Snow kick-starts winter economy |

Snow kick-starts winter economy

Greyson Howard
Nevada Appeal News Service
Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal Matt Taylor of the Lyon County Road Department uses a blade to cut out the washboard on Fort Churchill Road Monday afternoon in Dayton as he begins the process of resurfacing the road.

TRUCKEE – Snow arrived just in time for many local businesses last week.

The end-of-the-week storm that blanketed the Truckee-Tahoe area with 2 or 3 feet of snow was a welcome sight, say those still nervous over last winter’s meager snowfall.

“Snow is huge here; it can make or break you,” said President Stefanie Olivieri of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. “This snow came just in time, and it will make a huge difference in the financial picture of our community.”

The financial effects of snow go beyond just tourism-driven businesses, she said, trickling down to every part of the community. As does the absence of wintry weather.

But it isn’t just about getting snow, it’s also about the calendar date when the region is finally clobbered, said Paco Lindsay, owner of Paco’s Bike and Ski in Truckee.

“I don’t get uptight if we don’t have snow at Thanksgiving, but by mid-December it gets pretty critical,” Lindsay said. “My first concern date is December 5, I start to worry by December 15, and say ‘oh gosh’ on December 20.”

Last winter, as with many local businesses, Lindsay’s shop was hit by the dry winter, he said.

“Last year was definitely an off year, but I don’t think we got hit as bad as others,” Lindsay said.

And the economic effects of last year’s drought-like winter lingered into this season, with shoppers hesitant to buy skiing and snowshoeing equipment, Lindsay added.

But the recent storm has changed that.

“We definitely went from people kind of looking to people all of the sudden buying equipment. It’s like instant winter,” Lindsay said. “This was a really busy weekend – snow is the magic ingredient.”

Other businesses are expecting a delayed reaction after the season’s first substantial snowstorm. Tim Hill, general manager of Jake’s on the Lake restaurant in Tahoe City, said he thinks next weekend will be bigger than the last.

“You’re not going to see more people immediately, but we are expecting a busy weekend coming up,” Hill said.

Hill said winter can be the most variable season for business in Tahoe.

“Summer is always busy because this is one of the most beautiful spots in the world,” Hill said. “But winter is always weather-dependent – always.”

The local businesses with the most to celebrate are the region’s ski resorts, whose snow-making operations were finally supplemented by Mother Nature.

“It was a great weekend, it turned out far better than we expected,” said Jody Churich, general manager at Boreal Mountain Resort.

Over at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Spokesperson Jessica VanPernis said they also had a good weekend and seem to be off to a good start.

As for the timing of the storm, VanPernis said this year is fairly normal.

“Looking back over the last 20 seasons, we get the majority of our snowfall between December and February, so this is pretty typical,” she said.

Jennie Bartlett, marketing manager for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, said this year’s opening came at about the same as last year’s.