If you love winter sports, you need to get to one of the ski resorts around Lake Tahoe, stat.
Just four hours north of San Francisco, the region in the Sierra Nevada has been absolutely blitzed with snow this winter—the record amounts have made the area look more like the planet Hoth than Northern California. Schools were shuttered. Interstate highways were closed. Entire towns were on avalanche watch. Even many ski resorts—which thrive on snow days—were forced to shut down temporarily so crews could clear enough snow to get lifts and gondolas working safely.
How crazy has the Snowpocalypse of 2017 really been? According to various weather reports, the Tahoe area received 285 inches of snow between January 1 and Tuesday of this week. That’s nearly 24 feet! Stephanie Meyer, a spokesperson for Vail Resorts—which owns the major area resorts Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood—said that approximately 76 percent of the season’s regular snowfall has occurred in just over three weeks this month, and that it’s been the snowiest January ever at these three resorts.
But it gets more incredible. If you add up all the snow Tahoe has received between the start of the season on November 1, 2016, and Tuesday, the area has tallied 378 inches—nearly 32 feet.
Reno, Nevada, on the other side of the Sierras, has also seen extra snow. Wintertime car accidents are up from years past, and, according to an Associated Press article published by the San Francisco Chronicle, the city recorded one of its snowiest days in 80 years earlier this week and saw more than seven feet of snow at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Many resorts, including Northstar, have been updating visitors on snow conditions via Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. In particular, Northstar’s Tahoe Ascent blog has been hugely popular among the Millennial set.
Meteorologists say the “atmospheric river” weather system is one of the biggest reasons for this dump, although other factors include the longer-term El Niño and La Niña weather trends.
If you’re wondering when the best time is to get up there and take advantage of all this powder, the answer is “soon.” The National Weather Service said that temperatures this weekend will hover below freezing and that no significant snowfall is expected in the mountains or valleys over the next several days. Sounds like a great weekend to shred. See you on the slopes!
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.