As ski lovers wait (and wait and wait) for the real snow to fall, most ski resorts in Tahoe are relying on the man-made stuff to kick off the season.
Lots of resorts are open on a limited basis, but Heavenly Mountain Resort was able to offer top to bottom skiing this week. (Northstar also offers top to bottom skiing and has since November.)
For Heavenly, the option became possible with the opening of the Stagecoach Express on Wednesday. Stagecoach gives skiers and riders some 2,400 vertical feet. Heavenly says snow depths on the open trails range from 18-24 inches and snow coverage is wall-to-wall.
The resort credits the power of what it calls the "West Coast’s largest snow making system" for the option.
“It snows every night at Heavenly,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. “There’s no question."
The Stagecoach opening means the Nevada side is open. Heavenly says Ridge Run on the California side should be open by the weekend.
According to NBC Bay Area meteorologist Jeff Ranieri, the resorts should keep those snow machines well oiled.
There is no real snow in the foreseeable forecast. Ranieri says Tahoe could get a dusting of snow later this week with accumulation of just a couple inches.
He reminds us that although this is a La Nina year, that means extremes are expected and right now, there is "extreme"ly little snow.
This time last year we were talking about record breaking amounts.
Donner Ski Ranch's Lincoln Kauffman told KCRA he's becomeing concerned with the lack of snow as one of the most lucrative weeks of the entire year approaches. "We're doing a snow dance," Kauffman said.