Snow began falling on December 9 and continued to fall through the end of the month, burying local resorts in a historic amount of early season snowfall.
For skiers and snowboarders, it looked like a promising start to a potentially long season on the slopes.
Instead, the new year brought with it dry conditions, meager storms and an end of operations in April for most of the hill stations in the region.
In December, Palisades Tahoe announced it broke its snowfall record for the month, when 211 inches of snow fell on the resort. In 2022, Palisades Tahoe was sitting on a total of 265 inches of snow for the season and was on track to surpass its average of 400 inches of snow per year and the 307 inches of snowfall during the 2020-21 season.
Over the next three months, however, some 43 inches would sprinkle the slopes. The storm on Tuesday, March 29 brought another inch of snow to the resort’s high mountain, bringing its total for the season to 308 inches.
The self-proclaimed “Spring Skiing Capital” will host a number of themed events throughout the month before closing winter operations on May 1. At Alpine Meadows, the resort said it plans to operate the Summit, Roundhouse and Treeline Cirque lifts until April 17. .
Palisades also announced that it will be upgrading its Red Dog elevator this summer. The historic lift is one of the few in operation since the 1960 Winter Olympics. It was upgraded from a two-person chairlift to a three-person chairlift in 1989. This summer it will be replaced by a chairlift six-person high-speed removable, and will be moved east to a new location, allowing skiers and snowboarders access from the parking lot. The elevator will now pass over the Far East Express and end at the same location as it does now. Construction is expected to begin later this month, with plans to have the lift operational for the upcoming winter season. Red Dog will close on Sunday.
After a two-year absence, Palisades’ two main spring events will be back. Snow Golf will take place on Saturday, bringing skiers to the resort to play nine holes of golf, starting with the Summit chair. A new yoga class for all ages and skill levels will be hosted by Palisades Yoga Studio outside SnoVentures at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Then, the original pond skimming will return on April 16 as costumed skiers and riders attempt to cross Cushing’s Pond. The annual Cushing Crossing will be accompanied by music from G. Love and DJ Logic at the KT Deck.
Theme days for the rest of the season include Caddy Shack this weekend in honor of the Snow Golf event; Beach day on April 16 and 17; Wiggle on the Wiggle on April 23 and 24, when the resort encourages guests to wear wigs; and Rodeo Day from April 30 to May 1.
Tahoe Donner will be among the first to finish the season, with plans to shut down downhill operations on Sunday. The resort will close the season with a party for passholders, featuring live music, food, discounted drinks and its long-running annual event, the Downhill Dummy, in which teams build dummies to make them slide down the hill and jump. This year’s theme is celebrities. Prizes will be awarded for best design, best air and best crash. Downhill Dummy starts at 4:30 p.m. The music will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Granlibakken Tahoe ski hill will also be closed on Sunday. The West Shore resort has said it will keep its toboggan run open until April 17.
Northstar California Resort entered 2022 with 274 inches of total snowfall. Since then, the resort has seen 38 inches of snow. Northstar will end winter operations on April 17.
“Our teams are working hard to make the most of it for all our guests who come to visit us in the coming week and a half. However, with summer fast approaching, we are starting to shift gears.
Northstar will reopen its bike park and golf course, along with other summer offerings. The station will also begin work on its Epic Lift upgrade project, in which the Comstock Express elevator will see its capacity increased from a four-person elevator to a six-person elevator.
A handful of other local stations will end the season in the middle of the month. Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe and Sugar Bowl Resort will all end the season on April 17.
Boreal Mountain Resort and sister resort Soda Springs have also targeted April 17 as the end of the ski season. Boreal recently received a Visit California Poppy Award for Best Recovery Campaign for its Go-Time tickets. The program allows skiers and snowboarders to purchase online, select a tee time and gain contactless access to the mountain.
“Over the past year, we have all risen to the challenge of being resilient in how we think about the industry. In parallel, we are modeling security strategies and efficiencies that support our business continuity,” said Amy Ohran, CEO of Boreal, in a press release. “While many of our strategies were designed to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, we see that our industry is hungry for change. Go Time Tickets have dramatically improved the arrival experience and flow rate in our parking and service areas, eliminating pinch points and historical wait times.
Nearby Donner Ski Ranch has yet to announce a closing day, but will offer free lift tickets to anyone in a suit on Sundays.
Above Incline Village, Diamond Peak said it would end the season on Sunday. In South Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort will stop operating the lifts on April 24. Kirkwood Mountain Resort plans to continue operations through May 1.
Justin Scacco is an editor at Sierra Sun, a sister publication to The Union. He can be reached at [email protected]