Return to pow
Jeremy Benson [ARCHIVE]
February 21, 2011
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Tahoe's winter started out with record-breaking early season snowfall, like the jet stream was using the region for target practice. By New Year's day the area had received 200 percent of normal precipitation. But then a six-week long powder famine struck.

During the 45-day period, a measly 10 inches of snow fell. Stubborn high pressure systems pushed storms around Tahoe -- north into BC then south through Jackson, Salt Lake, and Colorado. It seemed maybe La Niņa had turned her back on Tahoe for good.

Then at the beginning of February, rumors of a big storm began to circulate. By last Tuesday, the expectations were high as the storm to end all storms was bearing down on us -- two feet were expected overnight. By morning, we had 18 inches and a raging snowstorm. Our prayers had been answered: We were back in the pow.

And it wasn't the dense Sierra cement Tahoe is sometimes known for. Water content was in the 5 percent range, with foot after fluffy foot piling high from Mammoth to Sugar Bowl. A relentless onslaught of the Valentine's week storm raged on for four full days.

On the fifth day, snow tapered off in the morning and clearing skies revealed the aftermath of the storm, mountains transformed back to white. Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, and Sugar Bowl reported storm totals around 100-plus inches while Kirkwood claimed just over 12 feet. Not a bad way to break the cycle.

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