Winter Hits Hard In Lake Tahoe, Jumpstarts Snowmaking Operations

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 22, 2012 12:56 pm

Lake Tahoe, a premiere destination for skiers and snowboarders, is getting a lift in spirit to all Tahoe areas just in time for the 2012/13 season, so get pumped up!

After suffering from a dismal season last year, Tahoe is bringing in snow to Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mammoth, Bear Valley, Sugar Bowl, Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Diamond Peak, Donner Ski Ranch, Homewood, Mt Rose Ski Tahoe, Northstar, and Sierra at Tahoe

Taking a cue from three to six inches of snow Mother Nature provided on Monday, Heavenly Mountain Resort will fire up the largest snowmaking system on the West Coast tonight and begin making snow at the top of Gondola, on California Trail and Orion’s Run. Combining natural snowfall, snowmaking horsepower and Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation, guests are assured the best, most consistent and reliable snow surfaces when Heavenly opens for skiing and snowboarding on Friday, November 16, 2012. 

With a winter storm warning in effect until Tuesday morning, the forecast for the remainder of the week calls for snow until Thursday, with up to 32 total inches expected in the higher elevations. Historically, almost every year Heavenly has experienced significant snowfall in October, the following winter was above average. The average October snowfall total is 3.06 inches, with October 2004 experiencing the most recent largest snowfall for the month (24″). The 2004-05 winter recorded the fifth biggest snowfall season on record. With outlets like Accuweather calling for a return t0 normal snowfall for winter 2012-13, Lake Tahoe’s high annual snowfall average should position Heavenly for a big winter.

Snow on Trees - Heavenly

If Mother Nature doesn’t come through as anticipated, under optimum conditions, Heavenly can cover 73 percent of its 97 trails in machine-made snow, by far the most in the Lake Tahoe basin. In more visual terms, Heavenly can produce three-and-a-half feet of snow over one acre in an hour. That’s enough snow to blanket a football field with eight-and-a-half feet during an average three-hour game.

The Pow Package

This season, Heavenly will be offering a limited-time only, exclusive lodging deal whenever the resort receives six or more inches of new snowfall overnight. Beginning at midnight tonight, Heavenly will offer its first Pow Package, which includes 50 percent off two nights lodging and one free day of skiing. Prices start as low as $111 per person. This deal is only available until midnight on Sunday, October 28. Valid: November 18-December 20, 2012; Sunday-Thursday nights.

For skiers and snowboarders planning ahead, Heavenly Tahoe Vacations, Heavenly’s reservations office, offers guests an ‘Early Booking Snow Guarantee,’ which provides a refund or change of dates if less than 50 percent of the 97 runs are open seven days prior to arrival and no less than 48 hours prior to arrival. This offer is valid December 15-March 31. Call 1-800-HEAVENLY for details or visit

Season Pass

The Tahoe Local Pass remains unmatched in value, price and experience with access to over 263 trails, 14 terrain parks and 10,270 acres of some of the best terrain in the world at Heavenly, Northstar California Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California and Nevada. Ski or ride more than four days in one season and, priced at $459, the Tahoe Local Pass pays for itself, then ski or ride for FREE the rest of the season. Vail Resorts’ entire season pass lineup offers something for every type of skier and snowboarder, including four different season pass options in Lake Tahoe ranging in price from $419 to $699. For more information, visit