Like many Lake Tahoe ski resorts, the snow arrived early this season at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Frequent storms piled up snow to induce an early opening in November and the snow totals kept accumulating regularly throughout the year and have pushed back the resort’s closing date.
Kirkwood ski resort, located off Highway 88 in the tiny town of Kirkwood, opened early and recently extended its season at the other end, pushing back its closing date. Kirkwood will remain open until May 1 (versus the projected April 24). This new closing date provides more skiing and snowboarding opportunities to enjoy the amazing spring conditions. Skiers and riders can take advantage of the deep snowpack and enjoy the fantastic conditions.
Record breaking seems to be the theme of this season. This season’s November opening was the resort’s earliest opening since the record 2004/05 season and the snowiest November since 1983/84. Then February storms put Kirkwood at the top of the list for “Most Snowfall in the World,” according to Skiinfo.com, a worldwide snow reporting website.
When most skiers and riders were preparing for goggle tans and slushy spring turns, March storms brought mid-winter conditions back. Kirkwood received upward of 200 inches of snow during March alone.
To date, Kirkwood stands only two feet shy of the overall season snowfall record of 63 feet, posted in the 1982/83 season. Kirkwood received an 11-foot November dump that made it possible for the resort to start turning lifts for Thanksgiving.
Historically, April snowfall is unpredictable and has ranged from less than a foot to well over 10 in the last decade. Long term forecasts suggest a strong probability of above average precipitation in Northern California as La Niña finally peters out over late spring. Models suggest Kirkwood may be in for below-average temps, as well, giving skiers and riders hope for a handful of powder days yet.
Assuming normal spring and early summer weather patterns (temperature and thaw rates, specifically), resort operators are optimistic that the snowpack will hold up for one last ski weekend — July 4th.
Substantial storms and cool temps in late spring 2010 allowed skiers and riders lift-accessed, upper-mountain runs as a complement to opening weekend of Kirkwood’s summer mountain bike operations. Mountain operations will re-evaluate as the date nears, but prospects of a repeat in 2011 are promising.
Read more hornface.com stories:
- Huge snow toalts leda to many Lake Tahoe ski resorts extending closing dates
- Ski promoters merch, will add new ski show this fall in Sacramento
- Mammoth Mountain will remain open through Fourth of July