Don’t expect to be skiing or snowboarding this October in Lake Tahoe.
Traditionally, the first Tahoe ski resort to open has been Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. It has been the first resort to start running its lifts the previous four seasons, including last year’s opener Oct. 25. It was the second earliest Mt. Rose has ever opened for skiing and snowboarding. The previous best was Oct. 19, 2018.
With a little more than two weeks left in October, Mt. Rose has yet to begin snowmaking, even though there have been some recent low evening temperatures. Due to the coronavirus, Mt. Rose officials say another October opening is unlikely to happen.
“Mt. Rose has not turned on the guns, but the snowmaking system is ready and all the machines are in place,” said Mt. Rose spokesperson Mike Pierce. “So, we are ready but we’ll want some cooler temps to set in before this is possible. Typically, we’ll want below freezing temps with low humidity for a minimum of four hours before we’ll start blowing the fluff.”
A year ago, Mt. Rose opened the Wizard beginner lift for a somewhat ceremonial opening. Having more than one lift available this year is a necessity due to the pandemic virus.
“Our opening plan is to be skiing from to the top on day one in order to spread crowds out,” Pierce said. “This means that we’ll need to have several trails open and significantly more coverage than in years past. The reality is that an October opening day is doubtful with mid-November much more likely.”
For that very reason of social distancing, it’s unlikely any other Tahoe ski resort will open in October, either.
Located in Nevada off Mt. Rose Highway, Mt. Rose is 25 minutes from Reno and also close to North Lake Tahoe. Continued investments in snowmaking and cold overnight temperatures in recent years have combined to give Mt. Rose the opportunity to open early.
Last season, the resort invested $1.5 million in on-mountain improvements like major snowmaking machines and the resort’s new ticketing and lift gate system.