Lake Tahoe view from the top of the Sky Express Chair at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Phenomenal February could become Miracle March

Tahoe area ski resorts are reporting more than 400 inches of snow this season, and we still have March and April lined up to deliver copious amounts of powder.

The legendary atmospheric river could drop enough precipitation to push us into the fifth largest snowpack in 40 years. Snow sports enthusiasts confirm the powder has been deep, real deep, so much that we are at more than 152 percent of our historical snowpack in California.

Don’t forget that March 2018 brought 212 inches of snow, so fingers are crossed Mother Nature will once again deliver an epic finish to an already monumental year.

Whether you ski or board, prefer black diamonds or friendly greens, drool over groomers or like choking on cold smoke, there are 15-plus ski resorts within a modest drive.

In a normal year, my annual powder pilgrimage requires plane tickets, shuttle vans, trail map scouting and layovers. Not this year, because all the snow is right here near home.

The spirit of powder transforms office jockeys into weekend powder hounds. And this year, we aren’t talking your dad’s ankle-high powder. We are talking kids crying, please don’t lose a ski, it’s almost too deep stuff.

Miracle March skiing snowboarding
Lake Tahoe view from the top of the Sky Express Chair at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

But cold days and snowy conditions have kept people off the slopes and left the diehards up to their own devices while running laps and getting free refills. (Google it.)

Here are a few “on the cheap” tips to get you on the slopes:

You can buy equipment (more expensive), hit up ski swaps (cheaper) or rent all the gear you need at Sports Basement. Rent for a day ($35) or opt for a season rental ($200). They even rent jackets, pants and gloves. All ski resorts have rental departments, but beat the lines and take care of it locally.

Lift tickets
Don’t get robbed at the ticket window. Check REI or Sports Basement for deals. Also visit to have online discounts sent to your phone – show and go. If you want to rise to the next level, consider the EPIC Pass that offers a Tahoe Local Pass. You get unlimited riding at three local mountains (Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar), plus bonus days in Colorado, Utah and Canada. A must have for the hardcore rider.

Road conditions
Check Caltrans before travel at 800-427-ROAD. Download the CARR app and always carry water and blankets.

Best runs
Here’s my 2 cents, based on a dude who can still turn ’em. I like trees, steeps, powder and cruisers
Heavenly. Sky and Canyon Express – High Five, Mott Canyon – Pine Nuts and Dipper.
Northstar. Lookout Mountain – Martis, Backside – Rail Splitter trees.
Sierra-at-Tahoe. Grandview – Upper Dynamite, West Bowl – Horsetail.
Kirkwood. Sentinel Bowl, the Wall, Vista T-Bar Chutes, Sunnyside.
Bear Valley. Grizzly Bowl – West Ridge, Monte Wolfe, Tigger’s.
Squaw. Attic, Sun Bowl, Rock Garden, Granite Chief.
Alpine. Art’s Knob, Promised Land, Three Sisters, Grouse Rock.
If I missed your mountain, drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it.

This year is the perfect chance to ride the fresh stuff. Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are extending operations into late April with bonus, three-day weekends. Get out there.

Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at

Kevin Parker