More than a half foot of snow at Squaw Valley and cool temperatures make for a couple of tempting reasons for skiing or snowboarding right now in Lake Tahoe.
Squaw Valley, the only Tahoe ski resort that remains open, received 7 inches from the recent storm. The forecast calls for continued accumulation throughout the day, with 3-7 inches possible, as well as an additional 4-8 inches possible overnight tonight.
Alpine Meadows remains open and closes for the season Sunday, May 19.
The snow began Wednesday and continued early Thursday (May 16) morning. The National Weather Service is predicting intermittent snow throughout Thursday and scattered showers through Monday (May 20).
Snow in May? It can definitely happen in Tahoe. According to Associated Press, over the past century, snow has fallen in the month of May around half the time in Tahoe.
A weather pattern more typical of early March than mid-May came into the Lake Tahoe basin overnight, leaving behind a dusting of snow at lake level. This unusual and persistent weather pattern will continue to send cold Pacific storms into California and Nevada through next week. Expect periods of rain, mountain snow, and strong gusty winds.
Both today and Friday will be quite cool with highs 10 to 20 degrees below normal. The breeze will make it feel even cooler.
Squaw Valley remains open through July 7. Squaw is open daily through Memorial Day (May 27) and Friday through Sunday until July 7. Neighboring Alpine Meadows is now closed. The latest snow fall raised Squaw Valley’s season snow total to 689 inches, the most among Tahoe ski resorts.
After a break in the weather Friday into Saturday morning, another storm will arrive Saturday night into Sunday morning with more valley rain and mountain snow showers along with gusty winds. Looking further out, additional storms are possible next week with below normal temperatures continuing.
A lake wind advisory is in place until late Thursday night. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Lesser winds of 10 to 20 mph are possible in the morning.
National Weather Service Forecast
- Thursday, May 16 – Snow before 11 am, then snow showers later in the day. High near 46. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Snow showers possible in the evening. Low around 32. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New sow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
- Friday, May 17 – Scattered snow showers before 11 am. Partly sunny, with a high near 46. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Partly cloudy in the evening, with a low around 28. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.
- Saturday, May 18 – Scattered showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Rain showers likely before 11pm, then rain and snow showers. Low around 30. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
- Sunday, May 19 – Rain and snow showers. High near 43. Chance of precipitation 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Chance of rain and snow showers before 11pm, then a slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24.
- Monday, May 20 – A slight chance of snow showers before 11 am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.
It should come as no surprise that Tahoe ski resorts saw a 17-percent increase in snow visits for the 2019-19 ski season.
California and Nevada ski resorts had 7.3 million visits this season, according to preliminary figures released by the National Ski Areas Association and the California Ski Industry Association. That equates to a 17-percent from last year, and 11-percent above the 10-year average. The number of visits were up year-over-year every month from October through March.
The results are preliminary because three Tahoe ski resorts – Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly – remain open. The figures are estimated based on likely turnout for the remainder of the season.
Heavenly has extended the ski season through May 27. It is currently open Friday through Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm via the Gondola.
Nationwide, this year’s totals were the fourth-biggest season on record, with 59.1 million visitors to ski resorts.
More snow means California and Nevada resorts were able to open on time and stay open later. On average, resorts in the region stayed open for 145 days, the most since 2010-2011 and 16 days longer than last year’s average.