Snow…it’s like white gold!   Leave a comment

Folks who live in Tahoe and Truckee all know that snow is a big part of the Tahoe economy…but we didn’t realize how big that impact was until this winter. It is not unusual to go through long periods without much snow in the winter, but usually these periods of quiet come in-between long snowy periods when the feet of the white stuff stacks up and brings us what we need. This year that hasn’t happened.

Here we are January 17th and people are hiking into Desolation Wilderness to go ice skating on Eagle Lake or mountain biking on the Emigrant Trail north of Truckee. They are driving over usually long closed Tioga Pass into Yosemite, where they post pictures on Facebook of going ice skating on Tenaya Lake…in bikinis. On the east shore of Tahoe some have been swimming on warm days, and surfing the waves on the windy days. It’s all about creative Sierra locals making lemonade out of the no-skiing lemons. It’s all fun, but one of the reasons you see all these folks doing all these things is because they have lots of free time…the ski areas they work for haven’t hired them yet, or laid them off after the Christmas holidays until the snow flies again.

While the downhill ski areas are still open, they are limited by what sort of artificial snow they can put out, and the skier numbers and thus ski area employees are way down. The cross-country ski areas have taken it even worse, as they have not been able to open yet this season. The Nordic centers, which usually sell a third of their trail passes over Christmas and New Year’s, have got zippo so far this year. Vacation rentals have dropped dramatically as well. While many of the Christmas/New Year’s rentals had non-refundable deposits, new bookings will be practically non-existent until the snow flies. Hotels, restaurants, gift shops, gas stations…the list goes on and on of who is impacted when the snow doesn’t fly in the winter.

Everyone’s business is dependent upon people from the Bay Area, Sacramento and around the world coming to enjoy the pow at Lake Tahoe. Other than praying for snow and washing our cars is there anything else we can do? Support Tahoe and Truckee Businesses! If you are a Sierra local, dig deep and go out to dinner at one of your favorite haunts (check the local papers, some are giving discounts to attract customers) or buy yourself some new ski gear that you will eventually get to use. If you are from out of the area, come on up even if there isn’t snow…eat, drink, be merry. Go for a hike, gander at Donner Lake or Lake Tahoe…it’s all good.

Storms are threatening. We may still get a healthy dose of snow. And when it happens and winter life returns to normal you will see some very happy campers that are ready to enjoy what nature has to offer. Bring it on.

Did you miss the 2011 Sales Summary on my last blog? Be sure and take a look.

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