News Briefs

Palisades Tahoe Ski Patrollers Unionize 

OLYMPIC VALLEY

After a months-long, worker-led organizing effort, 70% of eligible ski patrollers at Palisades Tahoe submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board requesting an election for union representation. They have also asked Palisades Tahoe management for voluntary recognition of their union. The Palisades Tahoe Professional Patrol Association is joining CWA 7781, the United Professional Ski Patrols of America. 

Ski patrollers at Palisades Tahoe hold an incredible amount of knowledge essential for safe day-to-day operations and world-class athletic events, such as the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, which the resort hosted this past weekend. However, the recent loss of journeymen patrollers coupled with high turnover and high cost of living have made it difficult for the patrol to retain the institutional knowledge needed to keep themselves and resort guests safe. 

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“We work at a big mountain with big consequences,” said Alex White, a sixth-year ski patroller. “Our directors and supervisors have done everything in their power to fight for us, but we believe it’s time to ensure our collective voices are heard by Alterra [Mountain Company, which owns Palisades] and are no longer treated like unskilled labor.”

Palisades Tahoe is the fourth ski patrol to file for a union election this ski season, marking a rapid increase in the rate of ski patrol unionization across the country. Notably, they are the second patrol to unionize under the ownership of Alterra, joining the Solitude Ski Patrollers Association. If successful, the Palisades Tahoe Professional Patrol Association would be the first unionized ski patrol in California.

~ Palisades Tahoe Professional Ski Patrol press release

Salmon Buying Club Gives Back

TAHOE/TRUCKEE

Slow Food Lake Tahoe and Yup’ik Girl Seafood (YGS) announced the 2024 Wild Alaskan Salmon Buying Club fundraiser, offering the community an affordable option for sustainably-sourced wild Alaskan salmon. 

“Sea to table has never been more flavorful and affordable! With each purchase, you’re supporting sustainable practices and our community’s well-being,” said Amy Fagel, vice president of SFLT. “A portion of proceeds goes towards SFLT’s community programs, including the Food Bank Garden located in the Truckee River Regional Park.” 

SUPPORT SLOW FOOD: Order from the Wild Alaskan Salmon Buying Club by March 31 supports Slow Food Lake Tahoe. Courtesy photo

In addition, the club is committed to donating a share of protein-rich salmon to local hunger relief agency Sierra Community House.

Fisher-woman and founder of YGS, Casey Coupchiak is a proud Yup’ik indigenous to Southwest Alaska. “We have a philosophy of ‘qigcikiyaraq,’ which best translates to English as ‘feeling of respect’ for salmon — salmon deserve to be appreciated and they can only be fully appreciated if they are well served and taken care of from a source that doesn’t do damage to the environment.” 

Salmon must be reserved by March 31 for pick up in Truckee on April 7.

For more information about Slow Food Lake Tahoe and the Salmon Buying Club, visit slowfoodlaketahoe.org.

~ Slow Food Lake Tahoe press release

TTUSD to Host TK and Kinder Preview Nights 

TRUCKEE

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is hosting six transitional kindergarten and kindergarten preview nights from April to May (see graphic for specific dates). The informative series, led by TTUSD elementary school principals, provides families with the information they need to set their children up for success within the TTUSD school system in the 2024/25 school year.

Events are hosted at each elementary school within the district and will review what makes that school site unique to the district. Additionally, families will receive information on the enrollment process, the free meal program for all students, and how to apply for bus transportation services. 

Since TTUSD is an open-enrollment district, families are able to apply to any school within the district that best benefits their students’ needs. Therefore, families are invited to attend as many of the preview nights as they’d like since all schools are a possibility for their students. 

Additional details on enrollment choices, the lottery system, and event dates can be found at ttusd.org/kinderpreview

All events will have interpretation services in Spanish, and some will include on-site childcare services. 

~ TTUSD press release

Good Morning Truckee to Provide Developments Updates

TRUCKEE

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce Good Morning Truckee presentation Hot Developments — Transforming Spaces, Elevating Community will take place March 19 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Truckee Town Hall in the Town Council Chambers.

Aimee Schaller, president of Cross Family Holding, will speak about the Old Lumber Yard Project. Jon Mitchell, director of capital projects from Tahoe Donner, will discuss the construction of the new ski lodge. Heidi Volkhardt Allstead will provide an update from Tahoe Truckee Workforce Housing Agency. The League to Save Lake Tahoe will be joining for the new nonprofit highlight at the end of the program.

Good Morning Truckee is offered in person and recorded for viewing later. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. Tickets are $10 for Truckee Chamber members and $15 for the public and include a continental breakfast and coffee donated by Mountain Brew.

