Ski resorts laud first snowfall of season

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat /

Area ski resorts have received over a foot of snow since a series of storms rolled into the Mother Lode starting Sunday night.

As of Wednesday morning, Dodge Ridge Ski Area in Pinecrest received nine inches of snow at its base of 6,600 feet and 13 inches at its summit. Bear Valley Mountain reported about 18 to 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Dodge Ridge anticipated another four inches of snow by the end of Wednesday at elevations of 5,000 feet and higher, and Bear Valley predicted another three to five inches.

Neither ski resort will open immediately following this week's storms, but both are optimistic about the season ahead.

"It's always great to see the first sign of winter," said Amber Jenquin, director of marketing and sales at Dodge Ridge.

Dodge Ridge has not yet determined an opening date but Bear Valley expects to open around its usual time in mid-December.

A dry winter during the 2011-2012 ski season kept Dodge Ridge, which relies completely on natural snow, closed until late January. Bear Valley was able to open three lifts before January because of its ability to make artificial snow, according to snowboard supervisor Josh Bridges.

However, receiving natural snow is preferred because snowmaking is an expensive, labor-intensive process that requires large amounts of water, Bridges said. The resort is limited on how much water it can use for snowmaking.

Although last winter brought below average amounts of snow overall, both resorts saw some snowfall around this time last year. Jenquin said Dodge Ridge received decent snowfall from a 24-hour storm last October, but it was not part of a consecutive series of storms like the area has seen this week.

Bridges said Bear Valley has seen about a foot more of snow this week than it received during last October's storm.

"This is giving us a really good base," he said.

Contact Christina O'Haver at cohaver@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4526.

11882986
The Union Democrat
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