Tahoe South Shore resorts, businesses see strong start to 2016-17 winter season
If the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was any indication, the South Shore could be in for a healthy winter as it relates to tourism. That’s the take from area experts who viewed the past weekend as a positive start to the season.
“All in all it was a very busy weekend here on the South Shore. … Everyone was busy the entire weekend, Wednesday through Sunday,” Justin Sinner, membership services director at the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday after talking with chamber members earlier in the week.
Much of that positive feedback, Sinner added, was due to the ski resorts opening up for the weekend, an occurrence that does not happen every year.
Heavenly Mountain opened Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, while Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain opened Saturday, when all the resorts benefited from a healthy dose of fresh snow later in the day. Over 24 hours, Heavenly reported 18 inches of snow, Kirkwood reported 14 inches and Sierra-at-Tahoe reported 2 feet of new snow.
“We’re looking forward to a great winter, looking forward to a normal winter and looking forward to people coming back and enjoying Lake Tahoe at its finest,” Kevin Cooper, senior communications manager Heavenly and Kirkwood resorts, said after the opening weekend.
At Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe, the past weekend was good but not spectacular, which is about par for Thanksgiving weekend during a good year, said John Packer, spokesperson for Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe.
“For us it was kind of average, similar to last year,” Packer said. “It was nothing spectacular but we had a good weekend and good occupancy. … We just think it will get even better.”
That was about the same experience shared with the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO.
“I’m getting the impression that everyone was pleased with the holiday, but nobody was breaking out the champagne saying it was the best ever,” Chaplin said.
From the feedback received by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, retail on the South Shore appeared to be up a little compared to 2015, which seems to be part of a national trend, according to Chaplin. Additionally the average daily rate at many area hotels and lodging areas has been trending upward the past couple of months, and December bookings are filling up.
“It really bodes well for what’s to come,” Chaplin said.