LAKE TAHOE (CBS 5 / AP) – The first wave of what was expected to be a powerful weekend storm dropped up to 2 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada on Saturday, and raised the hopes of skiers and snowboarders for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm could dump up to 2 more feet of snow at higher elevations of the Sierra by Monday.
Squaw Valley USA on Saturday became the latest Lake Tahoe-area ski resort to open for the season after reporting 18 inches of new snow.
“I’ve been here for 20 years and I’ve never before seen a storm set up like this before Thanksgiving,” said Mike Livak, general manager of Squaw Valley.
Boreal, which in October became the first California resort to open for the season, reported 2 feet of new snow atop Donner Summit.
Northstar-at-Tahoe near Truckee, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe southwest of Reno, Heavenly above Lake Tahoe’s south shore and Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite National Park also have opened for the season.
Most other resorts planned to open in December.
Northstar typically gets just 4 percent of its seasonal snowfall in November, but the pre-Thanksgiving storm could get resorts in prime shape for the season, said Northstar spokeswoman Jessica VanPernis.
“This time of year it’s always a bonus to get so much snow in so short a time,” she said. “It should be incredible skiing and boarding.”
Chains were required – except for four-wheel drive vehicles – over all three major Sierra passes around Lake Tahoe: Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass.
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