Snowpack gains but still falls short; Dodge Ridge to open today

Bee Staff ReportsFebruary 11, 2014 

The central Sierra Nevada snowpack has tripled over the past two weeks, to 36 percent of average as of Tuesday, the California Department of Water Resources reported.

The gain came with continued warnings that the state remains in extreme drought. Farmers and city residents in much of the Northern San Joaquin Valley – the main users of the central Sierra snowmelt – are bracing for restrictions of varying severity.

Dodge Ridge ski resort in Pinecrest announced Tuesday that it’s opening today, a day earlier than planned. “Over the past week, Dodge Ridge received 51 inches of new snowfall at our 8,200-foot summit, 20 to 24 inches at the midmountain of 7,100 feet, and a foot of new snowfall at the base area of 6,600 feet,” resort operators said in a news release.

Dodge plans to have 75 percent of its ski terrain open, with 28 groomed runs – primarily intermediate and advanced. “Very limited beginner terrain will be available,” the release said. Additional terrain and chairlifts will open as the Dodge staff continues to assess the mountain.

The ski area, about 30 miles east of Sonora off Highway 108, is offering a limited number of beginner lessons because of the limited beginner terrain. But it’s offering a full program of intermediate to advanced lessons on its upper-mountain terrain. Reservations are required for all lesson programs. To learn more, visit or call (209) 965-3474.

After a nearly two-month dry stretch that started in early December, the central Sierra snowpack stood at 12 percent. A storm that arrived Jan. 29 bumped it to 18 percent, and more snow over the past week brought it to 36 percent.

The northern Sierra snowpack, the largest part of the state’s water supply, has risen to 19 percent, the Department of Water Resources reported. It put the southern part of the range at 26 percent.

On the Net: Department of Water Resources,

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