Storm, snowmaking help rev up snowmobiling businesses at Lake Tahoe |

Storm, snowmaking help rev up snowmobiling businesses at Lake Tahoe

Bill Rozak
A snowcat makes a track for snwomobiles on the property near MontBleu.

While the mid-week storm that cruised through South Lake Tahoe Wednesday morning didn’t dump much snow, it was enough to kick-start another snowmobiling business.

Tahoe Snowmobiles opened last week near MontBleu in Stateline and on Thursday, Dec. 21, Lake Tahoe Adventures received approval from the U.S. Forest Service to open Friday, Dec. 22, for the 2017-18 season.

“That storm, that’s what helped get us open,” said Tina Makinen, who has owned the business with her husband, Ari, for over 30 years.

The Snowmobile Center at Zephyr Cove Resort hopes to open in January after canceling all tours through December due to lack of snow.

 Lake Tahoe Adventures is already booked for the next couple of days and customers this year will get to ride all new snowmobiles. The business originally started with six machines and now has over 100 that they use in Hope Valley.

“We do anything we can to get open to offer something for South Lake Tahoe,” Makinen said. “People get upset because they have already made their airline and hotel reservations. We then approach Christmas and there’s not much snow, they get mad and can’t change plans.”

Zachary Gordon has been running the operation for Tahoe Snowmobiles for about 12 years. They opened one of their three locations last weekend near MontBleu. The temperatures were perfect at lake level for making snow leading up to opening and Gordon and his crew took advantage, blowing 4 to 6 feet-tall white whales of snow overnight.

A snowcat makes about a half-mile trail and also builds a slope for tubing. They also have snowmobiling operations at Lake Tahoe Golf Course and at Tahoe Paradise Golf Course in Meyers.

The MontBleu track has 18 snowmobiles that can all run at the same time. Two people can rent them for 30 minutes and tubes can be rented by the hour.

“We’ve been really fortunate the last week or so with the weather at the lake level,” Gordon said before opening last weekend. “We’ve been making a lot of snow.

It gives people an option, with the low snow year so far, to go sledding and tryout snowmobiles. It has taken a lot of work, time and money to get it going, but hopefully we’ll have something to offer for the community. Lots of people come up here for the holidays and they’ll be wondering what to do, and there’s no snow to sled.”

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