Merchants cheered by sales |

Merchants cheered by sales

The weeks leading up to Christmas weekend were characterized as the calm before the storm by many Truckee businesses.

People out shopping for holidays gifts kicked it into high gear on Friday and Saturday, the busiest days reported by some downtown businesses.

“It seemed like it started out slower this year,” said Truckee Variety owner Jan Adrian. “I don’t think it was as hectic in the beginning, but it turned out great. Friday and Saturday were the busiest days.”

Adrian said sales were about the same as the last few years overall, but Sunday was oddly quiet.

Crowds in Truckee Train and Toy this weekend migrated in a similar trend.

“It was different this year,” said Cathy Sorrentino, who owns the toy store with her husband, John. “The Friday and Saturday before were much busier than in previous years. I thought Sunday would be a total zoo, but it was quiet.”

Ski areas reported steady numbers as well, with numbers about average compared with the past few years.

“It went about as expected,” said Bill Hudson, sales manager for Sugar Bowl. “It just seems like we never get big crowds before Christmas. Christmas Eve and Christmas day went pretty good and we had a steady crowd Friday through Monday.”

Hudson said Sugar Bowl definitely had more business this year than last year.

“It’s been cold, so we’ve been able to make good snow,” he said.

He said Sugar Bowl is expecting a good turnout on New Year’s weekend.

“It’s hard to tell with the way the vacation breaks are,” he said. “I certainly don’t think it’s going to be a record-breaking week, but we are expecting good numbers. I think the next two weeks will be steady, but we probably won’t have huge crowds.”

Northstar-At-Tahoe’s communications manager, Erin Bernall, said she expects New Year’s weekend to be busier than Christmas weekend was.

“We did over what we forecasted for (Christmas weekend), so that was great,” Bernall said. “It looks like this week is going to be busier than the actual Christmas holiday which is typical. The biggest thing that we’re looking at going into this week and next week is that we’re at 100 percent occupancy.”

Last year, the resort was just shy of 100 percent occupancy, not completely sold out.

“Last season, that was our saving grace. We had people booking their holiday vacation months in advance,” Bernall said. “We’re obviously hoping for another storm.”

Northstar staff are also busy making snow on Lookout Mountain, the resort’s 200 acres of new terrain, and are hoping to open that area soon. The new terrain will boast 1,200 feet of vertical drop and five black diamond runs and is the biggest terrain expansion at Northstar since the opening of the backside in 1983.

“Just about everything else on the mountain is open so we’ve shifted our attention to Lookout Mountain,” Bernall said. The grand opening for Lookout Mountain is scheduled for Jan. 20, but will be open to skiers before that.

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