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Perfect storm morphs into perfect day for skiing

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Perfect conditions at Sierra resorts welcomed throngs of skiers this weekend during the traditional start of the season. At Boreal Mountain Resort, in the Sierra about 50 miles east of Auburn, skiers were greeted Friday with plenty of powder on the slopes, sunny skies and virtually no wind. It was the perfect setting for Castro Valley’s Josh Egan, who had arrived earlier in the week to spend as many days skiing as possible over the Thanksgiving long weekend. “It’s nice to have the sun out to see the vista – and the cold is keeping things from getting slushy,” Egan said. “I was definitely excited about coming up here.” The happiness on the slopes was palpable, with a good base of snow early in the year holding out the promise of a long, powder-filled winter ahead. Stuart Rawlings of Clipper Gap was at Boreal with his 11-year-old grandson, Austin Rawlings. The younger Rawlings was up early Friday to get his grandfather going and on Interstate 80 for a day of skiing. Rawlings said the ride up on a virtually dry I-80 was “as good as it gets,” with little in the way of slow traffic to delay their arrival. With 90 percent of the ski resort operations open, there were no lines to get on any of the lifts, Rawlings reported. “We picked the perfect day for skiing,” Rawlings said. “It’s perfect weather and perfect snow. It was right on time to start the season.” Skiers are benefitting from a huge storm last weekend that laid the snowy foundation for excellent conditions this weekend and, potentially for weekends to come. John Slaughter, Boreal spokesman, said he’s been working at the resort for six years and the snow levels were the best this time around for any of the Thanksgiving holidays he’s been there. “Things are getting kicked off on the right foot,” Slaughter said. High temperatures had hovered around the 31-degree or lower mark all week, keeping the base from melting. At the same time, the absence of clouds or snow had made the experience especially fun for new skiers. That bodes well for Christmas time and other periods when newer skiers may choose to return to Boreal because of the good time they had over Thanksgiving, Slaughter said. “The product on the mountain is about as good as it gets right now,” Slaughter said. Friday’s clear skies were expected to give way to one more snowfall today, with a further 9 inches expected. That would add to a mammoth snowfall earlier in the week that left 79 inches at ski resorts like Northstar-at-Tahoe. Slaughter said that the 9 inches Stoday and a flurry or two Sunday shouldn’t slow down operations – or the crush of skiers enjoying a skiing experience “as good as it gets.”