SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A potent storm will bring as much as a foot of new snow to the upper runs at Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts starting Saturday night, but once the storm front rolls eastward, the slopes will get just a dusting of powdery snow almost daily during Christmas week.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Tahoe as the storm was predicted to roll into the basin beginning late Saturday through Sunday. Periods of moderate snowfall will create mountain travel impacts, especially Sunday.
The snow level will fall to 4,500 feet, forecasters said, with the highest accumulations above 6,000 feet. Snowfall will range from 4-8 inches at the lower elevations to as much as a foot on the higher peaks and ridges.
“Snow amounts for the Sierra look to be in the 4-8 inch range at the upper elevations with up to a foot possible along the crest and just a few inches expected in the lower Sierra elevations,” the weather service said.
Holiday travelers were advised to head up to the Sierra Friday through Saturday afternoon and then on Monday afternoon. Make sure to carry chains in case travel conditions charge.
Winds will also kick up Sunday, exceeding 100 mph on the highest ridges to 40-50 mph in the lower valleys.
“Snow combined with gusty winds (Sunday) will create difficult mountain travel conditions,” the weather service warned. ” If travel is necessary, carry chains and expect delays.”
Christmas week was shaping up to be a skier’s dream with all the resorts reporting solid bases. Light, powdery snowfall was in the forecast.
“Periods of light snow are more probable Monday, Christmas Day, and Dec 26,” the weather service said. “For those wondering, the guidance shows a 50% chance of snow on Christmas day in the Sierra.”
On Friday, Alpine Meadows was reporting a base of hard packed snow from 36 inches on the lower runs to 84 inches up higher with 23 of 42 lifts working. At Heavenly, the base of packed powder ranged from 28 inches to 52 inches with 20 of 28 lifts running. Kirkwood, with the highest runs in Tahoe, had a powdery base of 55 inches to 60 inches with will all 12 lifts in operation.
Northstar reported machine groomed snow with a base ranging form 18-49 inches with 10 of its 20 lifts in operation. Meanwhile, Squaw Valley has a base ranging from 36 inches to 84 inches with 23 of 42 lifts running.
Sugar Bowl also had excellent conditions. A base of machine groomed snow ranging from 38 inches to 60 inches with 8 of its 12 lifts running.