U.S. Markets closed

Sierra resorts get snow in time for Thanksgiving

Martin Griffith, Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Ski resort operators are rejoicing after a string of storms brought an early winter to the Sierra Nevada just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday period.

While they still need more snow to kick into full operation, tourism officials are thankful that an abundant early snowfall allowed some resorts to open early after a subpar snowpack last winter.

"It's going to be a white Thanksgiving," said Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/ Resort Association.

Among Lake Tahoe-area resorts already open for the season are Boreal, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstar and Squaw Valley. Mammoth Mountain, just east of Yosemite National Park, also has kicked off the new season.

Kirkwood reported 24 to 30 inches of snow over a 48-hour period ending Sunday following another storm that dropped heavy snow last week. Over a 24-hour period, Squaw Valley and Boreal each received up to 15 inches of snow and Heavenly 6 to 8 inches of snow.

"The early-season conditions are really good and are looking even better going into this holiday week," Kirkwood general manager Casey Blann said in a statement issued Sunday.

Elsewhere, Mt. Rose plans to open on Wednesday, Sierra-at-Tahoe on Thursday, and Alpine Meadows and Tahoe Donner on Dec. 7.

Frigid temperatures also have allowed resorts to crank up their snow-making machines, and officials said they would open more terrain as conditions improve.

On Sunday, one of 12 lifts was in operation at Kirkwood, while three of 29 lifts were in operation at Heavenly. To the south, seven of 28 lifts were in operation at Mammoth Mountain.

"We hope to re-evaluate our terrain as this storm continues and see what else we might be able to open for later this week," Blann said.

National Weather Service forecasters were calling for a chance of snow around Tahoe on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The snowfall caused slow going over the Sierra as tire chains were required Sunday on State Route 88 over Carson Pass and other highways around Tahoe.