First big Sierra snowstorm brings early-season boost to ski areas

They're doing a happy dance on the ski slopes this week, from Mt. Rose above Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Ski resorts in the eastern Sierra Nevada received more than a foot of snow -- and 2 feet at higher elevations -- as storms blew through from Tuesday through Thursday.


The snow dump left resorts busily planning to open additional terrain and lifts this weekend. And there was more good news: Another storm may move in late next week.

"Thanks to Mother Nature and Tahoe's highest base elevation, Mt. Rose has seen nothing but snow all week," Michael Price, marketing director of Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, said in a statement. "This storm has been the good old-fashioned Sierra storm we've been waiting for."

The resort, about a half an hour's drive from Reno, received 17 to 21 inches of snow between Tuesday and Thursday. It opened 40% of its terrain, including a top-to-bottom run, with a base depth of 15 to 27 inches at 8,260 feet.

Mt. Rose plans to open its Slide Bowl and Winters Creek Lodge Friday. (The ski area also launched a flash sale on passes until Monday that costs $479 for adults, marked down from $600.)

Mammoth Mountain reports that it received 15 to 24 inches of snow this week. The resort will expand its terrain Saturday access to Cornice Bowl for top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding.

The resort also makes a "snow guarantee" for those who book a trip to Mammoth before Dec. 15. If there's not a base depth of 50 inches of snow by Jan. 15 or 60 inches by Feb. 1, the ski area will give you a $100 gift card or you can change your reservation date without penalty.

In Southern California, the news was not as good. Mountain High near Wrightwood, Snow Summit at Big Bear Lake and Mt. Baldy above Baldy Village were closed. All reported receiving rain instead of snow from the recent storms.