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

UC Davis TERC Educational Exhibits

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

A partnership between the North Tahoe Chamber and the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) has resulted in a new opportunity to experience popular exhibits designed to educate the public about the Lake Tahoe environment and destination stewardship concepts. Now featured in the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in Tahoe City, four interactive exhibits offer information about microplastics in the Tahoe environment, the watershed, and what makes Tahoe unique.

“The visitor center has always been a place for people to seek out information, and these add new interactive opportunities to help teach people how to care for Tahoe,” said Kimberly Brown, North Tahoe Chamber executive director. “These new exhibits will provide an engaging way to understand what makes Tahoe unique and will hopefully encourage people to take an active role in its stewardship.”

GET EDUCATED: Interactive exhibits at the Tahoe City Visitor Center educate visitors about local stewardship. Photo courtesy North Tahoe Chamber

Exhibits include an interactive microplastics display and a “sandbox” that gives visitors the tactile experience of creating a watershed and understanding how it works. A touchscreen display features Tahoe in Depth with information about the weather, lake conditions, activities, river conditions, and more. The video exhibit offers educational videos produced by UC Davis related to the Lake Tahoe environment. Video topics include:

  • Lake Tahoe in Depth
  • Mapping Change in Sierra Nevada Forests
  • Underwater Lake Tahoe
  • What Makes Lake Tahoe Unique?
  • Embark on the UC Davis Research Vessel
  • Changes in Our Watershed
  • What Lives in Lake Tahoe?
  • The Impacts of Invasive Species
  • The Big Story Behind the Tiniest Particles
  • The Future of Tahoe Forests

Residents and visitors are invited to experience the exhibits by stopping in to the visitor center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or attending the free community open house event on March 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. as part of the Snowfest celebration.

~ North Tahoe Chamber press release

Tahoe Fund Seeks Artists

TAHOE CITY

The Tahoe Fund and USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit announced a call for community-based artists to beautify the blank interiors of the restrooms at the Stateline Fire Lookout Trail in Crystal Bay, the Logan Shoals Vista Point on Tahoe’s East Shore, and the Tallac Historic Site on the South Shore.

“We are excited to rally the creativity of our local artist community,” said Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. “By painting murals on the walls inside the restrooms, we hope to inspire people to take better care of these spaces and, by extension, the Tahoe environment.”

Paint for each mural will be supplied by Kelly Brothers Painting. 

Artists interested in submitting a proposal for consideration will need to do so through this Google form time-stamped no later than 6 p.m. on March 29. Artists will be judged and selected by the Tahoe Fund, LTBMU, and select community members in April. Mural installation will occur in May 2024, weather permitting.

Learn more about the project and submission criteria at tahoefund.org/paintamural.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

TRPA Releases Draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

LAKE TAHOE

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is encouraging public review and feedback on key transportation plans to improve Lake Tahoe’s bicycle and pedestrian system and encourage public involvement in transportation improvements. The Active Transportation Plan focuses on connecting all methods of travel that do not rely entirely on a car, like walking, biking, and rolling.

Transportation impacts are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and a major source of nitrogen pollutants at Lake Tahoe. Excess nitrogen feeds the growth of algae and harms the lake’s famed clarity. Reducing vehicle use and improving safety in the Tahoe Basin is a top priority for TRPA, communities, and partner agencies, according to the agency.

TRPA encourages the public to review the draft 2024 Active Transportation Plan at trpa.gov/atp. Submit comments by 12 p.m. March 15 to Ryan Murray at rmurray@trpa.gov, or (775) 589-5244. The final plan is scheduled to be presented to the TRPA Governing Board for potential adoption at its March 27 meeting.

CLEARED PATH KB: A walker and canine companions use a cleared path in Kings Beach to get to and from shopping and services. Photo courtesy Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

TRPA has also released its draft Public Participation Plan for public comment. The agency places a high value on public participation in planning and decisions. Specifically in transportation planning, the draft Public Participation Plan outlines key decision points to consult with affected communities, partner agencies, and Tribal governments. Submit comments by April 5 to Kira Richardson at krichardson@trpa.gov, or (775) 589-5236. Staff is scheduled to present the final plan to the TRPA Governing Board for potential adoption at its April 24 meeting.

The agency has recently advanced a number of transportation strategies that integrate into the larger Regional Transportation Plan update that begins this year:

~ TRPA press release

Traffic Mobility Projects Receive Funding

TAHOE CITY

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved additional funding totaling nearly $2.8 million for expanded mobility options in North Lake Tahoe.

The North Lake Tahoe Workforce Vanpool Program received $602,754 to expand transportation options for local workers commuting from outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The service comes as part of a partnership with the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association.

The Resort Triangle Transportation Plan received $1,425,000 to support continued TART Connect services as the county works to provide year-round service with more consistency.

The county also received approval for funding to expand the Grove Street parking lot and improve traffic circulation and parking availability in downtown Tahoe City. The expansion is part of the larger Downtown Tahoe City Access Improvements project led by the county’s Department of Public Works.

