Thanksgiving Snowstorm Recap
As much as 6 feet of snow fell on Tahoe-area ski resorts during the seven days surrounding Thanksgiving. The National Weather Service reported 29 inches of snowfall at Northstar within 24 hours for a total of 73 inches; Squaw Valley recorded a total of 75 inches.
Other snow totals are listed below, information courtesy the NWS Reno station.
- Alpine Meadows Ski Resort: 14 inches in 24 hours; 59 inches total
- Sugar Bowl Ski Resort: 24 inches in 24 hours; 63 inches total
- Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort: 17 inches in 24 hours; 63 inches total
- Kirkwood Ski Resort: 46 inches in 24 hours; 85 inches total
Back and Forth on Fire Hazard Parcel
Anonymous constituents from Soda Springs reached out via email to Nevada County Supervisor Richard Anderson about fire hazard mitigation needed on a local parcel, claiming an unpermitted wood business, spill-prone 250-gallon fuel tank, and numerous cords of wood. “This unpermitted business, fuel storage and equipment storage has been allowed to go on with impunity despite five years of repeated written and verbal reports…,” stated the email. Included in the email chain was director of California’s Forest Management Task Force Jennifer Montgomery, who expressed concern and encouraged a response from Anderson, who replied to her satisfaction.
Nevada County Code Enforcement staff stated in regard to the complaint that mention of the leaking storage container and equipment were unfounded post-inspection. Staff will be reaching out to the property owner to discuss the likelihood that the property is over their allowable wood storage limit per the Soda Springs Area Plan.
“Regarding fire risk, due to the property out of compliance with wood storage limits, I would not feel comfortable stating there is no elevated risk at this time,” wrote staff to Supervisor Anderson. “However, I do feel confident that there are no additional risks from improper fuel storage or leaking heavy equipment.”
Carbon Monoxide Close Call
The family of actress Anna Faris, visiting Tahoe for the Thanksgiving holiday, fell ill to carbon monoxide in varying degrees shortly after arrival. They attributed the sudden onset of their illness to altitude sickness. Hospital staff identified CO poisoning in two initial family members and alerted the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. With 11 patients at risk still in the vacation home rental, crews from multiple stations responded. Two additional patients were transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, and nine other patients were treated at the scene.
The maximum recommended indoor CO level is 9 parts per million. Upon arrival, emergency personnel determined the home was reading as high as 55 ppm, even with windows and doors open for ventilation. The home was not equipped with CO alarms. Faris tweeted on Nov. 29, “I’m not quite sure how to express gratitude to the north Lake Tahoe fire department — we were saved from carbon monoxide — it’s a stupidly dramatic story but I’m feeling very fortunate.”
Placer Receives Funding for Power Shut-off Response
The state of California allocated Placer County’s Office of Emergency Services approximately $452,000 to help respond to local impacts from the public safety power shutoffs. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to sign an agreement with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to accept the funds and the conditions of their use.
The allocation is part of a one-time appropriation of $75 million to fund the Local Government Public Safety Power Shutoff Resiliency Program, which was established by Gov. Gavin Newsom in response to the numerous power outages in October. The grant is intended to support state and local government efforts to protect public safety, vulnerable populations and individuals, as well as improve resiliency in response to utility-led power shutoffs. The state money is intended to cover the county’s eligible program costs from July 1, 2019 through October 2022.
Tahoe to Host U.S. Moguls Freestyle Championship
U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced a two-year agreement with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows to host the U.S. Freestyle Moguls Championships for March 21-22, 2020 and tentatively for March 20-21, 2021. The event brings the nation’s top freestyle moguls skiers together for two days of competition in moguls and dual moguls events. National team members and divisional athletes will face off on the renowned Red Dog ski run to compete for U.S. titles. U.S. Ski Team members Jaelin Kauf and Jesse Andringa will both look to defend their double titles of current reigning 2019 moguls and dual moguls national champions.
