Mountain Times: Our time? Their time? Or time for us all?

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE and#8212; Last weekand#8217;s lead article: and#8220;State of the Lake Tahoe ski industry: and#8216;This is our timeand#8217;and#8221; really set my mind wandering and wondering.

We have some heavy hitters in control of the areaand#8217;s major ski resorts, with distinct goals in mind of making this area a major and#8220;destination resortand#8221; for skiers, boarders and outdoor enthusiasts. They are planning on spending millions upon millions of dollars toward resort improvements, infrastructure, world-wide marketing and real estate investment/development.

Their goal: To make money (an acceptable reward for excellent service and financial investment) by attracting more tourists from outside of the area wanting to spend a lot of money for a top-grade outdoor experience. The apparent emphasis seems to be the creation of a better and#8220;destination resortand#8221; experience with less emphasis on the day visitors (and locals) who have traditionally been the backbone of actual lift ticket sales over years.

The and#8220;yield per skierand#8221; is defined by the actual number of dollars collected per skier visit. It does not take a mathematician to figure out that the possible yield for a visiting family of four, for one week, with lodging, food, lift tickets, equipment, shopping, merchandise, etc., can potentially yield a resort owner more profit than 10 to 15 midweek season pass holders. And definitely yields more than the average commuter skier who takes 10 to 15 day trips up here per year, buys a lift ticket, maybe a bowl of chili and a drink, fills a seat on the chair lift, then goes home.

For those of you readers who would like to read a book about this relatively new emphasis on ski area development, I would suggest you read and#8220;Downhill Slideand#8221; by Hal Clifford. This book was published in 2002 by the and#8220;Sierra Club Books Publication Companyand#8221; and and#8220;definitelyand#8221; is heavily biased toward how such development and#8220;mayand#8221; change the mountain communities and the environment of the affected areas. Read it as a resource of information only and draw your own conclusions.

I am definitely in the middle in my feelings on this matter. I would like to see our ski areas improved, ski experiences enhanced, and a rekindling of our local economy. I would like to see more jobs for our local population, and dollars pour into our communities. I am not opposed to good and#8220;planned development,and#8221; nor developers and investors making financial rewards for their risks and efforts.

I do, however, have questions and concerns revolving around whether such development can be a win/win for us all. I certainly hope so, and I am definitely staying and#8220;cautiouslyand#8221; optimistic.

Notoriety that I find hard to believe (or do I?): In the October 28, 2011 issue of and#8220;The Wall Street Journal,and#8221; Truckee-Nevada County CA was ranked number 9 out of 10 of the MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES in the country. Apparently living cost analyzes were made for 309 cities across the country which included Truckee.

How Truckee would even be included in such an analysis is beyond me considering the other and#8220;majorand#8221; cities that were sighted in the article and what I would presume would be the costs of living, income brackets, etc. in those areas

The 8 cities above us included New York (Manhattan), New York (Brooklyn), Honolulu, San Francisco, New York (Queens), San Jose, Stamford CT, and Washington, D.C.!

Regardless of whether we should have been included, it does seem to point out that the costs of our infrastructure, utilities, gasoline, goods, services, etc. are definitely higher than many areas of our country and apparently have been recognized (by someone) as such.

Celebrate the Christmas Season and support our local Youth: The Truckee Optimist Club will begin their annual Christmas tree sales on Saturday afternoon, November 26.

The tree lot will feature locally cut Red Fir, and Noble and Grand Fir trees shipped fresh from Oregon. With last yearand#8217;s wet winter, the quality of the trees this year should be great. All profits from the sale of the Christmas trees go directly to youth activities, programs and major scholarships of our local youth.

The location of the tree lot will again be at the Truckee Crossroads shopping center at the corner of Highway 89S and Deerfield Drive. For more information and hours of operation go to or call 530-559-1466. Thanks in advance for your support.

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee.

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