What lies ahead for Sierra-at-Tahoe remains to be seen. What is definitive concerning the venerable Tahoe ski resort is it won’t be offering typical terrain to skiers and snowboarders for the 2021-22 season.
Sierra-at-Tahoe has stated it will not be able to open its full mountain this season and will limit the available terrain due to damage caused by the Caldor Fire in late August.
As of mid-October, the resort still isn’t willing to announce an opening day.
“Our opening timeframe for the 2021/22 season is still unknown. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in order to offer you the quality ski experience you have come to expect from Sierra,” Sierra-at-Tahoe officials said on social media last week. “We are hopeful to have more clarity on an estimated timeframe for opening the resort in the coming weeks.”
Located off Highway 50, approximately 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe and contained within the Eldorado National Forest, Sierra at Tahoe opened in 1947 and has produced several Olympic gold medalists, including snowboarder Jamie Anderson. The resort was previously called Sierra Ski Ranch until it was sold in 1993.
The Sierra-at-Tahoe workload right now is daunting. It includes evaluating the damage to trees throughout the resort property, particularly those along ski trails and lift lines.
The resort continues to repair chairlifts that were impacted, while simultaneously navigating a challenging global supply chain that is slowing the recovery progress.
In the days following the dangerous Caldor Fire, Sierra-at-Tahoe has partnered with the United States Forest Service, arborists, engineers and inspectors.
“Some of the lifts are damaged. Many of the trees are damaged and they have to make sure that they are OK – not burned on the inside – and that they are safe,” said South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tamara Wallace.
AVAILABLE TERRAIN: Based on initial assessments, Sierra-at-Tahoe says the trails and area accessed by the West Bowl Express lift won’t be available this winter.
In addition, many of the in-bound tree skiing areas – such as Jack’s and Avalanche Bowl – will likely be closed for the season.
Grandview Express’ haul rope, which suspends the ski lift’s chairs, was damaged during the fire and a replacement cable is currently in production in Switzerland. There is no estimated date for access to this lift.
While the resort and many of its buildings appeared to be spared after the fire rampaged through the area, where it destroyed hundreds of homes, officials say inspections of the resort have revealed severe damage to trees and chairlifts.
Sierra-at-Tahoe and businesses throughout the entire South Lake Tahoe area have suffered since the fire threatened to destroy the region.
“The loss to the economy is real. The economic loss is estimated to be about the $100-million range for the Caldor Fire,” Wallace said.
SEASON PASS UPDATE: The upcoming season pass will also be valid to skiers and riders for the entire 2022-23 winter season.
The program protects the 2021-22 season pass and the next winter season – as soon as Sierra-at-Tahoe is able to open parts or all of the mountain.
The resort says it will honor a refund for all season pass products, no questions asked.
Sierra-at-Tahoe urges pass holders to check their email for options related to the 2021/22 season pass.