A relentless series of storms has etched this snow season into the annals of history, as California reported its largest-ever snowpack in terms of water content on Thursday, surpassing the 1982 - 1983 season. The statewide snowpack currently stands at 236 percent of the norm, with the Southern Sierra reaching nearly 300 percent and the Northern Sierra at 191 percent.
Recent storms brought several feet of fresh snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains this week, propelling California's snow-water content—the amount of water stored in the snowpack—to an average of almost 61 inches, breaking the previous record set in May 1983.
The extraordinary snowfall has provided an exceptional late-season boost to ski resorts across the state, with most already announcing plans to extend operations significantly longer than usual.
At Mammoth Mountain, the resort anticipates staying open until at least the end of July, with nearly two feet of snow falling within just 24 hours earlier this week. An additional 7 inches fell by Thursday morning, pushing Mammoth's seasonal snowfall total beyond 700 inches for the first time in recorded history, compared to an average season of 400 inches.
Mammoth reported a seasonal snow total of 870 inches at the Main Lodge on the summit. Crews were busy opening mid-mountain lifts on Thursday morning, but officials noted that extensive avalanche control work was required across the mountain.
In the Lake Tahoe area, over a foot of fresh snow fell earlier this week, with the Palisades receiving 14 inches, leaving the resort less than a foot short of its all-time record of 701 inches. Officials there plan to remain open until the Fourth of July.
Heavenly had accumulated 562 inches of snow as of Thursday, just two inches shy of its record-breaking 2016 - 2017 season. Kirkwood is only half a foot away from breaking its 700-inch record established in the early 1980s.
At Donner Pass, an astounding 812 inches of snow fell in 1952. This season's snowfall is within 100 inches of that record.
In their spring outlook released earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted widespread drought relief for California throughout the spring, with near-total drought elimination for a large portion of the Golden State.