Tahoe resorts ready for white – and green – Christmas
December 23, 2006
One combination of winter storms and Christmas, is, of course, a white Christmas. But it also means the possibility of a heck of a lot of people at the South Shore.
Estimates list occupancy rates at the more than 10,000 hotel, motel and time-share rooms at 75 to 80 percent, with the prediction of snow in the coming days likely to increase those numbers.
“Christmas is always pretty good for us,” said Patrick Kaler, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “With the snow coming on board I think it’ll be even better.”
Heavy mountain snow early last week and lighter snowfalls in the last few days have left the mountain slopes white. Finally, a storm is expected to arrive Christmas night.
The snow will provide a boost to ski resorts. Sierra-at-Tahoe, for example, opened a portion of West Bowl on Friday, according to spokeswoman Jessica VanPernis.
Heavenly Mountain resort opened its Stagecoach lift Thursday, providing “top to bottom skiing in both California and Nevada,” said spokesman Russ Pecoraro.
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“With the storm it should help out a little bit,” he said. Heavenly has used snowmaking capabilities to help open and maintain runs.
Winter break, both for school children and college students, typically lures people to Tahoe. The main motive for most, Kaler said, is for winter sports.
Roy Summers, an employee at the 107-room Super 8 along Lake Tahoe Boulevard, guessed the motel is a 75 percent capacity for the holiday weekend but that could change, he said.
“If we get the snow then we usually tend to fill up and the snow is coming in right now so it looks like Saturday we’ll sell out,” he said late Friday afternoon.
Despite few storms, this Christmas season, in terms of visitors, appears better than last year, when rain dampened resorts and the spirits of travelers, Kaler said.
“I’m not as nervous as last year because we have snow up on mountain,” he said.