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Snow-packed ski resorts open for long weekend

May 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff of the summer season. But you can't tell by the new snow in the Sierra. Ski resorts are gearing up for a rare Memorial Day re-opening. Some campers are left a bit confused by the unusual weather.Some Californians are going to be holding off on the barbecues and swimsuits this weekend because it's just not quite summer yet in some parts.

By most people's psychological clocks, Memorial Day weekend is usually the unofficial start of summer, but die-hard skiers and snowboarders aren't putting away their equipment just yet. Californians are still skiing at places like Mammoth Mountain.

And closer to Lake Tahoe, a few ski resorts are preparing for a rare Memorial Day Weekend re-opening. Two feet of new snow fell just this week.

After three years of drought, businesses welcome the opportunity to make more money.

"The last few years have been very bleak compared to this," said Lincoln Kauffman, general manager of Donner Ski Ranch. "We didn't have this much snow in January of last year."

Some folks just couldn't wait for the lifts to open. They climbed the mountains themselves, a chore well worth it, they say.

"It's really abnormal to have these kinds of conditions in the 9,000-foot peaks that we have here. Really unusual," said skier Rob Anthony.

"It is kind of rare," said skier Kevin Schmidt. "My couple of friends and I are going to try and go for a complete 12-month season."

The Lacys booked their campsite six months ago not knowing it'll still be winter-like come Memorial Day; even the dog needs a coat.

But they opted to go through the trip anyway, despite what the park ranger told them.

"Only 17 campsites, people are coming in. Everybody else cancelled, most of them this morning," said Margie Lacy.

While the snow provides beautiful scenery worthy of a postcard, many of the locals just want summer to get here.

"Usually I'd be wearing shorts and a tank-top, and I have to still be in my winter clothes," said local resident Aleigh Krug.

It's unclear how many more weekends some of the ski resorts will be open. Some speculate, at this rate, it could last until the Fourth of July.

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