RENO, Nev. (AP/CBS13) — Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts were cranking up snow-making efforts Monday after winter roared into the Sierra Nevada over the weekend, dumping record snow in parts of northern Nevada and breaking low-temperature marks from Reno to Tonopah and even Las Vegas.
“The natural snow over the weekend and ongoing cold temperatures have created the ideal conditions for early season snowmaking at Diamond Peak Ski Resort,” said Paul Raymore, marketing manager for the Incline Village General Improvement District on the north end of the lake where 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow fell.
Up to 16 inches of snow was recorded in the valleys along the Sierra’s eastern front on Sunday in Gardnerville, with more than a half-foot in parts of the Reno-Sparks area.
A powerful cold front blew into the region Saturday sending temperatures tumbling by 40 degrees or more in some places in just two days.
South Lake Tahoe, California, followed a record high of 71 degrees on Thursday with a record low of 5 degrees on Sunday — 66 degrees colder in about 60 hours.
Reno and Las Vegas also reached record lows for the date on Sunday, 34 and 54 degrees, respectively. Las Vegas had set a record high of 86 degrees on Thursday.
The chilly trend continued statewide Monday, setting a record low of 14 degrees at Tonopah halfway between Reno and Las Vegas, where the previous mark of 16 degrees was set in 1992.
New records were set near the Nevada-Utah line where 6.6 inches of snow fell in Ely, breaking the old mark of 3.5 in 2010, and 4.1 inches at Winnemucca — smashing a 141-year-old record in the north-central Nevada town on Interstate 80 set in 1879 at 1.1 inches.
Eight inches of snow was reported Sunday at Mt. Charleston northwest of Las Vegas. Up to a quarter-inch of rain fell in some areas of southern Nevada but only a trace at McCarran International Airport, so a record stretch without any measurable precipitation dating to April reached 203 days there on Monday.
The unseasonably cold weather expected to continue through the week makes it easier for ski resorts to maximize man-made snowmaking efforts to build on the base of natural snow as several prepare to open over the next few weeks ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Alex Spychalsky, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 25. “With less than three weeks to go, this is a crucial snowmaking time period for us.”
Seven inches of snow was reported near Truckee, California, at Northstar California, which plans to join Heavenly on the south shore as the earliest resorts scheduled to open, on Nov. 20.
“It is looking white and fluffy out there,” said Joanna Mcwilliams, spokeswoman for Northstar and Heavenly.
Mammoth Mountain spokesman Tim LeRoy reported similar conditions in the central Sierra south of Yosemite National Park.
“Cold overnight temps for the next week along with some snow in the 10 day (forecast) make for a pretty optimistic outlook,” he said.