Ski into summer at Lake Tahoe, thanks to stormy winter

Updated April 9, 2017 - 11:05 pm

Seven-hundred inches of snow and counting.

That’s the scenario at various Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts, many of which plan to stay open well into spring.

“Our top snowfall ever was in 2010-11, and we’re pacing just behind that this year,” said Sam Kieckhefer, public relations coordinator at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in Olympic Valley, California. “Last season we were only open until Memorial Day.”

This year, think summer.

“Skiing on July Fourth might be unconventional, but it’s a blast,” Kieckhefer said. “People are dressing up and having fun, and you can knock out multiple sports in one day.”

With record amounts of precipitation this season, Lake Tahoe will have plenty to offer adventurous travelers throughout spring and summer.

“There’s been close to 700 inches of snow, and the resorts are still seeing close to a 200-inch base,” said JT Thompson, tourism director for North Lake Tahoe. “We are seeing bookings for ski resorts going strong straight through June.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Hoon said it’s been a record year. “This is the wettest water year on record for Lake Tahoe and Reno.”

NWS measures precipitation in inches beginning on Oct. 1 for what it calls “the water year.”

“The average precipitation for Tahoe City from Oct. 1 to the present would be 29.15 inches,” Hoon said. “This year they have received 61.02 inches of precipitation so far.”

With each inch of precipitation totalling around 10 inches of snow, more or less depending on the type of snow, the Lake Tahoe area has easily received over twice as much snow as is typical.

Ski resorts in the area, which generally close in late April, are extending their seasons depending on staff availability.

The extra precipitation has not only affected snow levels but added a few feet of water to the lake as well. With the largest lake rise in nearly 30 years, visitors and residents of Lake Tahoe can expect more activity on the lake with staff availability of docks and piers that have been closed in recent years due to drought conditions.

Whether you want to ski in a tank top or sunbathe near snow-capped mountains, this summer at Lake Tahoe could be very different from the ones before it. And now is the time to book. Sunset snowshoe tours and backcountry skiing and snowboarding are available through the summer.

“We are seeing an increase in pre-bookings or advance bookings — right now it’s about 12 to 14 percent above normal,” Thompson said. “A lot of water is fallen upon us — whether it’s been frozen or wet.”

Contact Anna Williams at Follow @AnnaWilliamsRJ on Twitter.

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