The region around Lake Tahoe has seen a week of blizzards, floods, mud slides, downed power lines and avalanches. The events trapped some and forced others to evacuate. But, roads are clearing quickly for the busy weekend and some are calling the blizzard a blessing.
Hundreds of Trucks rumbled back to life on I-80 this week, passing huge pot holes and smashed road signs. And people living around Tahoe like Katie Waal are digging their way out to get to work.
“I am ready for my power to be back on,” says Waal.
She’s been snowed in for three days, living by candle light, eating canned food, no running water or heat. But after the long drought she appreciates the return of winter.
“It’s just everyone getting used to it and remembering what it is like to have a real proper winter," says Waal.
The restaurant where she works in Squaw Valley is full of people who want a proper winter.
“Right now is the calm before the storm,” says Waal.
Alex Cox is Katie’s boss at Bistro 22. He says this snow is timed just right for the long weekend.
“There is 10 to 15 feet of untouched snow on the top of the mountain so the crowds are going to be crazy this weekend,” says Cox.
Up at the top of the mountain, Ski Patrol sets explosive charges to bring down massive avalanches of snow. There’s so much snow, Squaw Valley CEO, Andy Wirth woke up Thursday thinking:
“How many chair lifts we will be operating on 4th of July weekend? There is that much snow, to be able to make those kind of broad claims.”
That’s right, skiing on the 4th of July.
Out on the slopes you can already see the broad claim of success brought on by the storm.
Beginner skiers like Viviana Carrion and her friend from Peru say the snow is good for them too.
“When there is a lot of snow it is better,” she says, “Because when you fall down you don’t get hurt.”
And they fell down, over and over again, into the big new cloud on the ground.