Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

Skiers won't be able to hit the slopes of Dodge Ridge just yet but the 2012-2013 season appears to be off to a promising start, according to advertising and creative director Jeff Hauff.

A storm that rolled into the Mother Lode Thursday night brought just under a foot of fresh powder to the mountain's base of 6,600 feet by Sunday morning, and the ski area is expecting to see more snowfall this week.

Last week's snowfall came shortly after a late October storm system that also brought about a foot of snow to the mountain's base, although most of that was gone by the time the new storm arrived.

"(We're) starting to see that winter alignment of storm systems coming through and these are all really good signs," Hauff said.

Hauff said it is hard to project an opening date for Dodge Ridge because it has opened as early as October and as late as January, but the opening date in an average season is usually during the first or second week of December.

A dry winter during the 2011-2012 ski season kept Dodge Ridge, which relies completely on natural snow, closed until late January.The ski area received about 250 inches of snow instead of the usual 300 to 500 inches, according to Amber Jenquin, director of marketing and sales.

Hauff said this season is already off to a better start than last season because of the "connected number of storms and multi-day storms."

The decline in temperature that accompanied the recent snowfall is also a good sign for Dodge Ridge.

Temperatures in the Pinecrest area dropped into the teens at night and 20s during the day last week and remained below freezing over the weekend, the Dodge Ridge website reported Sunday.

"As long as the snow keeps accumulating and it stays cold, we'll be good to go," Hauff said.

The ski area is still hiring for some seasonal management positionsbut the staff has completed most of its preparations for the season, Hauff said.

"We're ready to open tomorrow if we got the snowfall we needed," he said.

Bear Valley Mountain reported just over a foot of snow from the storm, with a total of 16 inches this month and 26 inches in October.

The ski resort typically opens in mid-December because it has the ability to make artificial snow.

Last winter, Bear Valley received 227 inches of snow from November to April, less than its average of 350 inches, but was able to carry out a normal-length season largely because of snowmaking.