My View: Spring has sprung at Tahoe — and that’s great for our economy
Out of nowhere spring decided to hit us. With temperatures rising and the huge piles of snow in my yard melting, I can almost see, and feel, the summer. It seemed to happen quickly, as it usually does in the mountains.
One day you are shoveling 3 feet of show, the next you are searching for your sunscreen and T-shirts.
As our mountains begin to thaw and our trails begin to dry we are certainly moving into the next season. I am looking forward to being able to get out and go for trail runs and hang out on the beaches and water that makes this area so special.
From a business perspective, I can only hope that we have as great of a summer as our winter turned out to be. The Truckee-North Lake Tahoe region has had a great start to the year. I think this is likely the first great start to a year since the start of the great recession.
Back then, our region got hit with a double whammy, a one-two punch that prevented our market from realizing our potential over the last couple years — a recession and a drought. It is nearly impossible for a tourism-based market that is reliant on water and snow to be successful when nothing falls from the sky. That excuse is now out the window.
Luckily, this year has been different, due to the fact that we actually had a winter. With Squaw Valley staying open until the end of May, and the other ski resorts extending their season, as well as the amazing jumps that we have seen in home buying and real estate prices, we are in a great position as we move into the next phase of 2016.
This has been driven by our strong visitation over the last season with more and more people staying overnight at our local hotels and vacation rentals. I can say from the numbers I see, and my own experience on the mountains, that this was a busy winter. While it may have caused some ire and some frustration when it came to getting around town or shopping at the grocery store — especially on the weekends — it also drove our local economy.
Every business in a resort town like ours rides these ups and downs. When there are people visiting our market we have the potential for growth. We have the ability to help them have a good time while they are here and by doing so help ourselves to keep them happy and entertained.
As we look to the summer, there is a lot to be optimistic about. With development continuing in Reno and continued increases in revenues out of Silicon Valley we are moving ahead at a rapid pace. Summer has long been our busiest season. With the improvements to the water level and the improvements to the market we should see that trend continue.
For the local businesses in town, we must strive to help increase our ability to attract people to the storefronts, restaurants and events. We can’t just sit in our offices and count our blessings for a strong winter, now we need to capitalize on what will be a strong summer.
Our team at the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza has been working on our summer projects for the last couple months now, highlighted by summer edition of Tahoe Magazine.
That is one of the interesting things about our business — we are always a day, and in some cases, a season ahead. That is what it takes to put together an interesting magazine, newspaper or website. If your game is content and marketing, then you must operate in the future.
What will this summer hold? Well I hope it will be one to remember. We should continue to see the growth in our local economy as more and more visitors and second-home owners flock to our beautiful region. For all of us who call the region home, that should translate to more jobs and better opportunities for all of us.
We can’t expect all of that to just fall in our laps, though. It will take hard work and focus to capture the potential in the market and to drive traffic to our storefronts and businesses.
We have a lot going for us this year — a solid national economy, continued improvement to our regional economy, and more water than we have had in the last few years. Let’s make this summer the best it can be.
Ben Rogers is the co-general manager and advertising director of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.