Placer resort takes sudden leap into early ski season

Caltrans roadwork will keep one lane closed on I-80 in Sierra as late as Nov. 1
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County’s Squaw Valley ski resort will be kick-starting the ski season Thursday with a one-off ski day that celebrates the recent early snowfall and raises funds for a worthy cause. “With the excitement of this abundant first snowfall, we want to give our customers a taste of winter,” said Andy Wirth, president of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts. With three feet of new snow on the slopes, Squaw Valley will run its Searchlight chairlift from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to offer an opportunity for some rare October skiing. A $20 lift ticket will help support the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Teams Foundation. According to the resort, snow totals were expected to reach three feet by Thursday. The actual official opening day for Squaw Valley is Nov. 21 and Dec. 7 at Alpine Meadows. The resort is advising people heading to the resort on Thursday that the Searchlight run is recommended for intermediate to advanced skiers – not beginners. On the route along Interstate 80 to and from the Sierra, Caltrans officials are advising motorists to come prepared for snow – even with a forecast that calls for a warming trend in other areas. Caltrans spokeswoman Rochelle Jenkins said westbound motorists, many of them returning over Donner Summit from Reno, experienced lengthy waits late Monday when a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed in the snow and it took 4½ hours for a tow-truck to reach it. “Many were wearing flip-flops and shorts and not prepared for winter driving,” Jenkins said. Drivers need to make sure that they carry chains for a change in weather conditions, as well as bringing along extra food, blankets, warm clothes and even a book in case of a delay like Monday’s, she said. Jenkins added that motorists should also be aware that westbound traffic is being funneled into one lane as the final work of the season takes place on the 10-mile road rehabilitation project between Emigrant Gap and the Rainbow off ramp. For more information on traffic conditions and chain control, call (800) 427-7623 or log on to The Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Teams Foundation is dedicated to supporting young amateur athletes interested in developing skills in snow sports through participation in a Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows competitive or non-competitive ski or snowboard team.