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Sierra Stories

  • 2015 Winter Snowfall | Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 20, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·   Central Sierra Snow Laboratory staff measure water content near Donner Pass in March 1946. | Courtesy Mark McLaughlin · Summer is almost here and water sports will soon be on everyone’s mind. Most people realize by now that the winter of 2015, the least snowy of record, added little moisture to the Tahoe Basin. Lake […]
  • 2015 Winter Snowfall | Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 6, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·   Don’t look now, but the 9 inches of snow that reportedly fell at the base of Squaw Valley on April 25 was the third biggest 24-hour storm total in all of 2015. At the upper mountain, near 8,000 feet, the 12 inches deposited by the quickly moving cold front tied for fifth place all season. […]
  • Praying for a Miracle April

    By Mark McLaughlin on April 8, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·  When snowfall is meager in the Tahoe-Sierra like it has been this season, you’ll often hear locals say, “We need a Miracle March.” Whether they realize it or not, the term was coined in 1991 after powerful Pacific storms dumped snow and rain containing nearly 25 inches of water on Donner Pass in the first three […]
  • Technology wins battle for Donner Pass

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 11, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·   In 1890, Southern Pacific Railroad got its first chance to try out a new, innovative rotary snowplow that it had recently purchased. That severe winter 125 years ago dumped nearly 65 feet of snow on the mountains and shut down SP’s Central Pacific line over Donner Pass for 15 consecutive days. The 776 inches of […]
  • Lake Tahoe: Breeding Ground of Champions | Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 25, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·   The 1932 National Ski Association Championship Tournament.   Editor’s Note: Part I may be read at TheTahoeWeekly.com Most of us take it for granted that the Tahoe-Truckee region will be well represented by local athletes at virtually every top-tier, international ski or snowboard competition. North Tahoe has sent more top competitors to the U.S. National […]
  • Lake Tahoe: Breeding ground of champions, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 11, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·  Most of us take it for granted that the Tahoe-Truckee region will be well represented by local star athletes at virtually every top tier international ski or snowboard competition. Tahoe has a long history at producing ski champions, and it continues to grow every decade. You can thank the Lake Tahoe Ski Club, formed in 1929, […]
  • Billy Kidd loses to longboarder Johnny Redstreake

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 28, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin ·  Larry McCaffrey · In the spring of 1964, an unusual ski race was held at the snow-covered meadows off the Mount Rose Highway. Some contestants were riding old-fashioned, long wooden skis and holding a single braking pole, while others sported modern alpine equipment. The competition was to determine if the venerable longboard skis of yesteryear were […]
  • African-Americans caught Gold Fever, too

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 14, 2015
    By Mark McLaughlin   In one of the largest voluntary migrations in human history, the California Gold Rush attracted adventurous men and women from around the world. Crazed by the lure of instant wealth, they jammed aboard cramped sailing ships or endured fatiguing overland treks in order to dig placer gold in the Sierra foothills. These daring gold seekers came […]
  • Sugar Bowl turns 75 | Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 30, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin     Editor’s Note: Part I may be found at TheTahoeWeekly.com. Seventy-five years ago in December, the Sugar Bowl ski resort opened for business. Northern California’s first true alpine ski area, Sugar Bowl was much larger than any other nearby operations and its chairlift, the first in the Sierra, enabled a skier to sit down for an […]
  • Sugar Bowl celebrates 75 years: Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 17, 2014
      Sugar Bowl Ski Resort recently celebrated  its 75th anniversary of opening on Dec. 15, 1939. Known as the Grand Dame of California resorts, it represents a long and colorful ski history. During the 1930s, long before the winter resort build up at Lake Tahoe, the Donner Summit region boasted the most extensive concentration of rope tows, ski clubs and […]