No business like snow business: Bluebird forecast doesn’t darken locals’ outlook |

No business like snow business: Bluebird forecast doesn’t darken locals’ outlook

Jenny Goldsmith / Special to the Sun A group of skiers and riders takes a quick break between runs Wednesday at Northstar California.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; The local seven-day forecast may be boasting blue skies and a breeze, but the numbers look good for Tahoe-area resorts and retail businesses who report they are not feeling discouraged by the lack of flurries.andamp;#8220;Any snow before Christmas is always a bonus,andamp;#8221; said Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s Skis andamp; Boards. andamp;#8220;Everybody thinks it’s going to be another huge winter, and people are all pretty excited.andamp;#8221;The buzz around last year’s epic La Nia winter is definitely generating excitement and anticipation for this year’s storms as resorts, and hotels are already filling up for the holidays and beyond.andamp;#8220;All of our indicators are pointing toward a very positive winter season,andamp;#8221; said Andy Chapman, director of tourism of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. Chapman said he applies an occupancy forecasting tool used by 18 other ski resorts in the West to accurately predict the coming winter’s numbers as it relates to tourism and hotel bookings. andamp;#8220;We’re seeing a constant increase in growth,andamp;#8221; Chapman said. Reservations at the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee are nearly sold out for the holiday season, said owner Patty Baird.andamp;#8220;Early snow creates that excitement and gets people thinking more in advance with bookings for later months, but even without it right now, I still feel that the bookings are healthy and our numbers are showing that it’s going to be good year,andamp;#8221; Baird said.The only element that may negatively impact local resorts is this year’s shortened holiday calendar, Baird said.andamp;#8220;The placement of Christmas and New Year’s both being on a Sunday is probably taking a few heavy holiday days out,andamp;#8221; she said. andamp;#8220;Overall this year, based on our bookings, there doesn’t seem to be any less interest, and I think it’s still going to be a nice, healthy season for business.andamp;#8221;In addition to last year’s highly publicized snowfall, the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows merger is also creating hype for the approaching season.andamp;#8220;The response from our guests has been overwhelmingly positiveandamp;#8221; said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s president and CEO, in a statement. andamp;#8220;The opportunity to experience these two incredible mountains andamp;#8230; through one pass and one ticket has resonated deeply with our guests.andamp;#8221;For the first time in ski resort history, skiers and riders can now access Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows’ 6,000 acres, 44 lifts and more than 270 trails on one lift ticket or season pass. The two resorts will be connected by complimentary shuttles that will provide transportation between the two resorts, Wirth said. andamp;#8220;All of the larger scale marketing from Vail Resorts and KSL (Capital Partners) and the excitement with Squaw and Alpine merging is peaking interest,andamp;#8221; said Baird. andamp;#8220;The inquiries about all the changes happening keep coming in.andamp;#8221;While some skiers and riders are holding out for the first major snowstorm to blanket the Sierra Nevada, Boreal Mountain Resort reported strong numbers since opening Oct. 28, said Jody Churich, general manager for Boreal.andamp;#8220;From the looks of November, it’s been a really strong start for us. If the storms are placed at the right time, we will remain really optimistic,andamp;#8221; Churich said. andamp;#8220;The momentum so far is very strong, and we’re hopeful it’s going to be another great winter.andamp;#8221;Even as the forecast shows no signs of a looming storm, Churich said the conditions have provided Boreal with perfect snow-making temperatures.andamp;#8220;We just fired snowmaking back up and it looks like we have nice 4- to 5-day window to make snow which is exactly what was predicted,andamp;#8221; Churich said. Northstar California skiers and riders are not deterred by the 18-inch base, and many season passholders are hitting up the 11 groomed trails and 8 lifts that are now accessible, including Jonathan Daniel, a Reno resident who has been riding Northstar for four seasons.andamp;#8220;I needed to scratch the itch,andamp;#8221; said Daniel after a day of skiing at Northstar on Wednesday. andamp;#8220;The conditions were decent despite the lack of snow and there was a good amount of terrain open.andamp;#8221;

Holiday revenue was up this Thanksgiving season for some regional businesses and retail shops, with some store owners reporting record sales.andamp;#8220;It was our strongest year yet in our four years of growth, and more than a double digit increase from last year,andamp;#8221; said Charlie Riley, owner of the privately operated Sears Hometown Store in Truckee. andamp;#8220;We exceeded our wildest expectations.andamp;#8221;The Sears store, located in the Citizens Bank Plaza off Donner Pass Road, opened the doors at 4 a.m. to a line of hungry shoppers, he said.andamp;#8220;This end of town is becoming more and more of a shopping destination with the Sears store and now with Paco’s bike shop,andamp;#8221; Riley said. Paco’s Bike and Ski recently relocated to the plaza, and owner Paco Lindsay said the move proved to be rewarding. andamp;#8220;Our weekend numbers were very good and were above last year’s,andamp;#8221; Lindsay said, adding that the lack of a snowstorm over the holiday period contributed to higher sales. Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s Ski’s andamp; Boards across the region, agreed, attributing the number of shoppers to the bluebird forecast.andamp;#8220;People didn’t get much skiing in over Black Friday, but they were certainly in the stores,andamp;#8221; Wilderotter said. andamp;#8220;It was much busier than we expected.andamp;#8221;Recession or no recession, the numbers show this winter should size up to last year’s andamp;#8212; as long as Mother Nature cooperates, Wilderotter said. andamp;#8220;We’re snow farmers, and anytime it snows, business is good,andamp;#8221; he said. andamp;#8220;Even if it’s just adequate snow, we will be just fine.andamp;#8221;

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