Tahoe resorts hopeful recent snow sticks as lifts start spinning
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Lake Tahoe ski resorts rejoiced this week when early snowfall dumped two to three feet of snow on top of their mountains.
Palisades Tahoe is celebrating its opening day today and the rest of the resorts will begin opening over the next several weeks.
While skiers eagerly anticipate getting out on the mountains, those preparing the resorts for opening as early as next month are hopeful the recent snow will provide a good base for the rest of the season.
“It’s probably too early to tell,” said Director of Marketing for Diamond Peak Ski Resort Paul Raymore. “We’re hopeful that this [snowfall] will have cold temperatures and will serve as a great base, but that’s kind of in Mother Nature’s hands at this point.”
Diamond Peak received about 30 inches of snow and are preparing for their opening day on Thursday, Dec. 9.
“Our mountain operations teams and our snowmaking teams in particular are working at any opportunity to build on this base and add some man-made snow when possible with the hope to get a good foundation for the season laid down here soon,” Raymore said.
Diamond Peak and many other resorts opening in the basin this year are planning to offer a memorable experience for each of their riders coming back into the season, along with anyone looking to work in the ski industry.
Raymore said this year Diamond Peak will be offering competitive wages starting at $17 an hour, with the opportunity for an increase depending on experience.
“Given everything people have lived through these past 18 months with the pandemic, we’re seeing a lot of people aren’t necessarily stoked to return to their same old jobs,” said Raymore. “We really feel like the ski industry offers a great seasonal alternative for folks who are looking to do something fun, meet some new people, but also something financially rewarding.”
To help spread the word about the benefits of working at the resort, Diamond Peak will be having a job fair from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. Raymore is excited to welcome new employees, as well as welcome back returning faces.
“We’re a community owned resort and we have a great family feel here,” he said “There’s all these folks who work for us during the winter; some of them stick around during the summertime and some work at other venues. But it’s always nice when the ski resort reopens and we see a lot of the same smiling faces back at the resort.”
As for COVID restrictions, staff plans to wait for official guidance from Washoe County and the state.
Many resorts in California set to open this season have already released their COVID guidelines, along with some exciting upgrades riders can look forward to.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort: December 9 (Conditions permitting)
Heavenly Mountain Resort: November 19
Homewood Mountain Resort: December 10
Kirkwood Mountain Resort: December 3
Sierra-at-Tahoe: TBD, Check for updates on their website or social media pages
Ski California, a nonprofit which represents 34 ski resorts in Nevada and California, including Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts and Sierra-at-Tahoe, is excited for their resorts to open up this season.
“Ski California resorts safely operated all season long, giving skiers and riders a sense of normalcy while recreating outdoors in an otherwise challenging time,” said Ski California president Michael Reitzell in a statement earlier this month. “As the 2021-22 season approaches, resorts in California and Nevada have invested in further enhancing the guest experience and are continuing to seek out efficiencies and technologies that allow them to offer a seamless, and in many cases, contactless way to have an awesome day on the mountain.”
Heavenly Mountain Resort, which got over 2 feet of snow this week, will open Nov. 19 with business as usual at full capacity and no online reservations for skiing or riding. However, the resort will still require cashless transactions, and face masks indoors with reservations still required for on-mountain, indoor restaurants, along with proof of vaccination for anyone 12-plus years of age at any indoor dining quick-service cafeteria-style restaurants.
This year, Heavenly will be working on upgrading the North Bowl lift to transition to a four-person chair to increase capacity and reduce waiting times at lifts.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort will follow many of the same guidelines as Heavenly, although their opening date will be later in the season on Dec. 3. The mountain just received about 2 feet of snow, and is excited to promote Expedition Kirkwood this year. The program will offer multiple clinics and private lessons for riders, including AIARE classes.
Homewood Mountain Resort, which received 36 inches of snow this week, will open Dec 10 in celebration of their 60th anniversary season. The ski resort will be offering a number of deals for those learning to ride this season, including the Easy As 1-2-3 adult lesson packs, in which participants receive a season pass when they complete the program.
One resort who’s opening will look a little different this year is Sierra-at-Tahoe. In the aftermath of the Caldor Fire, resort staff are working tirelessly to evaluate damages and determine what operations might look like this winter. What is certain is that while the West Bowl life and terrain are still being reviewed, the area will be closed this season.
For more information about the opening of each resort and to see their specific guidelines for the season, visit Ski California’s website at skicalifornia.org.
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