A winner of a winter
April 23, 2008
As the shoulder season approaches, the crowds taper off and warmer temperatures turn the snow to slush, Tahoe-Truckee businesses report satisfaction over winter sales ” for the most part.
Overall, business owners said high revenue was due to an greater influx of foreigners because of the weak American dollar, and, of course, the series of storms that blanketed the Sierra Nevada earlier this winter.
“We had the second busiest season in terms of skier visits than any other year,” said Jessica VanPernis, spokeswoman for Northstar-at-Tahoe.
Similarly, Jojo Toeppner, manager of Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center, said numbers were up across the board.
“President’s weekend was record-breaking,” Toeppner said. “It also seemed like mid-week numbers were up more. There were more locals coming out.”
In the midst of an economic slowdown, Toeppner said rather than take a toll on business, the current conditions coupled with some highly publicized storms may have boosted numbers as Bay Area and Reno residents chose to travel close to home.
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“If you have snow, they will come,” Toeppner said.
Reservations at the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee doubled compared to last year, said owner Patty Baird.
It wasn’t just recreation and lodging businesses that reaped the benefits. Owner Dave Wilderotter of Tahoe Dave’s said he raked in profits from retail sales.
“Once Christmas hit, it was strong all the way through March,” Wilderotter said. “The stars were aligned for my business.”
Additionally, Wilderotter said he didn’t see people pinching pennies because of the current economy either.
“I’m a believer that Tahoe is somewhat stress-proof,” he said. “Whether it’s good financial times or bad financial times, good snow is good snow.”
However, Porters Sports in Truckee and Tahoe City didn’t fair as well this winter due to a slow start to the season, Easter falling earlier than usual and “resorts throwing in the towel early,” said owner John Chapman.
“It was a mixed bag this year,” Chapman said. “January and February were a complete thumbs up, but it only filled up the hole November made. It was bad on the front end, and bad on the back end.”
Other businesses that felt the burden of a bad economy were snow removal companies. Matt Warren, owner of SnowTech in Tahoe Donner, said expenses were up this season due to rising fuel costs.
“Revenue was comparable to seasons in the past, but our profit this year was lower than it has been,” he said. “There’s a high probability we’ll have to increase prices next year.”
NEW YORK (AP) ” The robust euro is spurring European travelers to head across the pond to the U.S. ” and Tahoe-Truckee is no exception.
Patty Baird, owner of the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee, said she attributed the profitable season to a surge in marketing Truckee as a winter destination.
“One thing I noted in terms of visitors was a lot of international guests coming in,” Baird said. “If we did the same next winter, I’d still be happy because we did that good.”
The euro rose as high as $1.6018, more than a penny above the $1.5916 it bought late Monday. The 15-nation currency, which was introduced in 1999, has traded as low as 82 cents. It has surged recently, rising 20 cents against the dollar in just five months and 10 cents in just two months.
The euro hit its last record of $1.5982 Thursday.
The dollar’s slump is a boon for U.S. companies that rely heavily on exports as well as travelers visiting the States.