AVP plans to return to Lake Tahoe

Jeremy Evans

Despite the less than stellar weather this past weekend, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Crocs Tour is planning to return to Lake Tahoe, according to AVP Commissioner Leonard Armato.

While the crowds at the four-day event were smaller than he would’ve liked, Armato said the tour signs three-year agreements with venues and expects Tahoe to host another event next season.

“Obviously, the snow hurt us on Friday and it was very cold a couple of the other days,” Armato said. “Once it warmed up, it was pleasant and there were good matches. For a first-time event, it’s a good stake in the ground.”

A cold front moved into the Lake Tahoe Basin on Thursday that brought low temperatures, high winds and intermittent precipitation. By Friday, rain showers were replaced by snow flurries and the mercury dropped to near 40 degrees. By Sunday, when the finals were held at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, the sky was blue and temperatures reached the low 70s.

Lake Tahoe Best of the Beach women’s champion Kerri Walsh, who partnered with Misty May-Treanor, is married to men’s AVP player Casey Jennings, who graduated from Incline High. So she realized Sunday’s weather is the norm.

“This is the typical Tahoe day,” said Walsh, a former NCAA All-American at Stanford who visited Tahoe often in college. “I came here growing up and it’s unbelievable. People appreciate sporting events here. I hope to come back here many, many more times.”

For now, that’s the plan.

Although official attendance figures haven’t been released for the four-day event, more than 1,600 fans created a festive atmosphere in the 3,000-seat outdoor sports pavilion at MontBleu. In an effort to replicate Sunday’s environment, Armato said the tour will likely have to move the Tahoe event earlier in the season to increase the odds of favorable weather.

Paul Reder, MontBleu’s director of entertainment, admitted the weather forecast was unfortunate. But he also thinks the AVP Crocs Tour, with its young, hip and sexy athletes, is a natural fit for the Stateline casino.

“That’s the demographic the AVP wants to hit, and I think that matches perfectly to the target audience we are trying to reach here at MontBleu,” Reder said. “The AVP is aware of the volleyball interest in Lake Tahoe.”

We need support from the local community. But if it’s successful, it will come back.”

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