In addition to the $759,000 in TOT funding, the board approved a contract with the NTCA to receive an additional $340,000 in Tourism Business Improvement District funds for the Tahoe City Downtown Access Improvements project. The board also approved a contract to receive $500,000 in TBID funding for the county’s Lease to Locals program, a long-term rental incentive program to increase the supply of housing available to local workers in the region. Revenue from the TBID is generated by day and overnight visitors through purchases at activity providers, restaurants and retailers and reinvested locally.

Learn more about TOT funding and projects in North Lake Tahoe by clicking here.

Learn more about TOT-TBID Dollars At Work here.

~ Placer County press release

North Tahoe Chamber Relaunches with New Direction

NORTH TAHOE

The North Tahoe Chamber, created in 1954, has relaunched with a renewed strategic direction to cultivate collaborative partnerships, serve as an engaging catalyst, and drive economic impact. Additionally, an expanded offering will provide local businesses even greater value and support through membership. 

The chamber’s priorities were developed in coordination with the volunteer Business and Chamber Advisory Committee, which comprises local business leaders. Additionally, the chamber, NTBA, and TCDA surveyed the business community to further validate the work of the chamber and the collaborative work among the three organizations. Priorities include addressing the most critical economic challenges facing the region as noted in the six core areas of work.

The goal of the North Tahoe Chamber is to increase value and drive economic success for businesses and the local community through coordinated efforts that include business services, community vitality, economic development, advocacy, visitor engagement, and workforce development.

In addition to these priorities, the North Tahoe Chamber has partnered with the NTBA and the TCDA to direct their collective resources toward a body of work that complements the strategic priorities effectively and efficiently on behalf of local businesses. Here’s how businesses benefit:

  • A single membership now provides access to the robust services, resources, and benefits previously offered by each of the partner organizations.
  • Coordinated communication strategies including a shared event calendar, comprehensive community news updates, monthly newsletters, blogs, and more.
  • Implementation of effective strategies that serve the business and local community.
  • Continuous progress tracking to ensure strategies and outcomes align with key priorities.

The North Tahoe Chamber, NTBA, and TCDA each receive the majority of their funding from the TOT-TBID Dollars At Work program.

Learn more about the North Tahoe Chamber and how to become a member at northtahoechamber.com.

~ North Tahoe Chamber press release

U.S. Athlete Podiums at Stifel Palisades Tahoe World Cup

OLYMPIC VALLEY

At the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup on Saturday, Feb. 25, U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team athlete River Radamus of Colorado placed third in Giant Slalom, the first U.S. men’s tech podium since 2019. For every athlete, and especially the U.S. athletes, the crowd was electric and alive with cheering, which isn’t surprising seeing as Palisades Tahoe Cup brings the third largest audience on the Stifel World Cup circuit. Marco Odermatt of Switzerland placed first and Henrik Kristoffersen placed second. 

At the Sunday, Feb. 26 slalom race, U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Jett Seymour received the Stifel Bibbo Award for jumping from bib 39 to 15th place, also his best slalom result of the season. Austria’s Manuel Feller won first place, with French athlete Clement Noel coming in second and Germany’s Linus Straßer in third.

~ Sierra Demarest, special to Moonshine Ink 

Ski California Releases New Safety Video

PETALUMA

As part of its Mountain Safety Guide, Ski California released a video focused on deep snow safety, created to educate skiers and riders about the risks of deep snow immersion, how to avoid it, and what to do if you or someone you’re with becomes immersed.

“Ski California’s 36 member resorts in California and Nevada regularly see storm totals that are measured in feet, not inches,” said Mike Reitzell, Ski California president. “Our goal with this video, the fifth in our Mountain Safety Guide series, is to educate skiers and riders about what they need to do and be aware of to avoid deep snow immersion situations that can be life threatening.”

Snow immersion suffocation can happen when a skier or rider falls into deep snow or a tree well, cannot move, and suffocates. Tips for skiing and riding in deep snow include:

  • Always ski or ride with a partner and stay in control.
  • Avoid tree wells by looking at the open spaces between trees, not at the trees.
  • Keep your partner in sight and stay close enough to pull or dig out if either person falls.
  • Use safety equipment to minimize risks, including a helmet, fully charged phone with fast access to ski patrol’s number, beacon, and a whistle.

The Ski California deep snow video, produced by Generikal Design, features retired Olympian, World Cup Champion, and professional skier Travis Ganong and actual rescue video footage from Francis Zuber and Riley Flynn.

View the Ski California Mountain Safety Guide at safety.skicalifornia.org and take the quiz at the end for a chance to win an unrestricted 2024/25 Ski California Gold Pass, valid at 36 downhill and cross-country resorts in California and Nevada. Watch Ski California’s complete series of Mountain Safety Guide educational videos here.

