A third Vail Resort in Lake Tahoe will be opening this weekend.
Northstar California ski resort announced Friday it would be open for skiing and snowboarding Sunday (Dec. 12).
Located off Highway 267 in Truckee, Northstar entered this season with a plan to open by the Thanksgiving holiday.
In typical seasons, all three Vail resorts and many others throughout Tahoe would already have been open. However, this season is off to a slow start due to virtually no snow, and even more importantly, the lack of low temperatures that are conducive for snowmaking.
SNOW TOTALS: All three Vail resorts reported 9 inches from the snow storm that started Wednesday evening and ended Thursday afternoon.
“With continued cold temperatures and snowfall, we’re thrilled to share that Northstar will join Heavenly and Kirkwood in opening this weekend,” said Vail spokesperson Dennis Baggett.
NORTHSTAR TERRAIN: Like both Heavenly and Kirkwood, Northstar will open with limited access for its opener.
However, with a sizable storm expected to arrive Sunday and more snow next week, there’s little doubt that more extensive terrain will be quickly added by all Tahoe ski resorts.
Big Springs Gondola will begin loading at 8:30 am, while both the Arrow Express and Vista Express lifts will start running at 9 am. The lifts will access Skid Trail, Lumberjack, and Lower Main Street trails.
Northstar dining will be limited; only the Lodge at Big Springs is open.
HEAVENLY TERRAIN: Available trails for skiing and snowboarding at Saturday’s opener will be Gunbarrel Express, Aerial Tramway, Patsy’s Chair, and Powderbowl Express. Lifts are open at 8:30 am.
The Tamarack Lodge, Café Blue, Stein’s, and California Lodge will all be open for dining.
KIRKWOOD TERRAIN: The resort will operate Chair 5 (Solitude) with access to the Outlaw trail Saturday. The lift will begin loading at 9 am.
At Kirkwood, the Wall Bar, K Bar, Monte Wolf’s, and the General Store will all be available opening day.
WHAT TAHOE RESORTS ARE OPEN: Mt. Rose in Nevada, near Incline Village, opened Friday (Dec. 10).
Mt. Rose is running two lifts, Northwest Express and Wizard, for skiing and riding from 9 am to 4 pm, accessing trails Upper Northwest down through Kit Carson Bowl (plus Aida’s, Ramsey’s, and the top of Jetta).
Note that portions of Mt. Rose Highway (SR 431) – between Sky Tavern and Slide Road – are under repair this weekend and the ski resort can only be accessed via Incline Village.
Boreal Mountain was able to make snow and open the day after Thanksgiving, operating one lift.
Located off Interstate 80 at the Donner Summit, Boreal was able to stay open and also operate its night skiing until 9 pm.
Palisades Tahoe has also been open, offering modest skiing and riding on its beginner surface lift. Palisades should be adding more terrain soon.
Soda Springs has been open for the past few weekends, offering snowplay only. Lifts for skiing and riding will be coming soon.
WEATHER UPDATE: The snow throughout the Tahoe region this week was the first sizable snowfall since the region was hit hard by a late October storm.
But the bigger news is that much of Northern California and the Tahoe region should get walloped by a much larger storm that is expected to move in Sunday (Dec. 12) and last through Tuesday. There’s also a chance of snow Wednesday and Thursday.
According to OpenSnow Forecaster Bryan Allegretto, the second storm will have low pressure and slowly move south down the coast Sunday through Tuesday. Ridgetop wind gusts could increase to 100 mph.
A deep trough is going to dig south along the West Coast Sunday into Monday,” Allegretto said. “The trough will be bringing down more cold air, which is going to help keep snow levels low with this storm.”