Snow

Check the snow report; some hills like Lake Tahoe may close early

RENO, Nev. – A ski resort south of Lake Tahoe has suspended its winter operations due to a lack of snow and could end up closing the rest of the season for the earliest time in about 40 years.

Sierra-at-Tahoe spokesman Thea Hardy says there’s usually enough snow cover to remain open well into April at the resort just south of U.S. Highway.

Snowpack throughout the Sierra is at or near historic lows as unseasonably warm temperatures have been the norm much of the winter.

Hardy says even the north-facing trails shaded from the sun have deteriorated to the point they aren’t up to the resorts standards.

If they fail to get a late winter storm and reopen again this year, it will be the earliest seasonal closing since the 1970s.

Elsewhere in the country, the ski season was looking better. Visitation to Colorado’s ski resorts remained strong in January and February, despite unseasonably warm and dry weather at the beginning of the year.

The trade group Colorado Ski Country USA said Monday that skier visits at its 21 member resorts in January and February were up 3.7 per cent compared to the same time last season. From opening day until the end of February, visitation was up 1.9 per cent compared to the same time period last season.

Melanie Mills, the group’s president and CEO, says “looking ahead we’re cautiously optimistic, especially since we still have a lot of ski season left.”

April is typically a snowy month in Colorado.

The group’s figures do not include the four ski areas run by Vail Resorts Inc.