Friday, August 26, 2011

ENDLESS WINTER: FOLKS STILL SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING OUT WEST!

There are few places in California where people can see snow year-round, let alone, ride or ski it. But this year, Lake Tahoe might be one of those places.



“I've never gone this late in the season,” said Joanna Dzierzawski, a South Lake Tahoe snowboarder. “There was plenty of snow up at the second patch and I'm pretty sure you could just keep finding more and more up higher.”



Last weekend, Dzierzawski and friends took a camping trip near Red Lakes out Highway 88 to catch some late season runs. What they found was a snowpack that has a chance at making into next winter. And conditions weren't too bad.



“The snow was definitely pretty hard in the morning,” Dzierzawski said. “But it softened up when the sun came out."



... One indicator of how much snow is left in the mountains is to gauge how much water is still flowing in local streams. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the flows from the Sierra are still far above average.



Thursday, Trout Creek was running at 320 percent of average, in a the “much above normal” class. On the West Shore, Blackwood Creek was at 235 percent of average. Through the first 21 days of August, the American River was running at more than 300 percent of average for that time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.



“Either there was a lot of water coming out of the ground or we're just starting to see the snow at the highest elevations begin to melt,” said DWR engineer Steve Nemeth.



Pyramid Peak has snow covering about half of its north side. Just below, Lake Aloha is brimming at the top of its dam.



Around the lake, 17 of the Natural Resource Conservation Service's 24 working Tahoe region snow data collectors are
still showing some snow depth as of Thursday. Manual measurements of the snowpack stopped in May and few automatic data collectors exist at the higher elevations in the region.



It is a possibility for snow to last year-round in the Sierra, though it's more likely in the Southern Sierra than the Tahoe region, Nemeth said. But by the looks of things up at “the Patch,” it might be a 365 day ski season.
IOW: AGW = TFBS.

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