The first significant storm of 2021 is on its way to Tahoe! NOAA has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in the Sierra starting Monday, January 4 at 4am and lasting until Tuesday morning. We expect operations to be impacted on Monday and Tuesday due to high winds, rime ice, and avalanche control. With potentially limited lifts and necessary Covid-19 distancing, skiers and riders must be prepared for extended periods of time outside.
High Winds Will Impact Lift Operations
The forecast calls for ridgetop winds gusting from the southwest up to 100+ mph. We anticipate that these extremely high winds will limit upper mountain lift operations on Monday. Please check the app, website, or operations Twitter for real-time status.
Snow Levels Expected to Drop Throughout the Storm
Snow levels are expected to start around 6500-7000 ft. on Monday morning and drop to the base by the evening. According to Bryan Allegreto’s latest weather blog, we could see 1-5 inches of snowfall at the base, 9-13 inches at mid-mountain, and 11-15 inches of new snow on the upper mountains by Tuesday morning.
The transition from rain to snow can lead to significant rime ice buildup on chairlifts. This season, we have reduced capacity in our lift terminals and enclosed motor rooms to allow for physical distancing. With fewer employees allowed in these areas, the work to remove the thick rime ice will take longer than usual.
Avalanche Control Will Take Longer due to Reduced Capacity in Troop Carriers
Troop Carriers are snowcats that transport Ski Patrol and other staff from the base area to key locations on the mountain, in order for our staff to perform avalanche control and other duties to open the mountains. This season, we have reduced troop carrier capacity by 75% to provide for physical distancing. Carriers frequently make round trips of 20 minutes or more. This means that avalanche control on Tuesday could take up to three times as long as it typically does. You can read more about avalanche control at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows here.
Be Prepared for Cold Weather and Very Limited Indoor Access
If you plan to ski or ride during this storm cycle, please be prepared to spend an extended amount of time in cold, windy, and wet conditions while following our Covid-19 protocols at all times: physical distancing and mask-wearing will be strictly enforced. Guests queuing in lift lines prior to opening may be asked to move so that lift operators can set up the lift mazes. Check out our tips for staying warm on a storm day.