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Tahoe’s ski season is within sight, but still out of reach

People ski and snowboard near Lake Tahoe over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday. | Michael Ho Wai Lee/via Getty Images

Over the summer, the Mt. Rose ski resort—which boasts the highest elevation in the Lake Tahoe region and is often the first of all the developed mountains to be dusted by natural snow—projected it would be open by Nov. 3.

Unfortunately for Bay Area skiers and snowboarders, none of the Sierra Nevada’s slopes are currently shreddable—and none are likely to open by the first week of November. (The lifts are already running at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in the Colorado Rocky Mountains if you want to make the trip.)

The highest elevations of greater Lake Tahoe got a dusting of snow on Sept. 19 and have seen a few flurries so far this October. According to Drew Tuma, meteorologist for ABC 7 News, the first snowfall of the year typically hits the Sierras in the last week of October.

The Mt. Rose website does not currently offer an opening date. Reached by phone, a representative for the company who was not authorized to speak on the record would not offer a prediction as to when the resort might open. However, snow is in the forecast for Wednesday, Nov. 2. Other Tahoe area ski resorts have posted opening dates in mid-November and early December on their official websites.

Tuma added that California appears to be entering a La Niña winter, “which typically means overall the Sierra will see below-average snowfall.” While the months of November and December tend to be wetter during La Niña years, the months of January, February and March tend to be drier, Tuma said.

When the resorts around Lake Tahoe do finally open, The Palisades—the name of the dual-resort conglomerate comprising Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows—is hoping to steal the show with a new gondola connecting the base areas of Olympic and Alpine. The gondola could open as early as mid-December. The Palisades is projecting an opening date of Nov. 22