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Sierra Stories

  • A Top 10 Tahoe-Truckee Winter, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on April 9, 2014
    Author’s Note: This article is adapted from “Snowbound: Historic Tahoe-Sierra Winters,” a book in progress scheduled for release in 2014 by Mic Mac Publishing. The winter of 1880 was a wild roller coaster of stormy and sunny weather; a season where extended stretches of fair conditions were broken by record-setting blasts of snowfall. And, the winter seemed to last forever. […]
  • A Top 10 Tahoe-Truckee Winter, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 26, 2014
    Author’s Note: This article is adapted from, “Snowbound: Legendary Tahoe-Sierra Winters,” a book in progress scheduled for release in 2014 by Mic Mac Publishing. The winter of 1880 was a wild roller coaster of stormy and sunny weather; a season where extended stretches of fair conditions were broken by record-setting blasts of snowfall. And, the winter seemed to last forever. […]
  • The Great Sierra Snow Blockade, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 12, 2014
    In contrast to a common spring weather adage, March came in like a lamb this year, not like a lion. And, at this time it doesn’t appear likely that our lamb-like winter is going to turn itself around and start to roar with precipitation. When it comes to Top 10 snowiest winters in the Tahoe-Sierra, winter 2014 won’t come close. […]
  • The Great Sierra Snow Blockade, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 26, 2014
    The Sun is the engine that drives weather and climate on Earth. For more than a century, there have been many scientists who have tried to prove that energy output from our nearest star can influence this planet’s atmospheric jet streams and wind patterns, as well as global air and sea surface temperatures. Modern scientists continue to research how solar […]
  • 1895: A Top 10 Tahoe Winter

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 12, 2014
    The 1890s were a cold and snowy decade for the Tahoe-Sierra, with three of the all-time Top 10 winters: 1890, 1893 and 1895. Like most big winters, it started early when a strong snowstorm covered the mountains with snow on Oct 1, 1894. November was mostly dry, but in early December the weather went gang-busters as relentless Pacific storm systems […]
  • Pioneer snowmaker saved Squaw Valley Olympics

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 29, 2014
    With the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi about to begin, all eyes have been on the weather conditions there and whether this subtropical resort on the Black Sea will have sufficient snow cover for the Games. Recent storms in the higher mountains have put down a nice base and meteorologists are now warning that, rather than lack of snow, avalanches […]
  • Hannes Schroll: The Red Devil from Tyrol

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 15, 2014
    This year Sugar Bowl Resort will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its first opening on Dec. 15, 1939. Sugar Bowl is known as the Grand Dame of Tahoe ski resorts due to its long, colorful history based on easy winter access by railroad and by automobile after 1932. During the 1930s, more than a decade before Squaw Valley opened in […]
  • Tale of Survival: The Stolpa Story, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 8, 2014
    During periods of low storm activity, it’s easy to forget how severe winter weather can make traveling in the mountainous West perilous, even deadly, for the unprepared. Over the years, modern highways have dramatically improved driving safety and convenience, as well as the opportunity to explore a winter-wonderland, but a wintertime excursion still requires planning and preparation. Twenty-one years ago, […]
  • Tale of survival: The Stolpa story, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 25, 2013
    The recent rescue of six people trapped for two days in Nevada’s harsh winter landscape is one of those feel good stories that should give us pause to wonder how well you or I might fare in the same situation. Despite an overturned vehicle with a dead engine and overnight temperatures well below zero, the two adults with four young […]
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  • Cursed train: the ‘City of San Francisco’

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 11, 2013
    At its champagne-infused inauguration on Jan. 2, 1938, Train No. 101, the “City of San Francisco,” was deemed the “world’s most superlative train.” The sleek streamliner consisted of deluxe sleepers, coaches and dining cars loaded with amenities, with motive power supplied by six 900-horsepower engines. A technological marvel in engineering, she was proclaimed the “largest, fastest, most beautiful, powerful, and […]
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