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Best Snowfall Months at Lake Tahoe

If you are planning a trip to Lake Tahoe to ski or ride (after hearing about its legendary snowfall in past winters) you are probably wondering which month might be best to visit for the best snow.

Lake Tahoe Snowfall Chart

1879 - 2013 Snowfall chart

The 13 ski areas around Lake Tahoe normally open sometime in November, however, the snow base may not have really established itself for the season yet, so few trails may be open and some rocks may be uncovered depending on the early snowfall.  However starting early December, some good conditions can normally be found.

Heavenly Snow Stake Lake Tahoe

Heavenly Snow Stake - Heavenly Mountain

Here are some statistics to help plan your trip: (using the last 10 years with measurements taken from the top of Donner Pass)

  • December has an average of 75 inches of snow.

December 2016 Storm Lake Tahoe

December 2016 Storm - National Weather Service

  • January typically is not a huge snowfall month, so if it’s sunny skies that you are after, it may be a good option. HOWEVER, this past January received a crazy 238 inches, more than many ski resorts receive in an entire season. No wonder locals were shoveling day and night the entire month of January!  It was later termed “Snowmaggedeon”. January has an average snowfall amount of 68 inches, however, this average was skewed by the astronomical total accumulated in January 2017.

Snowfall at Heavenly Lake Tahoe

Snowfall at Heavenly Jan 2017- sf gate

  • February is typically a good snowfall month with a nice supply of the dry fluffy stuff. The average snowfall for February is 72 inches.

Tahoe Ski Conditions

Deep snow on the way to Kirkwood Ski Resort

  • March is a great month for spring skiing, drinking a cold beer on outdoor patios and decks in between storms, and getting a nice goggle tan. Average snowfall in March is 74 inches.

Best Snowfall Months at Lake Tahoe

Car Buried in Snow - Flylow Gear

  • April is more spring skiing, pond skimming contests, and sun-blanketed patios. Average snowfall for April is 30 inches.

Lake Tahoe Snowfall

  • You may think that skiing is done by May, but not so for Lake Tahoe. With a good winter, some resorts stay open through May and this past summer some made it through July!  And some years had over 40 inches of snow in May.  However, the average snowfall for May is 11 inches.

Lake Tahoe Spring Ski Conditions

Spring Skiing - Mount Rose

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Bryan Allegretto

Bryan Allegretto has been writing insightful posts about snow storms for over a decade and is known as Tahoe's go-to snow forecaster at opensnow.com. BA grew up in south Jersey, surfing, snowboarding, and chasing down the storms creating the epic conditions for both. https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe

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