New snow: Winter wonderland for skiers, riders, sledders and sightseers

About 1 1/2 to 2 feet of new snow blanketed Truckee-Tahoe ski resorts on Friday, creating the best skiing conditions of the season and a winter wonderland.

Resorts that reported major snowfall included, Boreal, Sugar Bowl (opening today with powder conditions), Northstar California, Squaw (Squaw Creek lift is expected to open today), Heavenly, Kirkwood, Sierra at Tahoe, Mt. Rose and others. Most of the other ski areas, including Alpine Meadows, Homewood and Diamond Peak.

“Deep in it for a great opening ‘POW’ day,” Sugar Bowl reported.

Another six inches of snow could fall today. Cold temperatures through Tuesday will be ideal for snowmaking, adding more base to the slopes ahead of the Christmas break.

Last winter’s recovery from the difficult 2011-12 season has led to many millions of dollars in capital improvements at the ski resorts, including a new Crow’s Peak chairlift at Sugar Bowl. New perks are being added too, including food trucks with fresh, local sustainable menus at Squaw.

NEW SNOW CREATES “HOLIDAY POSTCARDS”

The foothills also received enough snowfall to create snowy scenes that were postcard perfect. One example: snowfall at Grass Valley’s Cornish Christmas for the first time in many years. Downtown Nevada City was blanketed in snow.

The Christmas tree in downtown Truckee was magical-looking, with snowfall around it. “Snow falling and twinkling lights makes Truckee a holiday postcard tonight,” one person reported.

Holiday events are planned for Saturday, including the Festival of Lights in downtown Auburn and the “Home for the Holidays” concerts at Music in the Mountains.

Many residents expressed wonderment at the snowy scenes around them, including in their yards. They were warm inside. “Scones baking, coffee hot, fire hotter,” one reported. “Knee deep for me; neck deep for my dog,” said another.

Mountain lodges also reported snowy landscapes outdoors and warm fires glowing inside. “What is more magical than waking up to this,” reported the Cedar House Sport Hotel.

“It’s snowing at Tahoe this morning, which means it’s time to catch snowflakes on your tongue in the jacuzzi,” said the Resort at Squaw Creek, known for its festive Christmas tree and gingerbread house in the lobby.

Caltrans warned that chains were required across Donner Summit, except on 4-wheel drive vehicles, as well as on Highway 20. All travelers are being urged to drive with caution. Check the road conditions before driving.

The Foothill Farmers Markets in Auburn and Rocklin were closed due to the weather but will be open next week. “This is the last of the hardy persimmons,” said one Nevada City resident in a photo on Facebook.

Northstar is Open Top to Bottom from Northstar California Videos on Vimeo.

(Photos: Northstar, Truckee and Cedar House Sport Hotel; persimmons by Peter Van Zant)

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