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Working the holiday

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Those who had the task of working on Christmas greeted tourists and locals alike with holiday cheer and warm smiles.

At Shoreline Cafe, orders of scrambled eggs, buttered toast, bacon and other breakfast fare waited for pickup and delivery. Nicki Van Suydam, a waitress, bustled between the kitchen and the front counter.

Tips and customers made her day.

“It’s fun because everyone is in a festive, good mood,” she said.

Behind the food counter, kitchen manager George Montoya and two cooks rushed to keep up.

“It’s no problem,” Montoya said under a tall cook’s hat. “Somebody has to feed the town.”

Part of the town includes the Blaney family. The clan of eight, with a Russian exchange student, recently finished church. They wanted to save energy for their Christmas feast and decided to dine at Shoreline.

At Safeway, a steady stream of shoppers cruised the aisles for last-minute necessities.

The afternoon was expected to be busy at the supermarket.

“We’ll be busy when the skiers get off the hill,” Monica O’Neil said behind the deli counter. “Skiers are sandwich people.

“A lot of people are buying meat and cheese trays for their party.”

Though not at the deli counter yet, skiers at Heavenly stood in lift lines and ski rental lines.

Sarah Gatward waited for ski renters in front of a cash register. The New Zealander said she didn’t mind working Dec. 25 because her country celebrates Christmas a day earlier because of the time difference.

Gatward said she “opened presents and had a few drinks” Monday night with 30 New Zealanders and Australians.

At the Perfect Ride ski lift, Sean Whisler sat in the lift shack listening to rap music. He and the other lift operator, Trent, were bobbing to the beat and engaging in short conversation with the snowboarders and skiers before they were whisked away by the chairlift.

“There’s worse things, like working New Year’s Day,” said Whisler from the doorway of the lift shack.

“Since I’m away from home I’d rather be working than doing nothing,” he said.

Then Whisler picked up a large drill, ducked under a ski lift rope, and added, “Christmas rocks.”


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