Visitors to the California mountains this summer can add snow play to their list of things to do.
With record-breaking snowfall this recent winter, some mountain resorts are staying open into the summer for skiing and snowboarding. Families can enjoy the slopes in the morning, put on shorts and enjoy the rest of the day by the lake or on a bike ride.
In the Tahoe region, Palisades Tahoe will have its alpine area open until Fourth of July weekend, Donner Ski Ranch will be open until the snow is gone, and other resorts like Heavenly at South Lake Tahoe will stay open into May. In Southern California, Mammoth Mountain announced it will continue skiing and snowboarding operations until at least July.
This has been the second snowiest season since the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab at Donner Pass started recording in 1946, with more than 700 inches of snow. First place goes to 1952 with 812 inches of accumulated snowfall.
For those who couldn’t make it to the mountains during the winter because of road closures, there’s still time.
During June, Palisades Tahoe, which received 700 inches of snow as of April 5, will keep the alpine area open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for skiing and snowboarding. Palisades will be closed for snow sports after May 29, but The Village at Palisades Tahoe will be open daily throughout the summer. For the July 4 weekend, the alpine area will be open for skiing and snowboarding, along with Independence Day holiday festivities. The Aerial Tram will be open through May 29, reopen between June 16-18 and then daily starting June 23 for summer sightseeing and activities.
This isn’t the first time Palisades Tahoe has stayed open until July 4, says public relations manager Patrick Lacey. The resort always strives to extend ski and snowboard operations into summer but often doesn’t get enough snow.
“People have dual sports days where they may go water skiing in the morning and skiing in the afternoon,” Lacey says. “There’s more of a party vibe during this time of year.”
Mike Reitzell, president of Ski California, a trade association of downhill and cross-country ski resorts, says he doesn’t anticipate most resorts will stay open beyond July 4 apart from Mammoth Mountain, which has no closing date for snow sport operations.
“There’s enough snow for sure,” he says. “But you have to consider staffing levels and shifting to summer operations.”
In addition to snow sports, Reitzell says visitors can enjoy summer activities. Some of the hiking and mountain biking trails may be closed if there’s still a lot of snow, he says. Also, beaches will be smaller because Lake Tahoe’s water level will be higher than usual from all the winter precipitation.
“We just ask that visitors please be respectful of the area,” Reitzell says. “Be a sustainable tourist.”
Tahoe Summer Events
* Concerts at Commons Beach – June 12-Sept. 4. Enjoy free live concerts every Sunday (except July 3) during the summer at Commons Beach in Tahoe City.
* Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival – June 30-Aug. 20. This year, the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors will be performed at the festival located at Sand Harbor State Park.
* Lights on the Lake – July 4. Synchronized fireworks display at South Lake Tahoe.
* Ski California – Information about ski resorts, snow reports and safety information.
* UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab – Research facility at Donner Summit that keeps records of snowfall and precipitation.
* North Lake Tahoe Official Visitors Bureau – Information about the Tahoe area, webcams, weather information and more.
* Explore Tahoe Visitor Center – Offers things to do, restaurants, events and places to stay.