Homewood celebrates 60 years
Special to the Sierra Sun
Homewood Mountain Resort turned 60 years old this year and is celebrating with 262 inches this ’21-22 season alone.
While the mountain received its first rope tow in the summer of 1962, its history goes back way longer.
When talking about Lake Tahoe history, it’s important to remember that the land was inhabited and cared for by the Washoe Tribe, long before settlers ever came to the area. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that a group of settlers, including a dairy farmer named Jack Sargeant Ellis and Dick Madden.
Those names may sound familiar. Ellis Peak sits at 8,740 feet overlooking Tahoe’s west shore and Madden Creek runs from Lake Louise around Homewood and ends in Lake Tahoe. They might also sound familiar because the majority of Homewood Mountain Resort can be accessed from the Ellis and Madden chairs.
“In the 1930s the Tahoe Treasure Mine, and the Noonchester mine were established a quarter-mile south of Quail Lake just outside of the current boundary of Homewood Mountain Resort. The mines were abandoned after a few years of no profits due to poor quality ore, however, the mining legacy continues on the mountain via run names such as Bonanza, Miner’s Delight, Ore Car,” Homewood’s website states.
Even before those mines were discovered, Homewood was turning into a vacation destination. The Hotel Homewood was built in 1910 but it was until the 1960 Winter Olympics that Homewood would become a ski destination.
Ron Rupp, who was renting a room at the Hotel Homewood, saw the potential for skiing at Homewood. He pitched the idea to the hotel’s owner, Don Huff and in the summer of 1961, they began to build a rope tow.
However, Rupp was called to serve during the Cuban Missile Crisis so he and Rupp struck a deal with local realtor Max Hoff who was establishing a ski hill down the road called Tahoe Ski Bowl.
Rupp was released from service shortly after and came home to begin work on a second rope tow. In 1962, Homewood Mountain Resort was officially born. In 1966, the Alpine Platter and Madden Chair were built, as well as the Homewood High & Dry Marina.
For over 30 years, Homewood and Tahoe Ski Bowl co-existed just down the road from one another but in 1987, Homewood bought the struggling Tahoe Ski Bowl and combined them into one resort.
Homewood has had its fair shares of ups and downs over the years, including a bankruptcy in 1991 and the South Lodge burning down in 2016.
JMA bought the mountain in 2006, the West Shore Cafe in 2010 and the marina in 2016. They’ve since upgraded the Ellis Chair and became the first marina on Lake Tahoe to install electric boating infrastructure.
Homewood has eight lifts, 67 runs, all of which have incredible lake views. It’s 1,260 acres with a base elevation of 6,230′ and a summit elevation of 7,880 feet. The terrain consists of 15% beginner terrain, 40% intermediate terrain, 30% advanced terrain, 15% expert terrain and five terrain parks.
This year Homewood Mountain Resort and the United States of America Snowboard Association will be hosting the inaugural Rail Jam event. On Jan. 8 – 9 and Feb. 26 – 27 people ages six to 60 will put down their best runs for a chance to qualify for US Nationals.
During the late December storm, Homewood has received over 10 feet of new snow. To learn more about enjoying this fresh powder, visit http://www.skihomewood.com.
Editor’s note – this history was taken from an in-depth report by Jenn Sheridan at Homewood Mountain Resort. To read the whole report, visit https://www.skihomewood.com/homewood-history/
Laney Griffo is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun
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