By Juliette Goodrich

SQUAW VALLEY (CBS SF) – After years of drought, Mother Nature has buried the Lake Tahoe ski resorts under more than 35 feet of snow this season.

And it’s not even March yet.

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“Last year we had 440 inches of snow at the end of the season – that was the season total,” said Steven Hemphill. “Today, we are at 453. In this last storm surge, we surpassed last year. We’re gunning now for the 2010-11 record which is 763 inches. 300 (inches more) sounds a bit daunting but we would welcome the snow.”

Issac Gilligan grew up in Europe, but now he lives in San Jose. He was preparing for a day of skiing Wednesday afternoon.

“This is more than in the Alps,” he said. “Even in the Alps I cannot see as much snow as I see here today.”

Petaluma’s Nicole Bachman also was admiring the massive drifts near the ski runs.

“It’s been a long time,” she said of seeing such large levels of snow.

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Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has already surpassed its annual average snowfall of 450 inches by 115 inches, with months left to go in the season.

After topping its 45-year historic record for snowfall in a single month with 282 inches in January, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has received nearly 15 feet in February with seven days remaining.

As of Wednesday, the resort has amassed 126% of its average annual snowfall, 63% of which fell in January alone.

Northstar was reporting it has 551 inches – nearly 46 feet of snow so far this year. Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe has gotten 544 inches – 45 feet – and Kirkwood has 556 inches or 46.3 feet.

The last time Sugar Bowl had this much snow by the end of February was 1983-84 when the snowfall total had reached 629 inches.

As of Wednesday, the resort had received 565 inches — 47 feet of snow.

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Hemphill said if snow keeps falling – there’s a storm predicted for this weekend – skiers could be hitting the Tahoe slopes until July 4th.

Juliette Goodrich