News Briefs

Hilaree Nelson Dies on Mount Manaslu 

TRUCKEE/ TAHOE

North Tahoe is grappling with the death of ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, 49, who died after summiting Mount Manaslu in Nepal earlier this week. Nelson, a Telluride, Colorado resident and mother of two sons, was on a skiing and climbing expedition with her life partner, Tahoe City resident Jim Morrison when, on Sept. 26, after summiting and preparing to ski down Manaslu. she was swept away by snow near the mountain peak.“I skied first and after a few turns, Hilaree followed and started a small avalanche,” Morrison, a construction business owner, explained on Instagram. “She was swept off her feet and carried down a narrow snow slope down the south side (opposite from climbing route) of the mountain over 5,000 [feet].” Search and rescue efforts were hampered by weather. Two days after the fall, searchers, including Morrison, discovered Nelson’s body among layers of snow and ice.Tributes and condolences have multiplied online and in person. Brendan Madigan, owner of Alpenglow Sports, expressed some of the grief.“We’ve lost a giant, a larger-than-life superhero, and there is a lot of collective heartbreak right now in every mountain community around the world,” Madigan wrote in an email to Moonshine Ink. “We were lucky enough to welcome Hilaree to our Winter Speaker Series on two separate occasions, as well as sit down with her for our podcast, Afterglow. In the process, she became a friend, as she inevitably did with everyone she touched. Everyone knows Hil’s superhuman accomplishments in the mountains, but we’ve lost a real gem of a human. Hilaree had a powerful energy that was tangible while in her presence. She exuded strength, compassion, and complete kindness. The mountain community has lost our captain, and the world is a lesser place without her in it.”

At 26,781 feet, Mount Manaslu is the world’s eighth tallest mountain. Nelson and Morrison were descending from its true summit, a spot some 20 feet higher than the turnaround points that most mountaineers accomplish. Shortly after the incident, an avalanche occurred lower on the mountain, injuring multiple climbers and killing a Nepali climbing guide, Anup Rai. Nelson and Morrison “were among 400 or so climbers to obtain permits to ascend the peak for the fall season—more than double the usual number for the mountain,” reported Outside.

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Nelson was considered one of the most accomplished ski mountaineers in the world. On his Instagram, Morrison wrote: “@hilareenelson is the most inspiring person in life and now her energy will guide our collective souls. Peace be with us all. Pray for her family and community which is broadly stretched across our planet. I’m devastated by the loss of her.”

~ LR

Fatal Collision at Construction Site 

CARNELIAN BAY

On Monday, Sept. 26, a 56-year-old female traffic control worker from South Lake Tahoe was killed when an oncoming vehicle failed to observe her while she was directing traffic in an active construction zone. The incident happened on State Route 28 at Sahara Road. 

The driver, Andrew Phillips, was driving his black 2021 Subaru Forester westbound when he entered the active construction zone, under one-way traffic control. 

“As Phillips approached the intersection of SR-28 at Sahara, he failed to observe a traffic control worker in the roadway, instructing traffic to move from the westbound lane to the eastbound lane,” stated the California Highway Patrol press release. “Due to Phillips’ level of intoxication, he was not able to slow or avoid the highway worker standing in the roadway.” The front of the Subaru collided with the worker, propelling her westward on SR-28. The highway worker succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on scene by North Lake fire personnel. 

After colliding with the worker, Phillips continued westbound and collided with a dump truck and excavator that were in active use at the job site. According to CHP, Phillips was subsequently arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and was booked at the Nevada County sheriff’s station in Truckee.

This traffic collision is still under investigation. CHP Truckee units, with the assistance of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, are handling the investigation. 

~ KM

Measure V Presentation

NEVADA CITY

The League of Women Voters of Nevada County will host public presentations on Measures V and W on Oct. 3, at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City.

Members of the league will provide a factual and unbiased review of Measure V from 5:30 to 6 p.m. If passed, the measure would levy a half-cent sales tax to raise funds for wildfire prevention, emergency services, and disaster readiness.

Questions from Nevada City residents can be submitted in advance to info@lwvnevadacounty.org.

Along with a presentation on Measure W, which is for Nevada City residents, the Measure V presentation can be seen in person or viewed live on Comcast and Suddenlink Channel 18, on the Nevada County media website, and the league’s Facebook page. 

