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How the Drought Affected Tahoe Snow

By Evan Tung

Photo by Elliot Tung

Over the past couple years, California has faced a major shortage in water. For Californians, the drought is old news. However, most people do not realize that the drought also had a big impact on the skiing community.  Scott Fong a resident of California said, “I didn’t know there was that much more snow this year but the extra rain and snow this season would have definitely benefited the drought.”

For avid skiers and snowboarders, the little rain and snow over the past few years have been tough. Without any storms, the ski seasons were short and slopes were slushy. This year, in the winter of 2016-2017, the residents of California finally received some good luck. With 20 inches of rain and 12 feet of snow, the California Drought was finally coming to an end. The skiing community is finally enjoying a nice long season.

The ample supply of snow this year caught many people by surprise. Tanson Chan, a sophomore and recreational skier, wished he could have gone up to Tahoe more times this season. “I personally would have liked to gone more since there was super good snow, but my schedule didn’t work out much.” Another skier, Kate Hayashigatani who is a freshman, was able to enjoy more days with the abundant snow. “I usually go like 4-10 times a season. It was fun with more powder and snow, but hard to ski through sometimes because it was so dense.” Recreational skiers from all over California were treated with powdery snow days and unforgettable memories.  

For professional skiers, the abundant snow was a totally different experience. Diego Caoili, a member of the Northstar Alpine Ski Team, talks about the highlight of the season.  “I enjoyed getting my new powder skis…,” he says. Because Caoili spends every weekend training, he needs a pair of skis that can match the condition of the snow. The past few years have been dry years without many powder days. This year, it is the complete opposite. Many expert skiers had to change their ski equipment.

However, the storms and the good snow had some downsides. The constant storms caused many damaged roads and traffic jams. This was especially hard for Diego Caoili because he drove up every weekend. The good snow also attracted many people to come skiing. This creates long lines and crowded runs. Elliott Tung, a recreational skier says, “My family tries to avoid holidays because there are a lot of people.” The more popular ski resorts were very crowded, especially during holidays where families come to ski and relax.

With a few downsides, the abundant snow in Tahoe was a very popular addition to the season. Skiers from all levels enjoyed different aspects of skiing but they all appreciated the bounty of snow this year.


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