Ski resorts opening as big Thanksgiving weekend anticipated

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With snow in the mountains and excitement in the crisp, mountain air, Sierra Nevada ski resorts are poised for a super Thanksgiving weekend. And the impact of tens of thousands of skiers, boarders and sledders moving up Interstate 80 is considered a benefit to Auburn and all communities along the route to resorts. “They’re going to have a bumper crop of tourists up the hill,” said Jan Decker, CEO and executive director of the Placer County Visitors Bureau. Located at the Foresthill exit, next to the Arco station, the visitors’ bureau and California Welcome Center at 13411 Lincoln Way serves as a stop to purchase Sno-Park Passes and directions to nearby snow parks for economical winter play. The Sno-Park sites provide snow-cleared parking lots with sanitation facilities and access to snow play areas, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Day permits are $5 and season permits are $25. “We’re already ahead of schedule for Sno-Park Pass sales,” Decker said. “All it takes is one snowstorm.” The powerful storm rolled into Lake Tahoe on Friday. The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association is reporting as much as 6.5 feet of new snow at ski resort upper elevations by this morning. Another 2 feet of snow is expected to fall by Tuesday night, with skies clearing Wednesday for a sunny holiday weekend. “This was the perfect storm,” said Tourism Director Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “It came in fast, dropped a ton of snow, setting us up with superior snow conditions and skiing for the holiday weekend.” Many North Lake Tahoe ski resorts have opened, including Boreal Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley USA. Others are starting operations in time for the holiday weekend. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort opens Wednesday. Soda Springs and Tahoe Donner Cross Country follow on Thanksgiving Day. Alpine Meadows Ski Resort will re-open Friday. The snowfall is also providing good news for cross-country skiers. Tahoe Cross Country in Tahoe City had one of its earliest openings ever and has 22 of 65 groomed kilometers available. Royal Gorge, the largest cross-country resort in the country – will be open Friday through Sunday. Sledders are also on the fast-track to winter, with Granlibakken Lodge’s sledding hill now open for business. The ski hill will follow Dec. 17. Diamond Peak is scheduled to open Dec. 16, Homewood Mountain Resort on Dec. 17 and Tahoe Donner Downhill on Dec. 10.