A fresh blanket of snow in California’s Sierras from this weekend’s winter-like storms has resulted in several of California’s 27 ski resorts opening earlier than expected.
The good news follows four winters of drought that severely impacted the resorts’ business operations.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose Ski Taho, Mammoth Mountain, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley Ski Resort are among the resorts that will be opening earlier than expected thanks to a significant snow boost. The Bee notes that the mountains and their ski resorts are typically barren before Thanksgiving.
The larger resorts that are open have large snow-making operations, but even the smaller resorts, such as China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore, California, are optimistic about a good snow season.
Skiers who take to the slopes regularly were only able to enjoy the slopes half as often as usual last year as a result of the drought. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that business for the ski industry has taken a beating over the past four years as the the resorts received less than 75 percent of the snowfall they needed, resulting in many closures in the middle of the busy winter season. They noted that in some areas, visits fell to a low of 4.6 million visits, which is 40% less than what they had experienced during the 2010-2011 seasons.
Talk of the a strengthening El Niño storm has also elevated the optimism felt by skiers and snowboarders who are anticipated their trek to the white mountains. Social media reflected the excitement:
— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) November 10, 2015
— KenWayne (@KenWayneKTVU) November 9, 2015