By Brandon Fuhs
Heading up the lift on your way to the first run of the day, the last thing you want to see is patches of bare mountain.
That’s what you would’ve seen if it wasn’t for the most recent storm.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe received two feet of snow over a four-day period in early February, but it’s been so warm outside, there’s not enough on the mountain to keep it covered for more than a couple weeks.
The warm weather isn’t helping this season, but it’s been so dry that the heat isn’t the biggest problem resorts are facing.
Mt. Rose received less than two feet of snow before that storm in early February, and got only six inches of snow in 2013.
Mt. Rose averages 350 inches of snow a season. This season, it has received only 56 inches of snow.
Mt. Rose isn’t the only resort that’s been having a rough season, as the whole Reno-Tahoe area is suffering from the unseasonable weather.
Northstar California is arguably getting the worst conditions, with the Village being too dry to stay in.
“We have had to move all our operations to mid-mountain because there isn’t enough snow to stay in the village,” said sophomore Austin McWhinney, a ski instructor at Northstar.
Operations moved to mid-mountain recently, and McWhinney mentioned that Northstar has only been managing because of their ability to make snow.
“I would say this is the worst season I’ve seen,” McWhinney said.
Having arguably the worst season in our generation has come at the expense of resorts and workers.
“I know a bunch of lift operators were let go because they couldn’t give them enough hours,” McWhinney said.
“To my knowledge we operators were let go because they couldn’t give them enough hours, McWhinney said. “To my knowledge we haven’t had all our lifts open once this season.”
McWhinney also mentioned the lower number of riders on the mountain compared to previous years due to the lack of snow.
He’s noticed fewer numbers of tourists from outside the Reno-Tahoe area, but that hasn’t been the same for Mt. Rose.
“This season is the worst I can remember, but it hasn’t affected Bay Area skiers and snow boarders who come fort he holidays,” said sophomore Sadie Whiteley, a ski instructor at Mt. Rose.
“We’ve had to make more snow than past years, but the condition shave been great.
”The lack of snow puts resorts in tough situations, not only for tourists coming up for the holidays, but for the locals who are always on the slopes.
“I think people who have been coming up have been pleasantly surprised by how nice the snow is and the weather has been,” Whiteley said.
There are almost two months left in the season, so this season can’t be called in recent history quite yet.
The recent high temperatures,including multiple days over 60° F at the base of Mt. Rose, make it hard to stay optimistic that this season can turn around.
Fortunately there’s another storm coming later in the week, and one big storm could make the last couple months of the season remarkably better.
If the rest of the season continues the way it’s been going, the resorts will just have to manage.“We have enough snow to get through the season, and there should be more snow to come,” Whiteley said.
Brandon Fuhs can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.