And The Snow Just Keeps Piling Up!

Credit: Homewood Mountain Resort

A month ago I wrote that, barring a barrage of rainstorms, 2016–17 would be going down as an epic ski season in the Sierra Nevada.

What’s a word that’s greater than “epic”?! Stupendous? Mammoth? Ginormous?

Credit: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

All apply to the Sierra’s burgeoning snowpack that just keeps growing, thanks to another string of snowstorms in February. This last Wednesday ski resort operators could stick their heads out the window for the first time in weeks and not see snow falling. The respite will last only until the weekend, however, when another storm is forecast to hit the mountain range. In the meantime, resorts will have a couple of days to dig out buried chairlifts and clear the decks before it starts snowing again.


Like the snow itself, snowfall records across the Sierra keep falling.

To get an idea of just how, uh, stupendous this season has been, consider the snowfall statistics to date at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. As of Wednesday, the resort has surpassed its annual average snowfall of 450 inches by an additional 115 inches—and this a week before March! Since last Friday, more than seven

Credit: Mammoth Mountain Resort

FEET of snow have fallen on top of the already prodigious snowpack, bringing the season’s total snowfall to the aforementioned 565 inches. As of today, the base clocks in at 138 inches (11.5 feet) and the top of the mountain has 243 inches (20 feet).

The statistics are no less impressive across the Sierra. In the past week, most resorts around the Tahoe basin have received six to seven feet of new snow and have already gone past their snowfall averages for the entire season. Even Homewood Mountain Resort, which sits on the western shore of weather-moderating Lake Tahoe, accumulated five-and-a-half feet of snow in the last week and now has an impressive 95 inches at its base and 201 inches on top. In the central Sierra, Dodge Ridge

Credit: Homewood Mountain Resort

added another five feet of snow to its pack in the last week and now has 83 inches at its base and 132 inches on the summit. Most importantly, temperatures have stayed low, so fluffy light powder is currently ruling the day throughout the Sierra.

Ski and snowboard until the Fourth of July!

Although many Sierra resorts have yet to post a closing date (Easter weekend, this year April 15–16, is usually when most resorts wrap things up), a few have already extended their mountain operations well past that. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, for instance, plans to stay open well into June and then crank up the lifts on July 4th, conditions permitting. Mammoth Mountain, which currently has 200 inches at its base and 350 inches on top, plans to stay open through the 4th of July weekend and beyond, if possible. As of today, Heavenly

Credit: Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

and Northstar plan to extend their operations one week past the Easter weekend. As long as temperatures stay cool through the spring, other resorts will likely join the ranks of resorts remaining open beyond Easter. For Northern California skiers and riders, who have suffered through a five-year string of utterly abysmal ski seasons, this record-breaking season has been a long-overdue gift from the heavens.

Now, if there was only a way to save snow!

Credit: Northstar California

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