The snowpack of Lake Tahoe is reaching record-breaking numbers.
In just 5 days, Lake Tahoe saw 8 feet of snow. At 7,000 feet, meteorologists say that 237 inches have fallen this month alone. This beats the 1973 record of 159 inches of snow that fell in ALL of January that year. Overall, the snowpack at this elevation has gotten 80% of the season average. Since we’re only 43% of the way through the ski season, snow enthusiasts are excited.
There’s even more snow at higher elevations and the legendary ski resorts that surround the lake on all sides. So far this winter, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is boasting over 461 inches of snow. The average snow that Mt. Rose sees in a season is typically around 350 inches. The resort lies at a base elevation of 8,260 feet and is only a 15-minute drive from Montreux Golf and Country Club.
This has been the snowiest January ever for not only Mt. Rose, but also for Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Near Truckee, Northstar has 283 inches in this month alone! With recent drought conditions in nearby California, the resorts are gearing up for a successful rest of the season. The hashtag #Januburied has been popular on local and visitor’s Instagram and Twitter shares.
Just last week, the Tahoe area saw even more snow for seven days straight. Heavenly is at a season total of 365 inches, receiving 94 inches in those seven days. Kirkwood got 105 inches, bringing their season total up to 381 inches. The snow bonanza has already attracted many visitors to the area and promises not only a fantastic remainder of the ski season, but a full lake come summer for water-related activities.
According to the National Weather Service, between January 1 and January 10 the winter storms have caused the lake to gain 33.6 billion gallons of water. This caused the lake level to rise nearly an entire foot. For reference, an average household of 4 people uses 1 acre/foot of water per year.
With all of the new snow and more promised on the way, you might wonder where the best ski spots are to view North America’s largest alpine lake. Heavenly has the highest peak elevation in the area at 10,400 feet and the most trails (97) of any Tahoe resort. A steadily widening lake vista unfurls during the 12-minute, 2.4-mile gondola ride from the Stateline base area on the Nevada side. You can even hope out at an observation deck to really soak in the views. The summit of Monument Peak on the Sky Express has lake vistas all the way down Ridge Run as it bends to the north.
On the west shore, Homewood Mountain resort offers 1,260 skiable acres and a vertical of 1,650 feet rising from a 6,225-foot base elevation with its base only 600 feet away from the lake. Head up to Ellis Chair at the top and choose your runs from there. Noonchester Traverse has peek-a-boo with lake views that come into full view at the top of Hidden Vein and The Shoulder runs. Or follow Rainbow Ridge until the viewshed hotsport where Shaft, Cradle and Chute runs all intersect.
Mount Rose at the summit (a whopping 9,700 feet atop the Northwest Magnum chair) is a crow’s nest that offers spectacular views. From the Magnum chair, get onto Upper Ramsey’s black diamond run for even more delicious views. An additional balcony run in the long, intermediate Lakeview run.
Ride the Crystal Express at Diamond Peak to score views of Washoe Valley in Nevada to the east and a panorama of the lake to the west. The intermediate Crystal Ridge run is a broad, 2.5-mile long stretch that will test the stamina of your quad muscles. The ride is such that you almost feel like you will end right at the beach on the shores waters.
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