Lake Tahoe ski resort’s summer ops plans to be discussed next week | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe ski resort’s summer ops plans to be discussed next week

Josh Staab
jstaab@sierrasun.com

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A newly proposed financial model for Diamond Peak's long-term master plan shows a reduction of total capital costs, while also reducing initial debt and overall project debts.

That's among several conclusions and recommendations included in the recently released final report from the Diamond Peak Steering Committee.

According to the report, committee members spent months analyzing topics ranging from the value of Diamond Peak to the community, the state of the ski resort industry, and proposed summer and winter activities and "their related opportunities, impacts and sensitivities."

The reports lays out a plan for Diamond Peak's summer activities, starting with Phase 1, which the committee suggests splitting into two parts, "Phase 1a" and "Phase 1b" — and moving the proposed Alpine Coaster into Phase 1b.

"This lowers financial risks by significantly reducing Phase 1's capital costs and allows an evaluation of Phase 1a prior to proceeding with additional implementation and investment in summer activities," according to the report.

As proposed, Diamond Peak and Incline Village General Improvement District officials would be able to monitor progress with initial Phase 1a improvements to see if summer activities are working properly and are a good fit for the area.

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DISSENTING OPINION

However, the dissenting opinion section of the report maintains that summer activities aimed primarily at a visiting audience cannot sustain capital costs.

Further, dissenters have voiced a desire for IVGID trustees to poll property owners before proceeding with any votes that would approve summer activities, according to the report.

If property owners support summer activities at Diamond Peak, the report states, then "the minority group believes the committee's recommended plan is superior to the SE Group's original master plan."

"We believe Diamond Peak is a valuable resource for our community and that cannot be sustained by local business alone," the committee wrote in its report. "Diamond Peak has excess capacity and can potentially benefit from better year-round utilization."

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READ MORE: The Diamond Peak Steering Committee report "reflects the committee's desire to ensure that the document accurately depicts the diversity of views represented by committee members," IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton writes in his GM's Corner this week.

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The revised financial model shows summer activities taking 27 percent of capital expenditures, the Snowflake Lodge renovation or replacement taking 37 percent, and winter improvements rounding out the remaining 36 percent.

Revised financial findings report the committee's recommended master plan reduces total capital outlay by 20 percent and debt by 40 percent, and lowers the total project debt by 35 percent.

Under this model, $23 million of cash flow would be made available after 12 years. Of that, $9.4 million would be used to fund phases 1b, 2, 3 and 4 of the plan. The remaining $13.4 million would be available for "other uses," according to the report.

Project background

In April 2013, IVGID trustees awarded a services contract to the SE Group to develop a ski area master plan update and summer activities assessment for Diamond Peak.

By September 2014, facing mounting public outcry for SE Group’s original proposed plan, IVGID officials made the decision to take further time to consider public concern and make revisions to the plan, convening the Steering Committee to revise any further proposals.

Committee members include: Bill Echols, Liz Harrell, Brian Hrindo, Jessica Jameson, Dr. Andrew Jaine, Shane Johnson, Judith Miller, Al O’Connor, Robert Olmer, Steve Pulver, Eric Severance, Bruce Simonian and Charlie White.

The committee will present its report and a complete list of findings before a special IVGID Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 15, at 6 p.m. at The Chateau.

The board may or may not take action at that time.