Severe weather is creating havoc for skiers and snowboarders hoping to visit Tahoe ski resorts for President’s Day weekend.
Due to heavy snow since Thursday afternoon and white-out conditions, Interstate-80 has been closed since Thursday night from Applegate to the Nevada border. No time been announced Friday (Feb. 15) for reopening.
On Highway 50, the road into South Lake Tahoe has been closed from Twin Bridges to Myers just outside of south shore.
And it could get worse later today. Snow levels may dip to 2,000 feet today, which means it may snow in Colfax along I-80 and Highway 50 in Placerville.
A winter storm warning has been issued through 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The snow has been coming down hard and fast at Tahoe ski resorts. At Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows off I-80 in Truckee, Alpine received 28 inches overnight and Squaw Valley had 2 feet (24 inches) of snow. On Twitter, Squaw Valley issued this announcement regarding Friday skiing and riding.
“Due to high avalanche danger, the following lifts will not operate today at Squaw Valley: Funitel, KT22, Shirley Lake, Gold Coast, Big Blue. All aerial lifts at Alpine Meadows will begin the day on wind hold.”
Northstar California was reporting 26 inches Friday morning, but was having a delayed opening. On Twitter, Northstar announced that forecasted high winds and a strong storm have put all lifts on hold early this morning.
In South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain received 21 inches by Friday morning and Sierra-at-Tahoe had 2 feet of fresh snow. Heavenly announced a delayed opening on Twitter and Sierra is also on delayed hold, but expects Easy Rider Express and Nob Hill to be open as early as possible.
Located in Incline Village in North Lake Tahoe, family-friendly Diamond Peak has received 33 inches over the last 24-hours. Like all Tahoe ski resorts, its hoping skiers and riders will be able to get to the resort to enjoy it. Delays were expected Friday morning.
“We hope President’s Day weekend skiers and riders are ready for fresh snow because it’s piling up on the slopes,” Diamond Peak spokesperson Paul Raymore said. “Our weather forecaster is predicting up to 50 inches of new snow by Saturday morning on the upper mountain. Regardless, our mountain operations teams will be doing everything we can to open lifts and terrain on time, with a nice mix of groomed runs and fresh powder available.”
Sugar Bowl received 23 inches of new snow by Friday morning, but one of the issues is getting there due to the road closures. On its website, Sugar Bowl wrote Friday morning: “High winds and heavy snow accumulations are hampering mountain operations ability to open the resort. We will continue working to get lifts running.”
Sugar Bowl has received 160 inches of snow in February and 227 inches in the past 30 days.
“We pride ourselves in being able to get the resort open, no matter what the conditions. But safety is the top priority and today’s (Thursday) conditions presented unsurmountable obstacles,” said Sugar Bowl spokesperson Jon Slaughter.
Severe weather conditions, highlighted by more than 1,000 lightning strikes in the region, shut down Tahoe ski resorts Thursday.
The lightening, a rarity this time of year, took place over a 12-hour stretch in the Sierra and Western Nevada. Regardless of the time of year, when lightning strikes its best to quickly go indoors.
Alpine Meadows may have been the only Tahoe ski resort that stayed open Thursday afternoon (Feb. 14).
WEATHER REPORT: According to Bryan Allegretto, OpenSnow California Snow Forecaster, high winds will continue with gusts of possible 100 mph, which will no doubt have Tahoe ski resorts shutting down upper mountain lifts Friday.
Allegretto says another storm wave arrives Saturday with snow levels dropping to as low as 2,000 feet. He predicts 1½ to 3 feet of powdery snow. Allegretto believes the week of Feb. 18-23 the weather may remain cold but with a drier pattern arriving. Light snow could fall Wednesday and Thursday.