Winter is finally here, and Tahoe is rejoicing after a great opening Thanksgiving weekend at our local ski resorts. We are only at of the beginning of December, and Tahoe already has powder days in the books! So far, it is a promising start to the season and we are hoping that it will continue through the rest of the month. Early season skiing is great, because there are less crowds as you take your turns. The South Shore also has a lot of great entertainment for those visiting Tahoe to enjoy the early season.
The Mountains Are Open!
Northstar opened on November 23 with eight inches of fresh snow, and Heavenly opened the same day with 5 inches of new snow. Even though not much was open at Heavenly, skiers and riders were still able to get in some great runs. Tahoe continued to receive more snow throughout the weekend, and Kirkwood opened a day early on Friday the 25th! By Sunday, Tahoe had been hit with even more snow. By Sunday, we all had our first powder day of the season with 16 inches reported at Kirkwood, 12 inches at mid-mountain at Northstar and Heavenly reported 9 – 18 inches of fresh snow.
Cold Temps Mean More Snow
When mother nature isn’t supplying enough real snow, our local snow making teams supplement with man made snow. This is a great way to build up the base on the runs, so that when trails are open there is full coverage from top to bottom. Temperatures need to be below freezing to make snow, and luckily this past week we have seen frigid temperatures at night. Night time temperatures have been hovering in the upper teens to low twenties, and the snow guns have been blowing snow all night long. On December 1st, it was cold enough to continue making snow in to the day, with guns running on World Cup Run at Heavenly’s California base lodge.
Heavenly only has 1% of terrain open, with six lifts operating and seven runs open. Currently, the Heavenly Gondola is the only access to the open terrain. Kirkwood is operating with 17% of their terrain open, with four lifts running and 15 trails open. Sierra at Tahoe has 5 lifts running with 26 trails open. Northstar California Resort has 5% of their available terrain open, with 8 lifts spinning and 32 trails open. Since it is still early season, it is not recommended to ski or ride off the groomed trails, as there is not a lot of coverage.
Early Season South Shore Events
Festival of Trees and Lights | December 1 – 4 | MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa
This family friendly event will get you in the holiday spirit, with holiday decorations. Proceeds will support the expansion of Barton Health’s Cancer Wellness Program.
Winter Ignite | December 2 – 10 | Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly has organized a week of events to kick off the start of the season. Ski all day and then enjoy music on the slopes from the Heavenly DJ Cat, Apres Parties every day and a free outdoor concert to wrap things up on December 10th.
Warren Miller’s Here, There & Everywhere | December 2 and 3 | Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
Get pumped for ski season with this ski film from Warren Miller. Described as the original ski bum, Miller’s films capture the adventure, wonder, humor and beauty in skiing. Harrah’s is offering two shows!
Winter Film Premier | December 7 | The Loft Tahoe
Featuring two winter films, “Tight Loos” and “Insight” will be shown at the Loft Theatre in the Heavenly Village. These skiing and snowboarding films will get you excited for the upcoming season.
Tahoe Adventure Film Festival | December 10 | MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa
Watch the best adventure and action sports films at MontBleu. In addition to the short films, there will be guest speakers, action photo displays, break-dancers, DJs and some surprises!