Tahoe’s ski slopes busier this season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe’s ski slopes busier this season

Despite a snow year filled with peaks and valleys, the 2000-01 ski season for Lake Tahoe resorts showed 3 percent growth from the previous period.

Ski Lake Tahoe, a consortium of six ski areas in the region, reported 3.1 million skier visits this year. The six Ski Lake Tahoe areas include Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstar and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Sierra-at-Tahoe, located 12 miles west of Meyers, took in 357,000 snow riders this past ski season, up 20 percent from the previous year.

Spokeswoman Megan Moore attributes the major boost to season-pass sales and an early ski season. The ski area boasted the earliest opening in its history – Nov. 3.

Sierra’s sister resort, Northstar-at-Tahoe, reported 9 percent growth, with 520,000 visitors.

Northstar beefed up its snowmaking capacity last year and plans to put $7 million more into snowmaking equipment.

“We’ve shown we can deliver even when conditions are bad,” Owen Chapman said.

According to National Ski Areas Association preliminary figures, the sport attracted 57.3 million people to U.S. slopes during the 2000-01 season. This number compares to 52.1 million from the year before, with some regions of the United States faring better than others.

The snow arrived in the Northeast, Southwest and Midwest this past year but stayed away from Pacific Northwest. The West fell somewhere in between.

“With the (2002) Olympics next year, we’re expecting increased interest and enthusiasm for the sport,” said agency spokesman Justin Yax.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort reported 350,000 skiers and snowboarders riding its runs this past season. Heavenly’s individual numbers are unavailable at this time.

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