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At long last, Silverado will be opening tomorrow, Saturday, January 21st, thanks to a humungous effort from our operations teams and the blessing of clear skies. After an additional 9 inches of snow on Wednesday night, which brings our January snow total to over 14 feet, the weather looks clear for more than a week. This is our first big break in storms since mid-December. We have been taking advantage of the sunshine to dig out and try to get ahead once again. We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited to have some Lake Tahoe sunshine back this week.
We have now received over 9 FEET of snow since January 1st! We think this means it’s okay for us to start using #JanuBuried again. We’ve had very few pockets of clear weather this week, but this endless snow is amazing: We surpassed 300 inches of season-to-date snowfall yesterday, and we have over 100 inches of snow in January alone. This amount of precipitation also comes with its own set of challenges, such as low visibility and avalanche danger — and some shockingly cool footage!
In the past 7 days, we’ve received over 5 feet of snow, and as of right now, there is no end in sight to the storm cycles. We’re already at 160% average snowpack for this time of year! Snowy weather is in the forecast for the next ten days with almost 100 inches possible at 8,000 feet. Winds have been roaring, and they’re going to continue to be a challenge throughout the next week. Snow has been nearly non-stop since mid-December now, so we are in a constant cycle of digging out and dealing with frozen chairlifts. This bodes well for a long spring season, though! Plus, some more good news: we’ve made some serious progress on Red Dog, which means both it and Far East will be opening soon.
Happy New Year! What an awesome way to start 2023: Across all of our elevations, we received more than 32 inches of snow. This storm has been an absolute whirlwind. There were moments when we thought it was going to be all rain, but snow levels dropped early yesterday morning and our snow totals have obliterated any projections. 32 inches is what we reported in the Palisades base area, so the higher you go, the deeper it gets. At one point, it was snowing 7 inches per hour yesterday evening! This storm set a record for our mountains as the most snow ever recorded in a 12-hour period. We were able to get quite a few lifts open today, and we’re adding even more to the schedule tomorrow ahead of another storm.
The ceaseless rain finally turned to snow at Palisades Tahoe just before sunrise this morning, but not before wreaking some serious havoc on the mountain. We experienced major flooding as our many creeks surged with water. This is one of the largest wet storms we’ve received in nearly two decades. While the water is much-needed, we are up against a series of challenges that will impact our lift operations for Sunday morning. We will be breaking lifts free from rime ice, performing avalanche control, and working to restore power at High Camp and near Ward Peak, while our grooming team will be doing a LOT of repair work on drainages and access roads. The good news is that IT IS SNOWING like crazy out there, and we have more snow in the forecast throughout this week.
After a brief break in weather on Wednesday, the wet, stormy cycle has returned. Ice is going to be the name of the game this weekend as we are receiving rain at several elevations with fluctuating snow levels. As you may know, it took a ton of work to break us free of all the ice buildup on Wednesday, and this storm we are getting currently has double the moisture. This means that the icing on lifts is probably going to be twice as bad. While the icing is likely to cause delays on Sunday, all of this precipitation is great: The snow on our upper mountains will be replenished, and our region desperately needs this rain. We are grateful for your patience while we work through these challenges with ice, and we hope these blogs help you understand more about everything we do to get the mountain ready.
The Tahoe basin got pounded with some much-needed rain and a light dusting of snow throughout this Monday-to-Wednesday storm cycle. It nuked snow on our upper elevations the whole time without letting up. Our storm total for this first cycle on the upper mountain came out to 18 inches, and this is just the beginning. Our crews dealt with some seriously high winds and quite a lot of ice out there the past few days, but we were able to rally and get almost every lift back on the schedule and opened today. We know that the Palisades specifically experienced a few more delays than people were hoping for, so we’ll explain what happened in a moment.
With the winds beginning to pick up and a “parade” of storms on the horizon, we’re expecting a very dynamic weather week through the New Year. There is a good chance our upper mountain lifts will be impacted for multiple days, and some of our outdoor events or activities may be canceled or relocated. While the immediate aftermath of this enormous storm series will present some challenges, California NEEDS this moisture and our snowpack will be in great shape as we enter the New Year.
Throughout this week, we have been finalizing the work needed to complete the interconnect and allow the Gondola to run as one continuous lift. If everything goes according to plan, then the Gondola will re-open and will be able to operate as one complete loop by early next week. If there are persistent issues related to operating as one continuous route, we will open the Base to Base Gondola and operate it as we did for its opening, as two separate lifts with an offload/onload at KT mid-station.
We are now at 125% of our average snowpack for December… Is it too soon to start using #DEEPcember again? Our storm total now rests at just shy of 6 feet. With all this new snow, we have literally been digging ourselves out for the past few days. Now, with a few dry days in the forecast and a great base of snow, we are turning our attention to terrain expansion.