The much-anticipated winter snowfall that draws Las Vegas Valley residents to Mount Charleston with sleds and skis made an appearance Wednesday, thanks to a storm system moving down the West Coast.
With a low of 28 degrees expected Wednesday night in Kyle Canyon and an 80 percent chance of snow, the National Weather Service is estimating up to five inches of snow above 7,000 feet overnight and wind gusts up to 31 mph.
Although it’s the town’s first heavy snowfall of the year, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in Lee Canyon will not be opening the ski lift.
“We have to have a lot of snow in order to open up the lift,” said Maria Norero, marketing director for the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. “It also has to be consistently cold enough leading up to when we open.”
Norero said there needs to be at least 20 inches of snow on the ground before they can open up the lift.
“It also depends on how warm it is the week before,” she said. “We have to make sure the snow isn’t going to melt right away so skiers don’t have to worry about rocks. We need a good amount of snow before we can let anybody ski safely.”
Norero said in order to make snow at the ski resort, there must be two consecutive weeks where the temperature is no higher than 20 degrees at night and no more than 40 degrees during the day.
The first snowfall on Mount Charleston usually occurs during the second week of October, according to the National Weather Service. The Resort at Mount Charleston got its first official snowfall of the season when the ski resort got an inch of snow on Sept. 22.
The campgrounds in Mount Charleston remain closed as part of the government shutdown, but the trails are still open to the public, according to the Nevada Department of Forestry.
Las Vegas police said they do not have the jurisdiction to apprehend those who use the campgrounds when they’re closed.
“We’re advising people that the parks are closed, and they’ve been cooperative,” said Las Vegas police spokesman Jose Hernandez. “But since it’s government-owned land, it’s out of our jurisdiction.”
Clark County Fire Department responded to an accident on state Route 157 at Harris Springs Ranch around 4:30 p.m. With snow in the area, it was still unknown if the accident was weather-related.
The valley will see precipitation too, but not the frozen kind. The weather service predicted a 50 percent chance of showers for Wednesday night, with winds of 6 to 11 mph.
Despite the snowfall, the National Weather Service said there isn’t enough snow to close any roads on the mountain.
Following suit with Las Vegas’ frequent weather changes, higher temperatures are expected heading into the weekend, with a high of 78 degrees on Sunday.