After five years of strange, snowless winters everyone in the Tahoe area (and all of California) was very relieved to have a nice, snow-filled winter last year. Between the wonderful ski days and the water in the lake, last year’s snowfall was a blessing to everyone, hopefully this winter can impress us even more.
As of late November, we are off to a good start. The storm that hit over Thanksgiving break gave us about a foot of snow at lake level and over two feet up on the mountains. The bigger, higher up ski resorts in the Tahoe area were able to open and the skiing has been very fun for so early in the season. Throughout the month of December, the ski resorts that have not yet opened are scheduled to open and skiers, boarders, and sledders are dusting off their equipment.
Although we seem to be off to a good start, many forecasters and meteorologists are still unsure of what this winter will look like. Unlike last year’s El Niño year, we are in a La Niña cycle. El Niño winters are generally warmer and wetter than average in the Southeast and drier than average in the Northwest. Despite this, El Niño brought Tahoe and all of California a warmer, wetter winter than we had seen in awhile. On the coast the waves towered, and the surfing was phenomenal, and in land and in Tahoe, we received more rain and snow than we had in years. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño. La Niña winters are often much colder and it is dryer in the South and much more wet in the North. If this winter brings a weak La Niña, which is very likely, we can expect a little less than average snowfall, about what we had last year. Hopefully, the La Niña storms will be stronger than expected, the Tahoe area will get plenty of snow, and the lake will fill up.
Despite the uncertainty of weather men and women about the amount of snow Tahoe will receive in the 2016-2017 ski season, ski teams are getting started and people are getting fired up. With just a few weeks left until downhill races, nordic races, big mountain competitions, and more begin, athletes are training like crazy. They have been working hard in the gym and on dry land, but the snow has brought the skiers and boarders onto the mountain. The nice, early season base layer that we have has everyone ecstatic. Hopefully the high spirits and excitement will be kept up by a beautiful, snow-filled winter.