Reducing Nevada’s Wildfire Risk
The Office of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized in November an agreement that calls on state and federal agencies to increase their collaborative efforts to reduce the risk and impacts of catastrophic wildfire. Through the Nevada Shared Stewardship Agreement, the agencies will jointly identify priority landscapes, coordinate investments, and carry out projects that improve the health and productivity of forest, rangeland, and wildlife habitat, prioritizing investments for the greatest impact. The goal is to achieve landscapes that are more resistant and resilient to wildfire and other disturbances for the
benefit of Nevada’s citizens and wildlife.
TART Expands Local Route Service
Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit expanded service on the Truckee Local Route as of Nov. 18, with service now being offered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Truckee’s Dial-a-Ride will offer the same service hours as the local route. The Dial-a-Ride service is available within Truckee to seniors, persons with disabilities and the general public. ADA certified passengers ride fare free. The Truckee local route will also continue to be fare free. TART’s winter services begin Dec. 12 with a new service starting — Truckee TART regional winter night service — operating until 11 p.m. in and around Truckee with connections to Squaw Valley, Northstar, and the North Shore night bus service.
Lily Lake Trail Meets Campaign Goal
Earlier this year, the planned 2.1-mile multi-use Lily Lake Trail, designed to provide new access to Fallen Leaf Lake and Desolation Wilderness, faced a $75,000 funding deficit. The nonprofit Tahoe Fund mobilized its supporters and secured funding commitments from Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise, the Mathman family, and other contributors to ensure the trail can be completed next summer by the U.S. Forest Service and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association. Completion of the trail is expected late 2020. The Tahoe Fund recently issued its annual call for environmental improvement projects. Organizations can submit projects for consideration by Jan. 31, 2020 at tahoefund.org/challenge
Strategy to Restore Lake Tahoe Basin
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership has released a strategy to restore forest and watershed health across 60,000 acres of federal, state, local, and private lands on the West Shore of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The new Landscape Restoration Strategy will also help protect West Shore communities from the threat of catastrophic wildfires.
Placer Approves Rules for Vacation Rentals
New regulations for vacation rentals in eastern Placer County will take effect in January. The ordinance is intended to strike a balance of reducing neighborhood nuisances like noise and parking issues related to vacation rentals without undermining the market for this important guest accommodation. Among its key provisions, the ordinance establishes a new permitting requirement to operate a residence as a vacation rental property. The new permits would not be required for more traditional lodging types like hotels or timeshares, or homes within resorts that are managed through a resort management company. Such regulations include quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., requirement to provide bear bins for garbage, occupancy limits, and fire safety.
With an overwhelming majority of vacation rental properties located in the North Lake Tahoe region, the ordinance applies only to properties above 5,000 feet in elevation.
Free Public Transit is Imminent
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a program that will offer free fares for Tahoe/Truckee Area Regional Transit bus routes in eastern Placer County. The program will be a two-year pilot and is expected to start as early as December, utilizing up to $500,000 in allocated transient occupancy tax funds. However, the county’s cost is expected to be approximately $250,000 annually. About 30% of current fare revenue, or $125,200 per year, is collected from resorts that pay fares for their employees. The proposal for free transit asks for a continued commitment from the resorts to maintain the same level of funding. In order to achieve consistency with free transit service provided within the Town of Truckee, the program would extend the service to Highway 89 and Highway 267 routes within the town boundaries. Truckee has proposed to pay Placer County for those fares, estimated at $21,000.
$290,000 to Local Charitable Foundations
The Martis Camp Community Foundation has awarded $290,000 in grants to Truckee/North Tahoe charitable organizations in its 2019 competitive grant cycle. The grants were typically in the $3,000 to $10,000 range. Nearly 40% of this year’s grantees (including Achieve Tahoe, KidZone Museum, and Truckee Bike Park) are first-time recipients.
Board Supports Housing Trust
A proposed framework for a new private housing trust in Placer County received unanimous support from the Placer County Board of Supervisors, moving forward a critical initiative to increase the supply of local affordable housing. Led by the North State Building Industry Association, forming the independent nonprofit trust is intended to encourage contributions from private, public, and nonprofit partners to help accelerate housing construction.
Main Image Caption: MOGULS DOIN’ MOGULS: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will host the 2020 and 2021 U.S. Moguls Freestyle Championships. Photo courtesy Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows