Historic Winter Snowfall near 60 feet
Olympic Valley, Calif. – Winter and summer will blend together in 2017 at Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe) as the resort emerges from a historic winter and sets the stage to operate July 1-4 and Saturdays thereafter as long as conditions allow.
714 inches of snow fell at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this winter, equaling nearly 60 feet. 10 Atmospheric River weather events hit the resort, where the average season sees two to four. Squaw Valley currently has a base depth of 20 feet and is primed to offer skiing and riding in the Shirley zone for winter enthusiasts looking to boot-up long into the summer. As the only Tahoe resort planning to operate beyond the month of May, Squaw Valley will offer skiing and riding on July 4 for the fourth time ever and will venture beyond Independence Day for the first time in its history.
The California Department of Water Resources has declared the 2016-17 water year the wettest on record, just over half way through the water year (October 2016-October 2017). January 2017 at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows broke the resort’s record for most snow in one month, with 282 inches, followed by the snowiest February ever with another 196 inches. With the Tahoe Basin snowpack currently at more than 300% of average, the Squaw Valley operations team plans to work in conjunction with Mother Nature, as they have all season long, to provide a skiable surface in July and beyond, narrowing the gap between the 2016-17 season and the 2017-18 season.
“We are in the business of skiing here at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and engaging creative solutions to take advantage of this historic snow year is an irresistible proposition,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “To many of our guests, the idea of summer skiing and riding is a novelty, but with the season we’ve had here we can provide a surface for skiing and riding that guests will want to enjoy not just once, but weekend after weekend.”
Guests planning to ski and ride will access High Camp at 8200′ via the Aerial Tram and make their way on foot between High Camp and where the snow remains. Through the strategic movement of snow using grooming machines, Squaw Valley mountain operations team members will transport snow from areas with ample snow to areas with lower amounts of snow, effectively maximizing the snowpack long into summer. The Shirley zone also benefits from a northwest aspect, limiting sun exposure and snow loss due to melting.
Alpine Meadows will operate on Saturdays & Sundays only through closing day on Sunday, May 14. Operations at Squaw Valley will continue seven days a week through May, on weekends in June and July 1-4. Beyond the 4th of July, Squaw Valley is planning to operate the Shirley Lake Express chair on Saturdays for 2017-18 Tahoe Super Passholders. Discounted daily lift tickets will also be available.
As always, skiing and riding operations are weather and conditions permitting. Summer operations will continue as long as the snowpack allows, with no closing day currently scheduled.