Squaw Valley Saw Record Snowfall and a Devastating Rain Event in the 2016-2017 Ski Season

Irony is a force that exists in all areas of human life. We plan a day of kite flying, but there is no wind. We go to the beach, and the clouds open up ruining our plans. There was an instance of irony for Squaw Valley, the iconic ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area, they were preparing for an early snowstorm in November, but what they received instead of snow was ten inches of rain. The rains fell rapidly, and in unusual volumes that were not absorbed by the natural filtration system of the ground, rivulets accumulated and unfortunately flowed over the soil picking up contaminants and deposited into a freshly constructed water supply at the newly established Upper Mountain Area of Squaw Valley. The restaurants there at the Upper Mountain were dutifully closed and resort guests were notified of the condition and were provided with bottled water for drinking, but the effect on Squaw Valley had to be disheartening.

This ironic turn of events and the subsequent fouling of the Upper Mountain water supply was first reported on November 8, to the Placer County Department of Environmental Health.

Since then the water has been treated and shows signs of improvement. No health issues have been reported, but Squaw Valley skiers are prohibited from drinking the water until the Placer County Environmental Health Agency gives their seal of approval for the quality of the water to the resort.

This season Squaw Valley has been blessed with near-record and record snowfalls. The previous monthly high of 202 inches was exceeded this January when 212 inches were recorded even before the end of the month. After the unfortunate rainfall of last year, this will serve the resort and their skiers very nicely. As the ski year winds down, Squaw Valley will have a hard time forgetting the irony of a rainfall at the beginning of the ski year for 2016-2017.

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