INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A major renovation at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe earned initial approval last week from a Washoe County planning board.The projects covered under the special-use permit “are pretty well thought out, good for the community and good for their business,” Richard Cieri, a Washoe County Board of Adjustment member, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.The proposal would add new terrain, additional lifts, snowmaking improvements and various facility enhancements, all part of a $23.5 million effort that would take about 15 years to complete. According to the RGJ story, work is expected to begin next year.Among the proposed improvements, the existing Ponderosa and Galena lifts would combine into a single high-speed, 5,000-foot lift, according to the resort, and the Lakeview lift also would be expanded. Also planned are a mountaintop restaurant with 270-degree views from Lake Tahoe to Virginia Peak, and a new guest locker building.Additional changes include the expansion of the main lodge to include a remodeled and larger Rosebuds Children’s center, plus a new First Aid facility. A new Mountain Operations Center at the Slide Bowl would replace the current shop near the main lodge. Snowmaking improvements are also in the plan and include the construction of a one-acre pond to increase storage capacity near the existing tank above the Galena terrain.The planning board’s approval is final unless an appeal is filed with the County Commission. The West Washoe Valley and the Galena-Steamboat citizen advisory boards unanimously voted in support, according to the RGJ.Further, planning for a separate project that would expand skiing and snowboarding services onto the adjacent 99-acre Atoma parcel, located on the north side of State Highway 431, is under way.“This open, mosaic-glade style skiing would make for a unique lower level snow experience combining open runs with pods of trees intermixed throughout the new area,” according to the resort in a previous press release. “The run from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the Atoma area would become one of the longest low level trails in the Lake Tahoe area ... at almost 3.5 miles.”According to the proposal, the long run — dubbed the “Around-the-World experience” — would transition trails through trees within the resort’s Galena terrain and include a skier bridge over the Mt. Rose Highway, near the entrance to the main lodge, that would connect existing trails to the new Atoma terrain.Along with the bridge are proposed new lifts, highlighted by the Atoma return lift, an approximately 3,500-foot-long ride that would cross the Mt. Rose Highway to return skiers and snowboarders to the main trails.The resort is working with representatives of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to initiate an environmental analysis of the proposal, in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The analysis could take two years to complete.
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