SACRAMENTO (AP) — The winter has been rough on Sierra ski resorts, but this week’s storms have them looking a lot more like they usually do at this time of year.
Squaw Valley, which sits between Truckee and the north shore of Lake Tahoe, received 22 inches of snow at its top elevations between Wednesday, when the first storm hit, and midday Friday. Neighboring Alpine Meadows reported 15 inches.
Amelia Richmond, a spokeswoman for both resorts, said another foot of new snow is expected by today.
About 15 inches had fallen between Wednesday and midday Friday at the University of California Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab located near Donner Summit.
“All these (storm) events move us a little higher up, but we’re still well below average,” said researcher Randall Osterhuber.
He had been measuring snow depths and was struck by how little snow was accumulating below 7,000 feet, roughly the elevation of the snow lab. Below that elevation, precipitation this winter has largely been falling as rain.
“It still adds to the watershed, which is a good thing,” he said.
The relatively high snow levels will lead to a smaller overall snowpack if the conditions hold through the spring, and that means less runoff from snowmelt into California’s reservoirs over the summer. In a typical year, the Sierra Nevada snowpack provides about one-third of the water used in the state.