More rain is expected to hit the Bay Area this weekend, but for winter enthusiasts that only means one thing: snow in the Sierra Nevada.
As much as 8 inches of snow fell in elevations above 3,000 feet overnight, according to the National Weather Service. A second storm is expected to reach the Lake Tahoe area Saturday, bringing more snow to help resorts prepare for the winter season.
“The next event will start entering the state Thursday,” meteorologist Drew Peterson said. “As the cold front moves in, snow elevations will drop.”
Skiers won’t be knee-deep in powder just yet, according to Peterson, but resorts are creating fresh snow on their own in hopes of opening lifts as early as possible.
Boreal Mountain Resort is hoping to be the first to open this season. The resort is currently working to create enough snow to cover the 380-acre terrain to start running lifts today.
Squaw Valley also brought out snowmaking machines this week, according to resort spokeswoman Amelia Richmond. If all goes well, she said, the home of the 1960 Olympics will begin operations Nov. 23.
“It’s definitely the goal to open for Thanksgiving,” Richmond said. “A lot of people make it a part of their holiday.”
Not all resort opening dates are available, and most say dates are flexible depending on the weather.
This week’s system, which is dropping in from the Gulf of Alaska, according to Peterson, will keep temperatures in the 30s in the Sierra. Mountain passes will have limited or low visibility during the snowstorms.
In San Francisco, rain is expected to last through Saturday. Temperatures in the Bay Area will hover around 60 degrees, but winds will reach 25 mph.
Resorts are hoping to have a repeat of last year’s record snowfall, where most mountains recorded more than 800 inches throughout the season. Following a dry January, snow fell in and around Lake Tahoe through Memorial Day weekend.
Peterson, though, was less optimistic.
Last year “was an anomalous La Niña year,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be as wet, but who knows what’s going to happen.”
Tentative opening dates
- Alpine Meadows: TBD
- Boreal Mountain Resort: Nov. 4
- Diamond Peak Ski Resort: Dec. 15
- Heavenly Lake Tahoe: Nov. 18
- Homewood Resort: TBD
- Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Nov. 24
- Mount Rose Ski Tahoe: Nov. 23
- North Star: Nov. 18
- Sierra-at-Tahoe: End of November to early December
- Sugar Bowl Ski Resort: TBD
- Squaw Valley: Nov. 23
Note: Some resorts had yet to post opening dates
Source: Resort websites