Too much of a good thing stalls business
Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.
Each time a storm hits South Shore, those on the slopes are thrilled to be out in the new powder, while hundreds of others are stuck in it.
More than a foot of snow fell at lake level Sunday and ski resorts received as much as 36 inches, which brought “a lot of smiles to a lot of faces,” according to Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Tracy Owen Chapman.
However, westbound traffic was backed up more than 25 miles on U.S. Highway 50, according to the California Department of Transportation, which closed the highway at Echo Summit intermittently for avalanche control. “On Sundays when the town is full, the traffic is definitely slow,” said Chapman.
The storm forced the resort to postpone the last event of the Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Snowboarding until today at 10 a.m., because the halfpipe needed for the competition filled with snow and spectators and competitors could not get to the event.
In the city of South Lake Tahoe, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic for much of the day on Lake Tahoe Boulevard and chain restrictions on Ski Run Boulevard slowed the heavy traffic headed for Heavenly Ski Resort.
Traffic on Ski Run was cleared fairly quickly, according to Sgt. Steve O’Brien of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, but Heavenly’s Monica Bandows said a major power outage at the resort “put a damper on the day” for many guests.
Both base lodges on Heavenly’s Nevada side were closed Sunday and three ski lifts were damaged when the power went out before the resort opened, according to Bandows, who said, “It was a wild day.”
However many people who could not get out of town Sunday went to Heavenly, according to Bandows, who said the resort had a busy weekend despite its electrical problems.
“Because we are in the city our location is good especially on a day like today,” she said. “And the snow is awesome.”
State Route 88 over Carson Pass was closed for four hours Sunday morning and the Carson Spur was closed all day.
“We don’t need any more snow,” said Tim Cohee, president of Kirkwood Mountain Resort, which has received 27 feet of snow in the past 45 days. “All it is now is a weather event. It is not about snow. It is all about road conditions and whether or not people can get here.”
The road closures prevented most people from reaching Kirkwood, which had fewer than 1,000 visitors Sunday, one week after holiday crowds broke the resort’s previous attendance record.
“There are so few people here they must be having a ball,” Cohee said. “It is like their own private country club out there.”
The heavy snow will likely subside today but more is expected Tuesday and later in the week, according to the National Weather Service.
“This is typical of a winter Sunday,” O’Brien said of the traffic congestion. “lf it is snowing it will be like this all the time. People will get home. It’s just slow.”
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