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Mon, May

California Dreamin’: Skiing And Riding To Go Deep Into Spring

Squaw-Spring-Snow

Catchin' the corn is springtime ritual. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)

Like many regions in the West, skiers and riders had to wait until March before all the trails and slopes were open. In California, a trio of resorts hope they can make it last as long as possible.

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Insider’s Guide To Kirkwood

Kirkwood-Base

Above compact base area, mountain spreads out. (Kirkwood/Facebook)

Though less than an hour from the glitz and glamor of South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort couldn’t be a more unlikely neighbor. Stuffed up at the head of a box canyon, the mountain known as “The Wood” retains an old-school, bare-bones flavor that, despite ownership by Vail, emphasizes good skiing and riding over amenities (i.e., cell service is iffy).

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Heavenly Gets Opening Nod For Trail Improvements

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Trail widening expected to help relieve congestion. (Heavenly/Facebook)

Heavenly Mountain Resort recently got over a critical regulatory hurdle in order to widen trails, remove debris and relocate snowmaking.

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Making Time For Cross Country Skiing

Fischertouring

The rewards are great for taking the time to get out onto the trails. (Fisher Touring)

One of the greatest challenges for many people who love to cross country (XC)  ski regardless of the snow conditions is making time to get out there. Skiers struggle with this, but there are easy ways make time and to be more prepared to enjoy skiing.

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Insider's Guide To Heavenly Valley

Heavenly-Scenic-Lake

Nearly every turn at Heavenly has lake vista. (Heavenly/Facebook)

Heavenly Valley rightfully boasts its best elements: Most skiable terrain (4,800 acres) in Lake Tahoe area. Most vertical feet (3,500) on West Coast. Among highest summit elevations (10,067 feet) in the region.

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Tips For Buying Ski Country Resort Property

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This 10,000 Sq.Ft. home located in the Snow Top neighborhood in Deer Valley is listed at $5.8 million. (Summit Sotheby's International Realty)

For those thinking of purchasing a vacation home in ski country, summer is a good time to start looking.

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Party On Because The Season Just Won’t End

Party On Because The Season Just Won’t End

Turns to be had at Snow Summit. (Snow Summit/Facebook)

Mid-winter doldrums gave way to a snow-filled spring that has kept many resort open longer than expected – and cranked up the end-of-season parties.

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The Rich Get Richer: Storms Keep On California

The Rich Get Richer: Storms Keep On California

Mammoth's mammoth weathers the storm. (Mammoth/Facebook)

After a month of January that put up to 20 feet on the ground in the Sierra, you’d figure things would calm down at bit. But before that happens, there’s a couple of more feet on the way.


OpenSnow.com forecasters say that snow at Tahoe-area resorts should drop between one and two feet this weekend – and storms will stick around for another couple of days beyond that. Up north, Washington and Oregon resorts should benefit as the jet stream shifts to a more northern route in February.

“We should see a break Saturday night into Sunday but with winds picking back up,” said OpenSnow’s Bryan Allegretto about Tahoe. “Then another storm moves in Sunday night into Monday. This storm also has snow levels near lake level until falling later Monday. We could see 3-10 inches at lake level, and 4-15 inches on the mountains by Monday night.”

Plowing at Mammoth

For example, China Peak was expected to get more than a foot over the weekend, pause on Monday, and then get ready for up to four more feet next week, according to OpenSnow forecasts.

Get out the snorkel at China Peak

This on top of a month of January that recalled years gone by when double-digit snowfalls were standard. At Mammoth Mountain, the month included one-day dumps of 42 inches (Jan. 4) and 91 inches total in the week of Jan. 7-13. Total for the month topped 200 inches.

No more need for these guys this winter

California water officials say that the month’s moist largesse helped replenish a third of the state’s “water deficit,” refilled reservoirs and setting up for a spring melt that would refurbish some of the state’s groundwater supply. But they warned that without consistent precipitation, the benefits of the winter’s snow bonanza will diminish fairly soon.



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Homewood Resort Lodge Burns

Homewood Resort Lodge Burns

Early-morning fire consumed South Lodge at Homewood. (North Lake Tahoe Fire District/Facebook)

UPDATE 12/19/16: Homewood lifts will be opening Thursday with top-to-bottom skiing starting at 9:00 a.m. Guests can access the upper mountain via Madden Chair, which is located at the North Lodge.

The South Lodge at Homewood Mountain Resort was engulfed in flames early in the morning of Dec. 28, forcing the California mountain to close temporarily.


