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Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood resorts extend ski season due to monstrous snow totals

Three major Tahoe-area ski resorts are extending their season by about a week, thanks to record-breaking snowfall from Northern California’s recent storms.

Vail Resorts’ three Tahoe properties – Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood – have announced they will stay open an extra week into April as well as “bonus” three-day weekends at each site, Vail said Thursday in a news release.

Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are now set to close for the season on April 28, April 21 and April 14, respectively, after previously being projected to shut down a week earlier than those dates. Heavenly will reopen May 3-5 for a three-day weekend, and Kirkwood will do the same April 19-21.

Those resorts and others both north and south of Tahoe have been pummeled recently. As of Wednesday, Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe had gotten 386 inches of snow so far in 2019. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, on the north side, has received 557 inches on the year.

Heavy storms have not only blanketed the slopes with fresh powder, but created treacherous conditions at and near the resorts, also making it impossible for many travelers to make the trip to a resort. Multiple resorts have posted warnings on their websites indicating avalanche control and high winds will affect operations.

Ski resorts have reported the most recent storm introduced high avalanche danger due to fluctuating snow levels.

Snowfall will lighten Thursday and Friday before two more rounds pour in with a weekend storm and yet another one beginning next Tuesday, each set to drop moderate snow in the Sierra Nevada.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.