RENO, Nev. (KGO) -- Mid-week storms dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe, where Sugar Bowl opens for its 75th season on Saturday and ski resorts up and down the Sierra are feeling much better about conditions than they did a week ago.
Mount Rose Ski Resort, which reported 18 inches of new snow southwest of Reno, was among those that opened access to the top of their slopes for the first time this week.
"This storm has been the good old-fashioned Sierra storm we've been waiting for, one that helps to build a fantastic base that will keep our guests skiing and riding all season long," said Mike Pierce, Mount Rose's marketing director.
Northstar California, along U.S. Interstate 80 near Truckee, opened 12 additional trails on Thursday after reporting 31 inches of new snow on the upper runs over the six previous days.
"We're thrilled," Northstar Vice President Beth Howard said. "Conditions are great."
On the Tahoe's south shore, Heavenly Mountain Resort reported 20 inches of snow throughout the week, allowing for the opening of its premier runs serviced by the Big Dipper express lift.
"We began making snow on Big Dipper a week ago, and this storm brought us that last little bit we needed to be able to open it to guests," Heavenly Vice President Pete Sonntag said.
Just before the storm arrived, the Sierra Nevada snowpack was at just 24 percent of normal for this time of year. The early snow is a welcome change for ski operators who last year had to lean heavily on man-made snow.
"We are way ahead of where we were last year," said Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association. "People are pretty excited."