Early Sierra snow welcome sign after wildfire season

The weekend storm blanketed the Sierra with up to three feet of fresh snow Monday, prompting many people to begin planning for ski trips and bringing business to Bay Area ski shops.

The early snow was a welcome sign for Sierra ski resorts after the wildfire season that saw the Caldor Fire fully contained only one week ago.

"Ski resorts from Sugarloaf to Mount Rose to Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain are reporting, up to 48 inches in the last 24 hours, so it's the perfect setup," said Kevin Cooper, of Outside TV, Lake Tahoe Television.

Palisades Tahoe staff said more than three feet of snow fell on the upper mountain by Monday morning, as they prepare to open Nov. 24. Alpine Meadows got two feet of snow at its base area.

South of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly ski resort got more than two feet of snow as they prepare for a November 19th opening.

PHOTOS: 1st snow of the season falls at California's Mammoth Mountain

The heavy snow even prompted one ski resort to open a few days before Halloween. Mammoth made a decision to open Friday, two weeks early, with the heavy snowfall bringing more than two feet of fresh powder to Mammoth Mountain.

At California Ski Company in Berkeley, it was their busiest weekend all year as skiers saw pictures of the snow and decided to get ready.

Grahme Deasy of Oakland came with his wife to help her get fitted for ski boots.

"Hoping to go to Tahoe 4-5 times at least do a couple of day trips, a couple of weekend trips," said Deasy.

Farzade Samari of San Francisco signed his girlfriend Samira Araghi up to get a boot fitting.

"We have a cabin in Tahoe with some friends actually all we've been doing is texting each other when are we going to get up there?" said Samari.

The couple said they went to ski last year and were glad to see the ski resorts taking precautions during the pandemic.

"It was kind of strange to be out after the pandemic," said Samira Araghi, "I feel this year won't be as scary."

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California Ski Company President Greg Whitehouse says he's relieved to see the snow and the customers. He and his staff managed to make it through the pandemic shutdowns thanks to federal, state, and local small business loans.

"Every ski shop owner really worries at the beginning of the year. You can't sleep until it snows at least once," said Whitehouse.

Whitehouse says now, he's scrambling to hire more workers to keep up with the pent-up demand.

His ski shop manager Haig Krikorian says recently he's been working on 20 pairs of skis per day, attaching bindings and making sure skis are ready for the season.

Whitehouse says his biggest fear now isn't the amount of snow, but selling out of stock, limited by supply chain shortages.

"If you want it, come get it because everything is going to sell out," said Whitehouse.

Many ski resorts are offering discounts but say people should book early. They are expecting bigger crowds than last year as people feel more comfortable traveling.

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at jana.katsuyama@fox.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.