Laurie Johnson

La Nina and Lake Tahoe's 2022/2023 Ski Forecast

man skiing

It is official. Forecasters are calling for a triple-dip of La Nina for the 2022/2023 ski season. For the first time in 50 years, La Nina will form for the third consecutive year.

The problem with predicting snowfall in Lake Tahoe is that we sit right on the border of two weather patterns. La Nina years predict higher precipitation and colder weather in the Pacific northwest.  The southwest of California generally gets warmer and drier weather.

As high-pressure systems from the south move up, and low-pressure systems from the north move down, snowfall is a 50/50 guess.

Just like last year, we might expect periods of heavy snow and winter weather followed by what feels like spring skiing in January. We had a La Nina winter in 2010/2011 and it brought snowfall 170% above normal for the region.

In 2021/2022, people were skiing during Halloween. December saw one of the largest snow storms to hit the region in years. However, January through April were much drier and warmer.

Scientists who measure snowpack in Lake Tahoe agree that La Nina has no influence on snowfall in this area. Looking forward to the ski season can be a wish-fest that comes true in time for Christmas. Like 2010/2011, we can also receive the gift of an epic ski season. But like last year, December snow can fizzle into so-so skiing around the resorts.

I think that makes Lake Tahoe special, in that nature keeps us all guessing.

Over the last weekend, we had snow up at Lake Tahoe and forecasters are calling for more over Halloween. La Nina does seem to lead to resorts opening earlier than usual. Whether or not we are still skiing in May is anyone’s guess.

Historical Snowfall

For the month of December, one in four years shows totals over 88.6 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive less than 21.4 inches for the month. Last December, we broke records when Lake Tahoe received 18 feet of snow.

January has had fresh snowfall during the heaviest years of over 102 inches. The lightest snowfall years can receive less than 29.5 inches.

February can range from over 10 feet in the heaviest years to only 31 inches in lighter years. March has seen huge snow over 11 feet, with lower snow years down to 40 inches.

Scientists have been measuring snowfall in Lake Tahoe since 1879. During the lab's first year, scientists recorded 37.07 feet of snow. In 1880, they recorded snowfall at 65.26 feet. In 1938, they measured the most snowfall to hit the region at a whopping 68 feet! In 1952, we received a similar 67 feet.

While we broke records last December for the month, we haven’t had the snow levels of the last century. Who knows though? With so many people wishing for snow – 2022/2023 just might be an epic ski year.

Contact me today to find that perfect retreat at Lake Tahoe to call home.



Translate »