~ League of Women Voters of Nevada County press release 

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Awards North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

On Sept. 19, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District was awarded as the administrative agency for a federal grant in the amount of $1,771,818.18. The Assistance to Firefighters program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

This is a regional grant administered by NLTFPD and will be divided between the Carson City Fire Department, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, East Fork Fire Protection District, and Smith Valley Fire Protection District. Each organization will be utilizing the grant to replace self- contained breathing apparatus equipment due to their fast-approaching operational life expectancy. The departments will soon be equipped with the most up-to-date safety features.

NLTFPD Chief Sommers commented, saying, “Regional cooperation through integrated communication, training. and equipment interoperability is a keystone in keeping our communities safe. This is an important step for a systems approach to protecting the areas we serve.”

~ NLTFPD press release 

Library Cards Issued to Placer County’s TTUSD Students

TRUCKEE/TAHOE

Every student in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District will be issued a new Placer County library card thanks to the Placer County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the new initiative at their meeting Tuesday in Auburn.

Beginning in the coming months, TTUSD students, kindergarten through 12th grade, will have access to Placer County library resources.

The program will serve as a pilot project as part of the Placer County Library System’s broader goal to issue a library card to every school-aged child in its service area.

Placer libraries offer a collection of over 320,000 items and more than 30 online databases and applications that support teachers, students and parents.

“This program will greatly reduce barriers to our students by granting access to everything our library system has to offer,” said Placer County Library Services Director Mary George. “Strengthening our partnership with educators will support our shared mission with schools to ensure all students have the resources needed to be successful.”

TTUSD, based in the town of Truckee, also serves the North Lake Tahoe communities of Kings Beach and Tahoe City, which include about 4,000 students.

~ Placer County press release 

Community Foundation Receives Funding From Cal Fire

TRUCKEE

In partnership with local fire districts and organizations, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation was awarded $1.9 million from the Cal Fire Wildfire Resilience Block Grant Program. With these committed funds, this pilot program assists private forested property owners with wildfire resilience efforts by providing technical and financial assistance for forest resilience projects. The program focuses on providing resources to private properties that are 3 acres or larger in size. 

The block grant will enable the formation of the Truckee North Tahoe Forest Management Program, allowing TTCF to provide both technical assistance and financial resources to qualifying private landowners to establish and implement forest management plans and forest health treatments in accordance with Cal Fire regulations. 

Along with stakeholder committee review, projects requesting funding or technical assistance will be prioritized with consideration of existing regional wildfire resilience and forest health plans.

To help support the implementation of the TNTFMP and to increase Forest Futures engagement in Community Wildfire Resilience programming, TTCF has hired a new program coordinator. Anne Graham joined the TTCF team on Aug. 29. Anne has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Santa Clara University and has served two AmeriCorps terms at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, as well as interned with the Truckee River Watershed Council.

~ Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation press release

Live Your Dream Scholarship for Women 

TRUCKEE

Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner’s Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women scholarship application is now open. Soroptimist has $4,000 available for women to improve their career opportunities through education or training. The program provides cash grants to women who are working to better their lives through additional schooling and skills training. The program has been helping women around the world since 1972.

To be eligible for the award, you must be a woman with primary responsibility for yourself and your dependents, be attending an undergraduate degree program or a vocational skills training program, and have financial need. 

Apply for a Live Your Dream Award at bit.ly/LYDA-apply

~ Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner flier

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

BRIDGET LEGNAVSKY: The new president and CEO of Sugar Bowl Resort. Courtesy photo

Bridget Legnavsky Named President and CEO Of Sugar Bowl Resort

NORDEN

Sugar Bowl Resort announced that Bridget Legnavsky has been named president and CEO of Sugar Bowl, effective Oct. 17. Following a six-month long talent search, Legnavsky was identified as the top prospect based on her experience and vision. She will work alongside the current president and CEO, Greg Dallas, as he transitions to a vice-chairman role focused on execution of the resort’s master plan.

Legnavsky has worked in the ski industry for over 30 years, starting as a ski instructor working at resorts across the globe. In 2014, she assumed the role of general manager at Cardrona Alpine Resort in her native New Zealand. While at Cardrona, the resort saw impressive growth in skier visits by shifting focus to terrain parks and a highly engaged workforce. In 2020, Legnavsky’s responsibilities were expanded to include oversight of a second resort, Treble Cone Ski Area. Most recently, she worked for RealNZ, the parent company of Cardrona and Treble Cone, as the chief experience officer while managing both ski areas. In addition to her role at the resorts, Legnavsky was heavily involved with the community focused on workforce strategy for New Zealand tourism, serving as deputy chair for a local college, board member for the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce. and was involved with multiple environmental initiatives around the country.

