Lake Tahoe Snow Report

Lake Tahoe and Truckee received a small amount of snow during the beginning of November. The cold weather has allowed local ski resorts to begin snowmaking, and colder conditions have also kept the snow from melting. This is a La Niña year and we are hoping to see more snowfall this year compared to last year's weak El Niño event.

Lake Tahoe weather shows another smaller system will move in tonight, with a bit more snow over the weekend from two separate systems. However, snow levels will remain above lake level at 6500-7800 feet. Both of these events will not bring more than a few inches of snow.

Forecasters are in agreement that the end of November should see larger storms. Snowfall will coincide with many ski resort opening dates at Lake Tahoe and Truckee. This is a La Niña year, and that always bodes well for heavier than normal snow fall.

This weekend, North Lake Tahoe ski resorts like Northstar and Squaw/Alpine are expected to receive another 6 inches, while the Donner Pass resorts, Boreal and Sugar Bowl are forecasted to get 4 inches. Heavenly and Kirkwood should receive 3 inches.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Opening Dates

Northstar 11/20/2020

Squaw/Alpine 11/25/2020

Heavenly 11/20/2020

Sugar Bowl 11/29/2020

Homewood  12/06/2020

Tahoe Donner 12/11/2020

La Niña Winter at Lake Tahoe

La Niña is associated with colder water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and can bring extreme temperatures and precipitation. The last La Niña winter was 2017 and 2018, which brought a lot of snow.

While NOAA reports that the Northwest may experience a wetter and colder winter than normal and the Southwest and South may experience a drier and warmer winter than normal, Lake Tahoe is straddled in between the two. Jet streams and fronts can keep storms in the Pacific Northwest.

A weak La Niña could bring the polar jet farther south, which would be great for skiing at Lake Tahoe. A strong La Niña would keep it farther north. The forecast shows this La Niña to be moderate.

Last year, a weak El Niño gave many hopes for a big winter, but Donner Summit received only 275 inches of snow, below the average of 410 inches. Forecasters are predicting a moderate La Niña chilling this year.

Will We See the Pineapple Express?

During La Niña, jet stream and cloud patterns in the Pacific Ocean can bring moisture to the Northwest from Hawaii. When this happens, we call it the Pineapple Express because the moisture seems endless. At the same time, a blocking high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska can pull the polar jet stream further south.

When dense and cold air circulate under moist, sub-tropical clouds streaming up from Hawaii, heavy snowfall is expected. A moderate La Niña during the winter of 1906-07 brought more than 73 feet of snow to the Sierra! This was an all-time record for snow fall in Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

It is still too early to say how La Niña will affect skiing at Lake Tahoe for the 2020/2021 ski season, but we are all hopeful that this will be an epic ski year. Be sure to read my September blog about changes to ski resorts due to Covid and season pass information.

The Lake Tahoe and Truckee real estate market has also had record breaking sales activity over the summer and fall. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling your home at Lake Tahoe, I'd love to help you. Contact me today for a free property analysis or for a list of available homes for sale.