Community remembers longtime local and Northstar forerunner Robert Tonini |

Community remembers longtime local and Northstar forerunner Robert Tonini

Special to the Sun
Robert (Bob) Tonini

TRUCKEE, Calif. –A member of the Truckee community since birth, Robert (Bob) Tonini was recently remembered by friends and family as a quiet, gentle, caring person who was instrumental in the early development of Northstar, and not above pulling a practical joke from time to time.

Having had a hand in the construction of most of the ski runs in the early days of Northstar, Tonini worked on the development of the Backside lift, ski trails and roads, and was part of the team responsible for the installation of the snowmaking system, Rendezvous and Echo lifts, and the Big Springs Express Gondola sight line.

From development of early subdivision lots, to the golf course and the mountain, Tonini worked almost everywhere at Northstar. Former Northstar general manager Hank Schwarz said Tonini was an “artist with a bulldozer.”

Tonini cut and shaped all of the sand traps on the meadow nine of the golf course, and co-workers Jack Archambault and Bob Hudson recalled Tonini as “an expert on all of the projects he worked on.” Crew members couldn’t believe how he handled a D-6 cat within the small confines of the sand traps. According to Archambault and Hudson, “most cat operators could not have done this with a smaller cat.”

Mentored and trained by Tonini, Mike Iman and several others who worked alongside him mentioned that big rocks seemed to disappear when Tonini was on the project. One thought was that he took them home with him!

Tonini was honored in the 80s with a ski run named after him off East Ridge, near the Rendezvous ski lift.

Bob Tonini passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family, with his dogs by his side on Oct. 21, 2012.

Bob was born to Elden and Olympia Tonini on Nov. 7, 1935, and raised in what is now known as the Old Tonini house on West River Street in Truckee. Bob lived and worked all of his life in Truckee, and is survived by his loving wife Doc Tonini, his children, grandchildren, and great-grand child.

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