…And There May Be More Snow Coming Next Week!

Bear Valley Pond Skimming. Silly season is in out in happy, snow-filled California. Credit: Steve Peixotta/ Bear Valley
Bear Valley Pond Skimming. Silly season is on out in happy, snow-filled California.
Credit: Steve Peixotta/ Bear Valley

As one of the best ski seasons in the Sierra Nevada in the past five years winds down, resort operators can look back and smile broadly about the steady stream of mid-size snowstorms that rolled over their resorts on a regular basis all season long, making for consistently ideal conditions and doubling the overall snow depths, operating days, and skier/boarder visits, compared to last year and the several years before that. And it’s not over! Although rain is forecast for this weekend at most locations, a few inches of snow are predicted for next Thursday, April 14th.

April—And May!—Closing Dates

Corduroy corn on Mt. Rose. It's been a good year for the Sierra Tahoe area. Credit: Mt. Rose/ Ski Tahoe
Corduroy corn on Mt. Rose. It’s been a good year for the Sierra Tahoe area.
Credit: Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe

If you haven’t stowed away your wintersports equipment yet, you still have time in the coming weeks to get in a few more runs on some nice corn snow. Here are the closing dates as of April 7  for the following ski areas (may change, subject to snow melt and snowfalls!):

Last day of operation this coming Sunday, April 10th: Bear Valley and Bear Valley Cross-Country, Homewood, June Mountain, Soda Springs, Tahoe Donner.
Operating through Tuesday, April 12th: Donner Ski Ranch, Mt. Shasta.
Open through Sunday, April 17th: Boreal Mountain Resort, Diamond Peak, Kirkwood, Northstar.
Open until Sunday, April 24th: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Ski China Peak, Sugar Bowl.

Open through Saturday, April 30th: Sierra-at-Tahoe

Operating through Sunday, May 8th: Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe.

Staying open through Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th: Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain (the latter will operate longer if there’s still skiable and boardable terrain).

Those resorts that have already closed include all Southern California ski areas, Badger Pass in Yosemite, and Dodge Ridge.

How Much Snow Was There?

Senior XC skier Pat Van Mullem after skiing 50 km at Bear Valley XC. Credit: Paul Petersen/ Bear Valley
Senior XC skier Pat VanMullem, 62,  after skiing 50 km at Bear Valley XC.
Credit: Paul Petersen/ Bear Valley

Currently, in this first week of April, the major Northern and Central California ski areas are still swathed in snow with base depths ranging from 43 inches (Northstar) to 96 inches (Bear Valley) and top-of-the-mountain depths ranging from 94 inches (Heavenly) to 201 inches—nearly 17 feet! (Mammoth). But what’s really impressive is the total number of inches of snow that fell this winter, with many resorts getting three times the amount of snow as they did in recent past seasons. Here are some of the prodigious snowfall totals for this season to date: Sugar Bowl, 547 inches; Squaw/Alpine, 463 inches; Northstar, 446 inches; Mt. Rose, 381 inches; Heavenly, 341 inches; Kirkwood, 437 inches; Bear Valley, 325 inches; Bear Valley X-C, 348 inches; Mammoth, 342 inches. Snowmaking kept some snow depths even deeper!

End-Of-Season Deals Still To Be Had!

Hit the slopes in the coming days and weeks, and you may be able to score some savings. Several resorts will let you apply your lift ticket purchase to next season’s season pass. Buy a 2016–17 Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows season pass and ski free at both resorts for the rest of this season (until the end of May, conditions permitting). Sugar Bowl has special reduced spring rates, and most areas have early-bird pricing in effect for season pass purchases (check individual resort websites for “early bird” deadline dates and savings info).

A Few Closing Thoughts…

Most Sierra Nevada resorts will have had a nearly five-month season this winter by the time the mountain streams start raging with snow melt. And their staffs couldn’t be happier. Says Lauren Burke, communications manager at Mammoth, “Nature has brought us a return back to a ‘normal winter’ and we’ve seen so much excitement this season… This year’s snowfall passed last season’s total in January, and the mountain has been 100 percent in operation since mid-December.” Bear Valley Cross-Country’s Paul Petersen concurs, “What a difference a year makes! We are super-excited to have had a real winter return to the High Sierra and are grateful for a spirited and enthusiastic return of our customers to this great trail system.” Across the road at Bear Valley downhill resort, its director of marketing Rosie Sundell adds, “The snow enthusiasts came out in droves to make up for the powder they missed over the past four seasons.” Says Northstar’s Cassandra Walker, “ We are thrilled with how well the season has gone and are excitedly skiing our way out of the 2015–16 season on this famed Tahoe corn snow, with bluebird skies and sunshine above.”

And with that said, the finger crossing begins that next season will be a repeat of this one!

The Palisades at Sugar Bowl are a dramatic background to a season filled with awesome skiing. There's still 82 to 165 inches at SugarBowl. Credit: Sugar Bowl Resort
The Palisades at Sugar Bowl are a dramatic background to a season filled with awesome skiing. There’s still 82 to 165 inches at Sugar Bowl.
Credit: Sugar Bowl Resort

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