Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley, has proposed that the resort stay open through the Fourth of July weekend – if not all the way into the 2017-18 winter season. After the most snow in more than 20 years, some of the Lake’s ski resorts saw more 700 inches of snowfall.
“I’ll drop something on you that you may not be expecting,” Wirth told Truckee Tahoe Radio on April 15. “We are actually considering staying open through the summer and fall so it becomes the ’16-17-18 season. We’re taking a hard look at that. Maybe we spin Shirley [a lift on the mountain’s back side] through the summer, ‘cause there’s so much snow up there.”
August skiing at Squaw is perfectly plausible, according to Mike Pierce, president of Ski Lake Tahoe, and Jon Erdman, senior digital meteorologist at the Weather Co. Squaw Valley was among the locations that received more than 700 inches of snow, more than 250 inches above the usual average. Not to mention this January set the record in Tahoe for the mountain’s snowiest month ever recorded.
“Squaw has always been an industry leader,” Pierce says. “We’ve had long seasons where people ski well into May. This year not only are we going into May, we’re going into May with huge, 30-foot bases. The views outside right now, they’re just like what you’d have seen in January.”
Erdman is confident that July 4 will see good skiing conditions. Staying open through August isn’t as plausible, but still “conceivable”. The Sierra Nevada Mountains tend to see low temperatures around the 40s even in peak summer temperatures. Pierce believes that this paired with good grooming on the north side of the mountain will preserve snow conditions, extending the good shape of some runs until snowmaking season kicks off again.
You can stick to morning runs when the slopes are groomed and before the corduroy gets “corny”, or for some more experienced riders embrace the kernel-size nuggets of snow. When you feel the urge for an après-ski indulgence, the resort offers many activities to enjoy the sunny weather. From outdoor grilling and lives music to pond skims that have costumed performers doing ski tricks on the man-made, mid-mountain lakes. There’s nothing quite like combining the cold sport of skiing with warm, pleasant weather. There’s even talk that Squaw may finally break Sochi’s record for most bikini-clad skiers on a mountain.
This will be the first year that skiing on the Fourth of July has been done at Squaw as more than just a single-day stunt. Wirth, the resort’s CEO, has called the climate “incredible and unprecedented”. As for the other resorts in the area, some have announced that they will remain open for skiing and snowboarding well into the summer season. Mount Rose Ski Resort (only 20 minutes from Montreux!) will officially close its season on Memorial Day, May 29. Sugar Bowl will remain open until May 7.
Heavenly Resort and Northstar California will have its last days this weekend, closing officially on April 30. Sierra-at-Tahoe, Diamond Peak, Soda Springs and Boreal closed on April 23.
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