Tahoe City Winter Sports Park to open day after Thanksgiving | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City Winter Sports Park to open day after Thanksgiving

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Despite the Lake Tahoe region having already received snow, officials with the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park are pursuing buying a snowmaking machine to safeguard operations this season.

Last winter season, the park never opened due to lack of snow, preventing people from partaking in cross-country and skate skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and walking at the Tahoe City Golf Course park.

To ensure that isn't repeated, the Tahoe City Public Utility District and Tahoe XC are proposing to supplement natural snowpack through use of a fan gun.

"The addition of snowmaking capability is expected to provide enough snow to build the sledding hill at a minimum and ensure some winter activity at the park regardless of natural snowfall," said Kurt Althof, grants and community information administrator for the TCPUD. "Additionally, extra snow made … could be pushed to help enhance snow conditions on some of the trails."

The snow gun would be stationed near the golf course's clubhouse, with use dictated by need and weather conditions, Althof said.

Last month, the Tahoe City PUD's board of directors approved the purchase of the fan gun not to exceed $30,000, with funds coming from its Parks and Recreation capital budget, he said.

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TCPUD conducted an initial study, per the California Environmental Quality Act, to determine whether the gun would have a significant adverse effect on the environment, and found that it wouldn't with implementation of mitigation measures.

As a result, the district intends to adopt a negative declaration at a 8 a.m. Dec. 10 public hearing in the TCPUD Board Room, with public comments being accepted until 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

If approved, the earliest the snow gun could be operational is Dec. 14, Althof said.

PARK OPENING THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

Meanwhile, the sports park is slated to open Friday, Nov. 27 — the day after Thanksgiving — for its fourth season, conditions permitting.

Once open, and depending on weather, operations will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Fridays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays through March 27, Althof confirmed.

During holiday periods, the park is intended to be open daily from Dec. 21, 2015, to Jan. 3, 2016, and Feb. 13 to Feb. 15, be said.

Cost to use the park on days of operation is the same as in past years — $10 per day, which includes access to the sledding hill, a snow saucer rental and a ski trail pass.

Adult snowshoes and cross-country equipment cost an extra $15 each, while the same rental equipment will cost $10 for juniors (17-13) and $5 for children (12 and under). Meanwhile, pull-behind ski sled rentals will be an additional $10.

Park usage will be allowed on non-operational days (Monday-Thursday), except for the sled hill, due to liability reasons.

On those days, a $5 to $10 donation is requested to offset the cost of grooming, which will be performed daily by park manager Tahoe XC.

As in past seasons, a 2-kilometer trail along the edge of the property will be dedicated for walking and snowshoeing, with a 3-kilometer ski trail running parallel.

Park season passes are available at $49 and can be purchased at Tahoe XC or Tahoe City Winter Sports Park ticket counters, said Valli Murnane, manager for Tahoe XC.

Those with a Tahoe XC season pass will have free unlimited access to the park, she said.

Further, a day ticket purchased at Tahoe XC will be valid at the Winter Sports Park for the same day, Murnane said. A park day ticket will also be accepted at Tahoe XC for same day use upon paying the ticket price difference.

ICE RINK COMING NEXT WINTER?

The Winter Sports Park is a collaborative effort among Tahoe XC, TCPUD and Duncan Golf Management.

This season, TCPUD's park contribution is budgeted at $42,890, with funds coming from its Parks and Recreation operating budget, Althof said. This will cover district labor, materials and supplies, insurance and utility expenses.

As for next season, the TCPUD is considering purchasing a small portable ice rink similar to the one in the Truckee River Regional Park in Truckee, to add a non-snow dependent amenity to the park, he said.

It's estimated to cost $500,000, Cindy Gustafson, district general manager, said at this month's Golf Course Oversight Committee meeting. Officials are mulling funding options.

In 2012, the TCPUD, Placer County, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Tahoe Truckee Airport District pulled their resources to buy the Tahoe City Golf Course for $4.7 million.

"One of the main goals in purchasing the golf course was to provide a year-round recreational opportunity on the property," Althof said. "Having viable winter recreation activities in the Basin is beneficial to both residents and visitors and is critical to the economy of Tahoe City."

How to comment

Send comments on the snow gun to Bob Bolton, TCPUD Director of Parks and Recreation, at PO Box 5249, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City, CA, 96145, or bbolton@tcpud.org by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

A copy of the negative declaration for the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park’s proposed snowmaking is available at the TCPUD office (221 Fairway Drive), and Tahoe City Public Library (740 North Lake Blvd.), or online at tahoecitypud.com by clicking ‘TCPUD News and Updates’ quick link.

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