The Lake Tahoe region is in the midst of a season that has been nothing short of historic. The area has seen more snow from October-February then any season since 1970, and there are no signs of mother nature slowing down. With massive storms rolling through during December and January combined with a blizzard that rivals some of the largest in recorded history to conclude February, saying Lake Tahoe is buried is an egregious understatement.
- Related: Lake Tahoe, CA Backcountry Report: A Record 77″ of Snow in 48-Hours Made The Powder Skiing Special
The Sierra Nevada community has seen over 500 inches of snow this season so far, with plenty more on the way. On March 1st, the Central Sierra Snow Lab operated by UC Berkeley reported 531″, a truly baffling statistic. The last decade has seen several historic drought years as well as a couple of well-above-average ones, with the 2022-23 season on pace to leave all of them in the dust. After a 7-day total of 142″ leading up to the writing of this article, this blizzard has pushed the current conditions into the record books. To put this in perspective, Lake Tahoe received 88″ of snow during the entire 2014-15 season. Granted, this was one of the worst drought years the lake has ever seen, but that is still not far off from half of the amount of snow the region has seen in the last week! It has been truly a crazy turn of events for the Northern California community.
Although this season’s 500+ inches will surely place it high amongst the record books for snowiest seasons ever, it is unlikely to reach the #1 spot. Lake Tahoe has only surpassed the 800″ inch mark twice since the turn of the 20th century, and experts opine that it is unlikely that the 2022-23 season will surpass this mark. The 1937-38 and 1951-52 snow seasons finished out with totals of 819″ and 814″ respectively, coming in as the two snowiest winters in recorded history. It’s safe to say that surpassing the 700″ mark is more than possible, maybe even likely at this point. However, the forecast is not showing any signs of letting up for the first half of March, so taking the top spot in the record books is certainly not out of the question.
Regardless of where the season finishes out at the end of the day, 2022-23 will leave a lasting impression in the minds of skiers and snowboarders alike. The conditions have created days that have been amongst the best of many people’s lives, with once-in-a-lifetime powder that will be the subject of stories decades down the road. Take Professional Skier Cody Townsend for example, who described February 28th via Twitter as:
“The deepest day I’ve ever skied in Tahoe. Possibly deepest ever. Today rivaled the best day I’ve ever had in Japan, BC, anywhere really. This winter, this day and this cycle will not be forgotten.”
With a decade’s worth of drought conditions that have wreaked havoc on the Sierra Nevada ecosystem and has led to extreme drought, fires, and more, this winter has really changed the game for California. With plenty more on the way in the coming weeks, here’s to history being made and some of the best conditions of a lifetime!