Opinion: We at Tahoe must work together, embrace change to find solutions
August 23, 2016
I grew up in the ski industry, so when it came time to decide what I wanted to do as an "adult," my choice was clear. I wanted to work at a ski resort.
In 2008, with a dream and a half packed Subaru, I made the trek to Lake Tahoe from New York to wrap up my bachelor's degree at Sierra Nevada College. I got a job at Squaw Valley as a lift ticket checker. It was my first winter in California and it officially solidified my love affair with this mountain.
Fast forward to 2016, and I am still very much in love with this mountain. I still work at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and while I am passionate about my job, my favorite part about living and working in North Lake Tahoe are the people that make up this community.
The sunny summers and epic winters are simply the cherry on top. This community is my extended family. Seeing familiar faces at the grocery store, on hikes and chairlifts, and at my favorite happy hour spots, gives me so much gratitude and love for this place I call home.
Today, the resort is at a critical time in its long-standing history. It is managed by a resort owner who recognizes the vision the resort's founders had to make it a destination resort, is willing to invest in its future and the long-term success of our region. As can be expected with any project, parts of this community are in support of the redevelopment and others against it.
Although I am an employee of the resort, I have never felt pressure by resort management to speak in support of the proposed redevelopment. However, after listening to and evaluating comments from both sides, I believe that the current Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan is a good plan, and the right one for Squaw Valley. To ensure a sustainable future for this resort, our community and even the ski industry, I believe Squaw Valley must evolve.
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My hope is that we can be a community that respects each other and differing opinions. Regardless of viewpoints, we are all a part of this community. It is imperative that we come together to find and implement solutions to issues that affect our region.
As an example, it's important that we all recognize that traffic is a regional problem. It's not tied to one specific business or even one specific project. We live in an area people love to visit, and that relies on tourism to support our economy.
For as long as I have lived here, whether it snows or is a summer weekend, the roads have been busy during peak seasons and over holidays. What seems to have changed is the level or lack of tolerance by some local residents.
What if we were to all take a step back and look at how we travel to and from the ski resorts, Truckee or the Lake? Do you drive to Alpine Meadows alone at 8:53 a.m. on a powder day? I am certainly guilty of it.
What if we waited five minutes for our roommate to get their gear ready so we could drive together or made plans to carpool with friends in the area? What if we got out of our cars and took the bus to work or to play?
What if we biked to the beach or to other spots where we recreate? What if we were to put some responsibility back on ourselves and attempted to be the change we want to see in our community?
Is it possible to come together as a community to find solutions to improve traffic, transit and other issues? I certainly believe it is. Instead of pointing fingers, or blaming regional issues on a single redevelopment project or business, it's time for all of us to step up and take action.
It's time to put our own entitlement in check and start changing our regular routines. Let's figure this out together and demonstrate what a progressive, actionable community we can be.
Jackie Megnin is a Tahoe City resident and the Web & Social Media Manager at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.