California ski resort workers tunnel their way into the office after getting 10 feet of snow

Mar 3, 2024, 10:20 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2024, 5:58 pm

RENO, Nevada (AP) — Going to the office has been no small feat for Jon Slaughter’s marketing team at Sugar Bowl, requiring the employees to dig down several feet and then tunnel through to the front door after a powerful blizzard dumped more than 10 feet (3 meters) of snow on the Northern California ski resort.

It was even more dramatic when they went upstairs and opened another door to the outside on the second level of the office building and were confronted by a solid wall of snow from floor to well above the door frame. His team posted a video of the door opening on X and wrote: “We’ve got some digging to do.”

“They’ve been chipping away at it since Friday, and had to tunnel down to the downstairs door to get in,” Slaughter said. “It definitely keeps you on your toes.”

The ski resort nestled 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) up among mountain peaks 46 miles (74 kilometers) west of Reno recorded the highest amounts of snow from the storm that began barreling into the region Thursday and was finally dissipating on Monday as it moved through the Sierra Nevada, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The weekend blizzard caused traffic backups and closures on Interstate 80 and other roadways and shut down ski resorts from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to Sugar Bowl with the warning covering a 300-mile (480-kilometer) stretch of the mountains. It also left thousands of homes and businesses without power as fierce winds lashed the Sierra.

A long stretch of I-80 from west of Lake Tahoe over Donner Summit to the Nevada state line reopened to all but big rigs late Monday morning, but chains or snow tires were required, the California Highway Patrol’s Truckee office said. The mountain pass, which can be perilous in snow, is named for the infamous Donner Party, a group of pioneers who resorted to cannibalism after getting trapped there in the winter of 1846-1847.

Sugar Bowl along with many other resorts including Palisades Tahoe, the largest resort on the north end of Lake Tahoe, were also slowly reopening lifts after safety checks.

Skiers and snowboarders had already been lining up since the weekend for what were considered to be epic conditions of deep powder.

Palisades was among several ski mountains that closed most or all chairlifts over the weekend because of snow, wind and low visibility. Palisades’ four-day snow total was nearly 8 feet (2.4 meters), according to the weather service.

Stretches of other mountain highways in the area remained closed for the fourth day in a row, including part of the Mt. Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe and California Highway 89 on the west side of the lake, where Homewood ski resort has received more than 7 feet (2.1 meters) of snow since Thursday night.

Westbound lanes of I-80 in suburban Sparks were temporarily closed during the Monday morning commute due to crashes caused by icy conditions, the Nevada Highway Patrol said. And I-580 between Reno and Carson City remained closed in the Washoe Valley where the patrol said it was continuing to help motorists recover vehicles abandoned over the weekend. There were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.

The blizzard was yet another late-season shot in the arm for California’s snowpack, a vital part of the state’s water supply.

The water content of the snowpack on Monday stood at 104% of the average to date and 94% of the April 1 average, when it is normally at its peak, according to online data from the California Department of Water Resources.

And more snow was forecast to be on the way.

Winter storm warnings were issued for a new, less powerful system expected to arrive later in the day and last into Tuesday night, and was likely to bring periods of moderate mountain snow, the weather service said.

Kevin Dupui, who lives in Truckee, about 10 miles (6 kilometers) west of Sugar Bowl, said his snow blower broke, but it doesn’t matter because there’s nowhere to put all the snow anyway. “We just move it around,” he said Sunday.

Residents were snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the streets. Power has been restored to thousands who lost service but some outages continue.

Some people turned up at Sugar Bowl at 8 a.m. on Sunday but had to wait until 2 p.m. when crews were able to finally open one lift, leaving them only a couple of hours to ski but Slaughter said he’s sure it was worth it given the conditions.

He hoped to hit the slopes himself ahead of the next storm.

“It just keeps coming,” Slaughter said. “It looks like it’s going to be snowing most of this week. So if people cannot make powder turn today, there’s plenty more coming for you.”


Watson reported from San Diego and Antczak reported from Los Angeles.

United States News


Associated Press

Alito rejects calls to quit Supreme Court cases on Trump and Jan. 6 because of flag controversies

Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants, saying his wife hoisted the two controversial flags that flew above their homes.

53 minutes ago


Associated Press

Nissan warns owners of older vehicles about risk of exploding air bag inflators

Nissan is urging the owners of about 84,000 older vehicles to stop driving them because their Takata air bag inflators have an increased risk of exploding in a crash and hurling dangerous metal fragments.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the police department, Harrell said. Diaz’s departure […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Disneyland performers’ vote to unionize is certified by federal labor officials

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Character and parade performers at Disneyland in California are officially unionized. Federal labor officials said Wednesday that they’ve certified the results of a three-day election that took place earlier this month in Anaheim. Actors’ Equity Association will represent roughly 1,700 performers and assistants who help bring Disney’s popular characters to life […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan willing to spend millions to restore Flint properties ripped up by pipe replacement

DETROIT (AP) — The state of Michigan said it’s willing to step in and oversee property repairs at 1,900 homes in Flint where water pipes have been inspected or replaced but the grounds remain a mess. The city in March was found in civil contempt by a judge after blowing past deadlines to get the […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts fugitive dubbed the ‘bad breath rapist’ captured in California after 16 years at large

DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A fugitive dubbed the “bad breath rapist” has been arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 16 years after he fled following his conviction for sexually assaulting a coworker in Massachusetts, authorities said this week. Tuen Kit Lee was found guilty at a 2007 trial of the kidnapping and […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

California ski resort workers tunnel their way into the office after getting 10 feet of snow