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Late snow storm keeps Sierra ski season going

April 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A late spring storm dropped several inches of snow in the Lake Tahoe Basin. That's allowing at least one ski resort to stay open much later in the season than expected.

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In mid-April in ski country, the usual mindset is to begin shutting down for the season. But a late-season storm brought up to 2 feet of fresh snow in some spots to the Tahoe Basin. For some ski resorts, that means they can extend the season by a few more weeks.

Donner Ski Ranch says it's looking to stay open until sometime in May.

Later closings are good news since there was no snow in December and January.

"We took a big hit this year, so this is very welcome," said Lincoln Kauffman, Donner Ski Ranch. "Conditions are excellent and if people are interested in skiing, and they seem to be, now is the time to hit."

The new powder attracted visitors from far away. Many thought this would be their last chance this season to play in the snow.

One family traded in the tropical 85-degree weather near Puerto Vallarta for the chilly Sierra. It took them two and a half days to drive up.

"Just to get my son in the snow. The only reason is the snow," said Jessica Saavedra, a visiting tourist from Mexico.

For some Southern California residents, the late storm provided the perfect excuse for a road trip.

"It's a shame that we don't get this in SoCal. I wish we did. But it's a great opportunity to be out here and be able to experience this," said San Fernando Valley resident Jagg Molina.

Still, the fresh storm was too little too late for some Tahoe area ski resorts. Many, like Boreal Mountain, will close up Sunday -- after all, it is spring. Boreal was able to salvage the season by using a record 6 million gallons of recycled water and make snow to keep visitors happy.

"We are closing with all this new snow, but we know that everybody in the Valley starts to think about golfing and boating, everything like that. It's been a good season and we're going to go ahead and close up shop," said Jon Slaughter, marketing director of Boreal Mountain Resort.

Donner Ski Ranch said last year they closed on July 10, but last year saw lots of snow, much different than this season.

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