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Early season storms help ski resorts open

Gray skies and rainy weather are open to interpretation.

For many people, the recent spate of rainy weather in western Nevada County means an end to summer and a transition into the dreary string of overcast winter days.

However, for residents who enjoy outdoor winter recreation, the precipitation is a welcome sight, as it means that uphill snow is falling on ski resorts, and some good skiing and snowboarding is to be had early in the season.



Last year, almost all resorts were closed on Thanksgiving; this year, Sugar Bowl Resort, Squaw Valley, Northstar and Boreal will all spin lifts throughout the long holiday weekend.

“We are opening extra terrain on Thanksgiving,” said Squaw Valley Spokeswoman Amelia Richmond. “According to my research, this will be the first time in 10 years we’ve opened Emigrant chair lift this early.”




The lift provides access to one of the highest peaks in the resort.

The story is the same for Sugar Bowl, which will remain open throughout the weekend before deciding whether to open up terrain on a more permanent basis.

John Monson, spokesman for Sugar Bowl, said snow is falling at the top of the resort, making for glorious turns at the top of Lincoln and Disney.

Northstar also announced a top-to-bottom opening for the first time this year.

“The combination of recent snowfall and our snow-making efforts is allowing us to open to the top of the mountain in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Bill Rock, Northstar’s chief operating officer.

Boreal announced it will open the Accelerator High-Speed Quad, which opens terrain from the top to the bottom of the mountain on Thanksgiving.

The resort estimates it about one and a half feet of new snowfall from the recent storms that have passed through Northern California.

Donner Ski Ranch will not open yet due to a lack of snow at its elevation, a representative said Wednesday. Alpine Meadows is still targeting Dec. 7 as its opening date, and Homewood Ski Resort is slated to begin spinning the lifts Dec. 14.

However, representatives from both resorts said consideration will be given to opening early if snow continues to fall.

Last week, George Cline, forecaster for the National Weather Service, said the three-month forecast called for a drier than normal winter season.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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