes quite yet, but with this week’s forecast calling for the white stuff in the Sierra, people got black diamonds on their mind.

“Snow accumulation of 3 to 8 inches at higher elevations,” stated a National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday, Oct. 5. “Snow level will be 6500 feet decreasing to around 5000 feet in the afternoon. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 60 mph in the morning.”

With near 90 degree temperatures just a few days ago in the Sacramento area and high 70s in and around Lake Tahoe, this storm seems to be taking folks by surprise. In fact, the weather service reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned travelers in the Sierra not to take this early storm too lightly as it could bring heavy snow and strong winds.

While the storm may be fierce at times, warmer temperatures are due back later in the week. That means most of the white stuff will melt away well before anybody straps on a pair of skis or steps into a snowboard. Yet, the idea of it actually snowing in the Sierra has many people gearing up for the upcoming winter season.

Adding to the excitement is the news of Alpine Meadows merging with Squaw Valley. Not only are these two of the best ski resorts in Northern California, but both are on a short list for tops in the country.

“This was simply about the implementation of a vision,” said Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley. “A vision of something greater and pursuing a tremendous opportunity on behalf of our guests.”

Since the region in between both resorts is owned by a third party, it should be noted that users will not be able to ski or snowboard between the two. Come November, however, there will be a shuttle service running between the ski areas and connecting the two may be investigated in the future, officials said.

Yet, talk about ski resorts and snow fall in the mountains have people putting away their golf clubs and dusting off their skis. And since it’s still early October, maybe it’s not too far-fetched to, as Irving Berlin might put it, “dream of a white Halloween.”