Early season snow sparks November tourism
Earlier than normal snow boosted tourism to Truckee, livening business during the fall season that is traditionally sluggish for the town’s retail shops and hotels.Record early openings by area ski resorts brought an influx of weekenders in November that business owners are not used to seeing until later in the winter. For many businesses, the tourists helped cut short the end of Truckee’s “shoulder season” the dead period between the tourist-heavy summer and winter.Skiers and snowboarders preparing for ski season made their way to Tahoe Dave’s Ski and Board Shop earlier and heavier than normal, said manager Rich Crellin. “This is unofficially the busiest fall I’ve seen, and I’ve been here 10 years,” Crellin said. “We open in mid-October and right from the get-go we saw enthusiasm, and it has not slowed.”The early onset of winter was good news for the hotel industry, said Patricia Barrett, manager of the Inn at Truckee.”We had a record third quarter and the fourth quarter is looking equally as good,” said Barrett, who credits the boom to “people discovering Truckee.”The hotel is completely booked for Thanksgiving, and is seeing advance bookings into March, said Barrett. “We are seeing our fall off-season disappear,” she said.While the Best Western off of Brockway Road experienced a good October, November proved a little slower than expected, said Manager Laura Ryan.Ryan said that the early snow brought in skiers and snowboarders, but also turned away construction workers that would have otherwise been customers at the hotel. By the second week in December, winter business should be in full swing, she said.Downtown Truckee’s Cooking Gallery was experiencing its usual pre-Thanksgiving rush on Wednesday, said owner Mike Preaseau. Business is only slightly up from last year, but he saw skiers shopping his store earlier in the fall this year than ever before. The early appearance of skiers and the Thanksgiving rush signal the welcome end of the slow fall, he said.”That’s been the one bright spot coming into the season,” Preaseau said.Visits to the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce’s visitor center were up by nearly 200 during October.”Apparently we had a little bit stronger retail in the fall because of the early snow,” said Beverly Welch of the chamber of commerce.Meanwhile, the ski resorts are enjoying the early start to the season.”Here it is Thanksgiving weekend, and we have been open for four weekends already,” said Kristin York, marketing manager for Sugar Bowl. “It’s been a real nice surprise.”
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