The Plight Of The Weekend Skier

It was yet another über busy weekend. How many has it been in a row? I’m going to make a guess and say ever since mid-November. Have you looked at the forecast for this week? Snow is expected for Thursday and Friday, and a good amount of it. Then the weekend will be bluebird skies again. Can you guess what will happen next weekend? Then we drop into the February holiday season…oh boy.

We’ve mentioned several times through this season that Friday is the new Saturday, and that all weekends have become 3 day weekends. We discovered a new tool available from Google Maps that supports that idea. Similar to the way that Google crowdsources data to develop traffic maps, they apparently have been using that technology since 2015 to determine when popular attractions are most popular. Since that data has been collected, Friday appears to be just about as busy as Saturday at Alpine Meadows, even more busy than Sundays. For now, it only shows data during a business’ stated open times. We would expect that the bars start getting pretty tall around 7:30 am on weekends these days.

The most often proposed solution proposed is to just not ski on weekends. That might work out great if you have no job or have plenty of job flexibility. But for your typical family with kids, and parents with 9-5 jobs, it is not a real solution. Having just finished more than 30 years as a public school teacher, it is no picnic to miss a day of school – whether you’re sick or have powder fever, making lesson plans for a sub is more work than just going to school in the first place. While I am now free from that burden myself, my wife continues to teach. Since I enjoy skiing with her, I’ll continue coming to Alpine Meadows on weekends. Watching the interactions of families at Alpine Meadows for the different kids ski events this weekend was just awesome. The bringing together of families is what makes sliding on snow such an awesome sport.

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Something has to change, because people are beginning to joke about just throwing weekend slumber parties in Locker Room #3. While that might be fun for the first night, it is not a long term solution.

We’re just throwing out some ideas that have been popping up around here:

• Pass sales must be limited to some reasonable number that is supported by available parking and transportation. That does mean that pass prices would likely increase, as with any commodity that is available in a limited supply. It’s the way resorts have operated for years. Interchangeable passes between resorts also leads to a lot of unpredictability in the system, which makes parking and traffic management a major headache.

• No new construction should be approved that does anything to increase traffic in the area, until appropriate solutions to transportation issues can be resolved. The problem is that every developer promises that somehow their proposal will reduce traffic. Most of the time, it won’t, because people don’t stay in one place. Tahoe is an amazing place, and people want to explore.

• Some sort of workable public transportation system is needed and everybody needs to work together to make it happen. It just seems ludicrous that a huge transportation center was constructed at 64 Acres in Tahoe City, meaning that visitors have to drive past nearly every major resort to park their car and ride a bus. Unfortunately, every major ski area in North Tahoe is located in Placer County or the State of Nevada, and most of the traffic problems begin along Highway 80 in Nevada County. Squaw Valley, during the approval process for the Village project disavowed responsibility for solving the areas transportation problems. We all need to work together for real solutions.

We would love to hear your thoughts…


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