North Lake Tahoe firefighters responded at 3 a.m. to the day-trip mountain on the shores of Lake Tahoe, finding one of two base lodges at the resort “heavily involved” in flames.

“No injuries have been reported, and fire suppression efforts managed to keep the fire isolated to a single structure,” fire officials said on the district’s Facebook page.

Mountain officials shut off the lifts and barred any visitors for the day, as firefighters remained to keep the fire isolated and to clean up on location. The building was a total loss.

Statements later in the day indicated that officials hope to get the 1,260-acre ski and snowboard mountain on the west shore of the lake up and running for Dec. 29.

The South Lodge is located at the base of the Quail Chair and housed a restaurant and administration offices. The larger North Lodge, just up the road with the bulk of visitor parking, was not damaged.

Updates will be forthcoming on SnoCountry.com as to when Homewood will reopen.

Homewood snowboarders



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SnoCountry SnoCast: The Gift Of Holiday Snow

SnoCountry SnoCast: The Gift Of Holiday Snow

Great pre-holiday snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area, which will end up with more snow leading into the holiday weekend (Rosanne H. Pitcher/Wolf Creek Ski Area)

The holidays are here! Gifts under the tree are cool and all, but look for the real gifts on the slopes this holiday weekend. Let’s dig into this week’s forecast and find out where the best conditions will be for hitting the slopes.


It will be an active stretch for the West, and a solid combo of pleasant days and snow shots for the Midwest and Northeast. Here’s what to expect by region and a few of my "best bet" picks for the areas receiving good snow this week.

Northeast: A weak system will bring a shot of light snow Thursday to New York’s Adirondacks and northern New England. While not a blockbuster, a few inches of snow can be expected at the higher elevations and make for nice, softer conditions. Another similar system may bring snow Saturday/Christmas Eve to the same locales before temps start generally rising Christmas Day through early next week. Some sun should break through on Christmas Day, providing pleasant conditions at ski areas for the holiday weekend. Best bets: Look to Whiteface, Jay Peak, and Sunday River

European ensemble model forecast snowfall.  

Midwest: Well, we’ve survived the cold snaps, and this week looks great to get out. A complicated set up for our Midwest mountains this week. After a quick shot of snow Wednesday, Thursday should be pleasant to hit the slopes and get what’s left of the softer snow. Thursday and Friday, a brief lull before things get interesting. Weather models continue to show a strong storm developing around Christmas Day through Monday. Keep an eye on this one. Could mean snow, but also some mixed precip (like ice), high winds, and travel hazards. 

Canada: Some fresh snow for western Canada Thursday will help add onto the snow we received earlier in the week. Some light, lingering snow showers in interior B.C and Alberta will carry us into the weekend with generally light totals. Watch for a more potent storm early next week Tuesday/Wednesday time frame which may bring more impressive totals to the coast range in British Columbia. In eastern Canada, low pressure tracks through Quebec to start the holiday weekend with light totals, and overall pleasant conditions for the Christmas holiday weekend. 

West: A quick hit of snow for western Colorado Thursday into early Friday will help soften up the slopes with some fresh inches of snow. Given the moisture flow in from the Southwest, the San Juan Range in southwest Colorado could pick up some decent totals around 6-12”. A larger storm system will develop Friday off the Pacific coast, and plow into northern California/Oregon. The highest totals from this storm will be in the California Sierra Nevada with potential for 1-2 feet, maybe some three foot totals at localized peaks (yaa!) through Saturday. Snow will also fall for the higher elevations of the Washington and Oregon Cascades as snow levels lower Friday night. That storm system will then spread eastward, carrying in some new snow for much of the western interior mountains through the holiday weekend. Look for new snow over the mountains in Idaho , Wyoming , Colorado, and Montana through this holiday weekend. There are a ton of winter weather alerts in place from the National Weather ServiceBest bets: While many mountains will be great, some of the highest totals should fall at TelluridePurgatory, and Wolf Creek Thursday and early Friday. Then, any Tahoe area mountain and Mammoth Mountain  should have snow dumping on Saturday.

European ensemble model forecast snowfall.

Here's the snowfall forecast graphic from the National Weather Service but only through Friday evening. Many areas (text details above) will pick up more through the holiday weekend. Enjoy!

Finally, as always, a huge THANKS to the Lyndon State College students Christopher Kurdek, Amanda Stone, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contribution to the SnoCast content and forecasts. You guys rock! Also a special thanks to LSC professor Jason Shafer.

'Til next week's SnoCast, have a safe and happy holiday, all! 

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