Courtesy photoOpen-water swimmer Jamie Patrick is preparing to try and swim 75 uninterrupted miles across Lake Michigan later this summer.

Courtesy photoOpen-water swimmer Jamie Patrick is preparing to try and swim 75 uninterrupted miles across Lake Michigan later this summer.

Local ski resorts looking forward to a normal year for snow after drought

Bay Area residents gearing up for the slopes should be encouraged that Northern California resorts are expecting an average ski season in terms of snow despite the drought that has hit the state.

Some resorts popular with Bay Area skiers and snowboarders say they are preparing for at least an average snowfall season, based on forecasts. A typical year means around 400 to 450 inches of snow.

Amelia Richmond, spokeswoman for the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows resorts near Lake Tahoe, noted the region saw lower than average snowfall the past two seasons, while the 2010-11 season set a record with approximately 800 inches of snow.

“Going into this season, we’re feeling pretty good, because forecasters have been calling for, in their words, ‘an average winter season,’ but to skiers and snowboarders, that’s actually really good news,” she said.

The first noticeable rainfall since late September swept through the Bay Area this week, bringing with it some traces of natural snow to resorts as close as Bear Valley and into the Tahoe region, setting in motion the opening of the new season.

Bear Valley is scheduled to open lifts Nov. 30 with a weekend of festivities, while Tahoe resorts Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are planning to open today, Wednesday and Dec. 13, respectively. Several resorts also have added to their base with snowmaking over the past couple weeks.

Bear Valley will not open its runs until there is more significant natural snowfall, said spokeswoman Rosie Sundell. If predictions fall short this season, they’ll adjust to make it an enjoyable one for their visitors, she said.

Whatever snow pattern may be coming, Heavenly spokeswoman Sally Gunter said they are hopeful for another great season on the slopes.

“With predictions calling for a normal snow year for us, we’re really confident in how this year is going to be,” she said.

TAHOE RESORTS OPENING SCHEDULE

Alpine Meadows

Plan to open 12/13

Badger Pass

Plan to open 12/13

Bear Valley

Plan to open 11/30

Boreal

Thu 9:05 a.m. 3 new variable machine groomed 10-15 base 1 of 41 trails 3% open, 1 of 8 lifts, sm Mon-Fri: 9a-9p; Sat-Sun: 9a-9p

China Peak

Plan to open 11/29

Heavenly

Plan to open 11/22 4-5 new

Homewood

Plan to open 12/13

June

Plan to open 12/13

Kirkwood

Plan to open 11/22 2-4 base Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat-Sun: 9a-4p

Mammoth

Thu 9:14 am 3-5 new packed powder machine groomed 16-20 base 7 of 150 trails 5% open, 3 of 28 lifts, sm Mon-Fri: 8:30a-4p; Sat-Sun: 8:30a-4p

Squaw Valley

Plan to open 11/27 10 new

Sugar Bowl

Plan to open 11/29 machine groomed

Tahoe Donner

Plan to open 12/13

Bear Valley XC

Plan to open 11/29 Mon-Fri: 9a-4:30p Sat-Sun: 9a-4:30p

Diamond Peak

Plan to open 12/12

Mt. Rose

Plan to open 11/27 2-3 new

Source: APLake TahoeOther Sportsski resorts

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