~ Ski California press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Nevada County Officer Elected to Lead Statewide Organization 

NEVADA CITY

Nevada County Veterans Services Officer David West II has been elected president of the California Association of County Veterans Services Officers. 

The association is an organization of professional veterans’ advocates that helps the state’s 1.3 million veterans obtain benefits and services. Today, 56 of California’s 58 counties have county veterans services officers who advocate for veterans as well as their survivors and dependents. 

VETERAN ADVOCATE: David West II, a Nevada County veterans services officer, was elected president of the California Association of County Veterans Services Officers. His focus is on reducing veteran homelessness. Photo courtesy Nevada County

West, a former Marine sergeant who was homeless from 2003 to 2004 and slept on friends’ couches or in cars, said one of his top priorities as president is to reduce the number of homeless veterans in the state. One-third of all homeless veterans live in California. “This is personal for me,” he said. 

West’s other priorities are to reduce the number of veterans who are committing suicide (22 a day in the U.S.), to increase state funding for county veterans services officers, and to pass legislation protecting veterans from being charged for services that veterans services officers do for free. 

West served in the United States Marines from 1996 to 2001. He was named Marine of the Year for the 3rd Force Service Support Group in 1999. He began advocating for veterans in 2007 while attending Sierra College and helped develop a veterans resource center at the Rocklin campus that became a model for other college campuses across the nation. He worked at the Oakland regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration in Sacramento from 2008 to 2011. 

After working for a time in the oil industry, he became Nevada County’s veterans service officer in 2018. 

West has earned a bachelor of science degree in human services and a master of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix.

~ Nevada County press release

Business Briefs

Luggi Foeger Uphill/Downhill Festival Returns to Diamond Peak

INCLINE VILLAGE

Named in honor of Luggi Foeger, the founder and original general manager of Diamond Peak ski resort when it opened in 1966, the uphill/downhill festival is a family-friendly event that celebrates human-powered sports, mountain culture, local craft beer, and springtime in the Lake Tahoe region. This year’s event will be held on March 23 and 24.

Competitors race up the mountain using whatever human-powered method they prefer: skins, snowshoes, running shoes, etc., then ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or run back down to the finish line. Costumes are encouraged in all divisions, with prizes available. 

COSTUMES ENCOURAGED: Luggi Foeger Uphill/Downhill Festival participants enjoy a friendly competition of getting up the mountain in any way they can. Photo courtesy Diamond Peak

There will be backcountry/alpine-touring/SkiMo demo gear available to try at the resort on March 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., provided by Tahoe Mountain Sports.

On March 24, a 1-mile interpretive snowshoe hike and presentation about the local ecosystem will be provided by the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. 

While the focus of the festival is on getting up and down the mountain, the atmosphere in the base area will be festive, with spectators enjoying views, music, and food and drink specials on the outdoor sun deck.

Registration is open on Diamond Peak’s website here

Diamond Peak is actively recruiting volunteers to help ensure the races run smoothly. The resort is looking for course marshals, on-course photographers, and finish-line attendants and timekeepers on the afternoon of March 23. Reach out to marketing@diamondpeak.com if interested.

~ Diamond Peak press release

Sugar Bowl Resort’s Silver Belt Returns

NORDEN

Since it began 1940, the Silver Belt Classic has enticed Olympians, World Cup skiers, and thrill-seekers from around the globe to test their grit and skill as they expertly carved their way down the natural gullies and chutes at Sugar Bowl. This year, the Silver Belt returns March 29 to 31 to reimagine freeride competition entirely.

“Fifty athletes—from top ski pros to wild cards and local legends—will be invited to this athlete-judged, film-based event that includes two distinct concepts,” said Mike Jankowski, Sugar Bowl Resort’s executive director of sport. “We’ve designed this new format to highlight the creativity and athleticism of these competitors, and we are ready to host the action!”

REIMAGINING THE FREERIDE COMP: Skier Gustav Legnavsky shows off his skills at Sugar Bowl Resort. Photo courtesy Jacob Banta

Day one will feature a freeride session where athletes will use all of the natural terrain in the Silver Belt Gully to showcase their skills. Days two and three will introduce an all-new concept: ShapeShifter. This portion of the competition will require athletes to identify natural elements like hips, cliffs and spines to be shoveled, shaped, and shifted into new terrain features.

When the work is complete, the competition will resume, and the cameras will roll. Athletes will use this freshly sculpted canvas to push the progression of freeride competition, with the full athlete field ultimately determining who among their peers should take the Silver Belt top spot along with the cash prize.

Spectators are invited to visit the resort on any or all of the event dates to take in the action and enjoy live music, giveaways, demos, and more. Athletes interested in competing who want to be considered for a ski-only wild card slot can apply online at sugarbowl.com/silverbelt.

~ Sugar Bowl press release

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