The snowpack is still massive in May. Watch 5 years of Sierra snow from space
Squaw Valley announced Wednesday that for the first time, the resort will stay open through the summer for skiing and snowboarding as long as the snow lasts.
To accomplish this, the resort will move snow around with machines and skiers will have to walk a short distance from the aerial tram to the snow in July and beyond.
“To many of our guests, the idea of summer skiing and riding is a novelty, but with the season we’ve had here we can provide a surface for skiing and riding that guests will want to enjoy not just once, but weekend after weekend,” said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley CEO.
The reason for the long ski season is as obvious as the many feet of snow on the ground. A total of 714 inches of snow fell at Squaw Valley this winter, which is about 60 feet of the white stuff.
The state Department of Water Resources has declared the 2016-17 water year the wettest on record. Resort operators said that January’s 282 inches of snow was the most recorded for a month at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley will offer skiing and snowboarding on July 4 for the fourth time ever – and will keep the resort open beyond the holiday for the first time in the resort’s history.
Alpine Meadows will operate Saturdays and Sundays only through the closing day of May 14. Squaw Valley will continue seven days a week through May and on weekends in June continuing through July 4.
Beyond the Fourth of July, Squaw Valley will continue operations indefinitely on Saturdays.
Summer skiers and snowboarders will access the 8,200-elevation via the Aerial Tram and then walk to where the snow remains. The resort will make the snow last as long as they can by using snow grooming machines.
Squaw Valley personnel will move snow from areas with remaining snow to areas where more snow needs to be placed, thereby extending the snowpack deep into the summer, according to resort officials.
The area where summer skiing will take place has a northwest aspect, a direction with limited sun exposure and snowmelt.