Moving storm looks mild

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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A storm moving into the foothills and Sierra today and Wednesday likely will have only minimal impact on holiday travel plans. And unfortunately, snow totals probably won’t be much of a boost for ski resorts. “Northern California will be on the northern fringe of the storm,” Holly Osborne, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said Monday. “We’re not looking at much precipitation. But we do have a chance of showers Tuesday into Wednesday.” The showers might linger in the Sierra Wednesday night, but will be gone by Thursday, she said. “For snow levels, we’re looking at 6,000 to 7,000 feet,” Osborne said. She estimated 2 to 4 inches of snow total, but increasing further south, with Bear Valley getting 6 or 7 inches. High temperatures will range in the mid-50s for the foothills and the 40s in the mountains. “That low will go into Southern California, so they’ll get most of the precipitation,” she explained. Once the storm passes, high pressure will build in behind it, lasting through the weekend, she said. A number of Sierra resorts are keeping a close eye on weather reports, hoping to ready for skiers and snowboarders this weekend. But Boreal Mountain Resort’s Castle Peak quad is already up and running. “We also are going to open for night riding starting Friday, Nov. 28, marketing coordinator Heather Baker said Monday. For night riding, the resort’s hours will be 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Boreal will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. With the storm front coming in, there’s a possibility of expanding the open terrain by Thursday, Baker said. “But it’s all up to the weather,” she said. Sugar Bowl is shooting for a Thanksgiving weekend opening. “Right now the temperature and forecast are putting us on a “to be announced” (status), marketing director John Monson said. “We only need 24 hours of 25-degree temperatures or below to at least get one run open. So that’s what we’re keeping our eyes on and hopefully it will cooperate.” Despite the dearth of storms so far this season, Squaw Valley has been able to make enough snow to have some park features open. “We’re looking at having a soft opening on Thanksgiving,” public relations spokeswoman Savannah Cowley said. “ The Papoose lift in the designated beginners’ area will be open as well as Squaw Kids, she said. The resort’s second annual Coogan Kelly Memorial Rail Jam is Saturday and more ski terrain could be open if the weather cooperates. This year’s snowfall situation is similar to the past two years — last year the resort opened on Dec. 4, she said. Those planning a weekend ski trip or visit to the Sierra, should check resorts’ Web sites for weather and ski condition updates. Whatever their holiday plans may be, AAA estimates more than 5.1 million Californians will travel 50 miles or more from home during this Thanksgiving weekend. That’s down 2.3 percent from last year, a AAA press release said. According to a AAA survey, approximately 4.2 million Californians (83 percent) will travel by vehicle, representing a 2.9 decrease from 2007. More than 500,000 — 11 percent — will fly to their destinations, a 5.5 percent decrease from last year. Approximately 350,000, or 6 percent, will use other modes of transportation including railroads, buses or cruise ships. Nationally, AAA estimates 41 million travelers over the holiday. Gas prices below the $2 mark per gallon may influence more people to take to the roads, AAA said. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at or comment at ---------- Sierra Ski Resorts Northstar-at-Tahoe — Tentative opening Friday, Nov. 28. Check Web site for updates Squaw Valley USA — Tentative soft opening Thanksgiving Day. Check Web site for updates Sugar Bowl — Tentative weekend opening. Check Web site for updates Boreal Mountain Resort — Night riding begins Friday, Nov. 28. Check for updates Holiday driving To keep drunk drivers off the road this holiday, AAA’s Tipsy Tow program will be in service for drinking drivers from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day to 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 28. Call (800) 222-4357 for a free tow of up to five miles.