Tahoe ski resorts close as potentially record-breaking snowstorm slams into Sierra

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Saturday, March 2, 2024
Tahoe ski resorts close amid potentially record-breaking snowstorm
Lake Tahoe ski resorts including Palisades are closing as potentially record-breaking snow slams into Sierra.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Lake Tahoe area is bracing for extreme weather. Blizzard conditions could bring five to 12 feet of snow.

ABC7 News checked in with ski resorts as well as people who live and are visiting the area.

Powerful winds and heavy snow are hitting the Lake Tahoe area hard. More is coming with each passing hour.

Experts say it's possible that we will break some records.

TIMELINE: Tracking Level 2 storm in Bay Area with Lake Tahoe blizzard warning

All over Truckee, snow is flying.

People are moving fast to clear away the snow from sidewalks and roads, their cars and homes.

And, people are bracing for more snow to slam into the Sierra.

"I think it's crazy we didn't expect this storm this year. It looks like it's snowing so hard," said Eric Jacobo.

"I'm mainly worried about the wind. It's not the snow. It's the wind," said Spencer Larson.

"I saw a big rig yesterday that was totally flipped over. It was knarly," said Dayna Eder of Reno.

Live storm updates: I-80 closed in both directions over Donner Summit, CHP says

So much snow is expected, more than a dozen ski resorts have closed including Palisades Tahoe.

"Last night, we received 17 inches of snow. There's been 145 mph wind gusts. So we are closed today. The Palisade side as well as the Alpine side is closed for the day," said Patrick Lacey, spokesperson for Palisades Tahoe.

An avalanche threat is a major concern. So crews are working to mitigate the risk.

"We will booming the mountain today, tomorrow an even Sunday," said Lacey.

Tuck Wilson lives in Olympic Valley about half a mile from Palisades.

"It's blowing really hard. It's snowing hard," said Wilson.

VIDEO: Ski resorts join local agencies in urging drivers to avoid Tahoe over next 3 days due to storm

Caltrans, NWS and local ski resorts are urging drivers not to drive to the Tahoe Area over the next three days due to winter storms.

Here's how it looked from his deck on Friday. He, too has been busy working to clear away the snow - he knows it's going to keep coming with conditions expected to get even wilder.

"I'd like to say the snow has been falling hard, but the snow has been going sideways hard," said Wilson.

In Soda Springs at the Central Sierra Snow Lab, the lead scientist says this blizzard could break their modern-day record of about 3.5 feet of snow in a single day. That was set in 1989.

"Right now with the way the storm is looking, we could potentially get into the top 10 snowiest days at the snow lab. It's a possibility," said Andrew Schwartz of UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.

All the snow headed to the Sierra is great for the state's snow pack

MORE: Blizzard warning: Caltrans asks skiers, snowboarders to stay home ahead of massive Sierra snowstorm

"This is great for the sierra, ski resort, mountain operators," said Kevin "Coop" Cooper of California Mountain Resort Company.

For now, it's about just making it through the weekend.

"In the last 30 years, I have not heard of 120 inches blizzard warning. So we could set some records in short term," said Cooper.

This is the most powerful storm of the season.

It's hitting from north of Lake Tahoe to south of Yosemite National Park.

That's a 300-mile stretch.

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