Holidays good to South Lake Tahoe hotels, mountains |

Holidays good to South Lake Tahoe hotels, mountains

Annie Flanzraich

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Although exact figures aren’t in yet, the holidays were good to many local hotels, resorts, mountains and shops, their respective officials said.

“We had a remarkable New Year’s Eve actually,” said Mike Donovan, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa executive marketing manager.

The resort sold more than 2,500 cover to its nightclubs for the New Year’s Eve celebration. The last week of December helped the resort out-perform December 2008 by 20 percent, Donovan said.

“Our December had been looking bleak from the first three weeks,” he said. “New Year’s saved us for the month.”

Other local lodging reported occupancies in the high 90 percent range for the New Year’s Eve weekend and in the mid-80 percent range for the Christmas weekend, said Jerry Bindel, South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association President.

“The general sense was a very positive one,” Bindel said. “You could feel it in town in and all the restaurants. It was very last minute for a lot of us.”

The booking window was shorter than it had been in previous years, both Bindel and Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, agreed.

“People were still making last-minute decisions even though it was the holiday,” Chaplin said. “They were making the choice to travel and to stay as more impulse as opposed to planning it out long-term.”

The weekend after New Year’s was also very good to Sierra-at-Tahoe, said spokeswoman Kirstin Cattell. Although the private company does not release numbers for earnings or skier visits, Cattell said the resort had a “solid holiday period.”

“Business was very good,” she said. “We had a busy midweek, which was a pleasant surprise.”

While Heavenly Mountain Resort will not have firm counts on the number of guests it saw for the holiday weekend until late February, spokeswoman Aimi Xistra-Rich said the resort rolled out some new attractions.

“We opened our new tubing facility and it is receiving huge, raving reviews,” she said.

Anecdotally, Chaplin said local retailers also faired well during the holidays.

“They said some of their days, specifically Saturday, was really, really good,” she said.

The LTVA Visitor’s Center also saw traffic during the holidays.

“People were coming and asking questions about what to do and see,” she said.

Looking toward the rest of the winter, Bindel said many lodging association members are reporting fairly weak bookings.

“But there are a lot of last-minute bookings,” he said. “We want to see more snow come through.”

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