Legnavsky will move from New Zealand to the U.S. this fall with her husband, Peter, and two children, ages 16 and 12. A family engulfed in snowsports, Peter is an Olympic ski coach for their son Gustav, an Olympic freeskier in the halfpipe. Their daughter, Zora, is focused on ski racing and will attend the Sugar Bowl Academy this winter.

~ Sugar Bowl Resort press release

Business Briefs

Tahoe XC’s Electric Snowmobile Campaign 

TAHOE CITY

Tahoe XC is asking its community for help to collectively raise $10,000 towards an electric snowmobile. This campaign is a movement to actively engage our community and act upon our own environmental ethos. Tahoe XC is committed to practicing trail stewardship, reciprocity, and responsibility. 

For one month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the Tahoe XC community is asked to give $10,000 toward an electric snowmobile. “Generally speaking, human-powered recreation like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running, and mountain biking are inherently more environmentally friendly sports; and we would like to do our part to further reduce our impact on the environment,” says Tahoe XC Executive Director Ben Grasseschi. 

Read more about the fundraising campaign here

~ Tahoe XC press release

Liberty Bell Smart Home Acquires Alpine Electric

TRUCKEE

Smart Home Integrator Mark Buzzard, with Rancho Cordova and Truckee-based Liberty Bell Smart Home, has acquired Alpine Electric, Electrical Contractors, based in Truckee. Founded in 1991, Alpine Electric and its licensed electricians offer a variety of electrical services with a specialty in high-end residential new construction and remodel projects. Liberty Bell Smart Home offers peace of mind for the homeowner through fire and alarm monitoring, surveillance, and alerts, as well as audio/video smart home theater and media, indoors and outdoors. They also specialize in residential, luxury, and other high end projects. This acquisition will allow both companies to collaborate, and to streamline resources and services throughout the Tahoe region of California and Nevada.

Alpine Electric, founded in 1991 and purchased in 2022 by Mark Buzzard, will continue to operate under the Alpine Electric brand. Paul McMurchie, Alpine Electric president, is retiring. All current Alpine Electric staff are remaining in their individual roles to grow the company and expand into new markets.

Alpine Electric will continue to operate out of Truckee. Buzzard will assume the role of president, managing both companies with a total of 35 employees between each.

“This is an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with existing customers and expand into fun and exciting new projects,” Buzzard said in a statement. “I’m proud of the great work and reputations of both companies, and combining our teams is a smart way to capitalize on our strengths and offer more for our clients.”

~ Liberty Bell Smart Home press release

Released Today: Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche

NATIONWIDE 

This gripping account of the deadliest avalanche in US ski resort history opens this weekend across the nation. Click to watch the newly released trailer. The film is about the local ski resort Alpine Meadows.

OUT TODAY: Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche released in local theaters today. Courtesy graphic

In the early 1980s, the ski patrol at the Alpine Meadows resort were the undisputed gods of winter in the mountain hamlet of Lake Tahoe. For this group and the others caught up in these events, the innocent era of seemingly endless sun drenched powder and apres-ski parties would come to a sudden and harrowing close on March 31, 1982.

Over 15 feet of snow would fall at Lake Tahoe between March 27 and April 8, 1982 (which still ranks as the greatest single snowstorm total on record for this area). Given the avalanche danger, the ski patrol shut operations down on March 31, but that afternoon without warning, millions of pounds of snow would hurtle down the side of the mountain engulfing the resort’s base area and burying the parking lot. The sheer scale of the wreckage was staggering but for the patrol team, every passing second was precious, as it was soon determined that eight people were buried in the slide — co-workers, friends, family. 

Forty years have passed since this colossal weather disaster, with lives forever changed and the stories of that tragedy passing into local lore. BURIED captures the intense drama of that day, and the days of suspense, grief, and hope that followed along with the long legacy of post-traumatic stress on the survivors and community. The story is about the avalanche disaster and rescue, but it also explores the broader themes of trauma and mental health, resilience and healing, and ultimately about the relationship between humans and the forces of nature we seek to control. 

~ Greenwich Entertainment press release

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