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California Ski Resorts Enjoy Earliest Open Since 2012 Due to El Nino Snowfall

Ski resorts across California are enjoying their earliest opening in years, thanks to a recent snow dump over the Sierra Nevada.

The Intermountain West has already received several storms, with snow accumulating between 2 and 3 feet, roughly 300 percent of normal for this time of year.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Boreal Mountain and Mammoth Mountain resorts began running their lifts in early November, welcoming guests to a limited selection of trails.

Both Heavenly Mountain and Northstar California resorts in South Lake Tahoe announced Nov. 14 as their opening day, a full six days earlier than anticipated.

This is the earliest both have opened since 2012 and the first time opening six days ahead of schedule since at least 2009.

With the strongest El Niño in 50 years unfolding, meteorologists have predicted above-normal snowfall for the mountains of California this winter.

"The 2015-2016 season may yield triple the amount of snow than that which fell last year in the central and northern mountains," AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

The region's ski resorts are certainly counting on the weather pattern to boost sales after a four-year dry stretch, enticing winter sports enthusiasts with advertisements foreshadowing a snowy winter ahead.

"El Niño is coming... Get your Season Pass now!" an advertisement on the Mt. Rose website reads.

"El niño is beginning to play a role in the weather patterns across California, and this is certainly a sign of what's to come as we get into the heart of the winter," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

"This season won't resemble what we've seen the past few winters."

The next chance for California resorts to pick up additional snowfall will come on Sunday. Six-12 inches of snow is possible in the ski areas of the central and northern Sierra as well as the Mount Shasta region.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Jillian MacMath at macmathj@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Jillian_MacMath or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.