In a season when Tahoe travel was not only difficult, but downright dangerous, local realtors managed to move more properties than they did during the dry winter of 2014/15. With the exception of Alpine Meadows, home sales at resort communities were as brisk or stronger than in that year of no snow, when images of skiers riding lifts over bare dirt were common.

Northstar leads the pack, with almost double the number of sales this year than during Q1 of 2015 (27 this quarter vs. 15 during the dry year). For many days of this season, the resort was so busy that skiers parked near Highway 267 to reach the slopes via shuttle.

Total sales at Northstar approached $23.3 million, with more than a quarter of properties changing hands in the Village at Northstar, where one 4-bedroom condo sold for almost $2 million. With its towering condo complexes and excellent snow removal, owners in the village not only enjoy underground parking, but easy access to the slopes and the après ski scene the village has become.


Squaw Valley Q1 sales were also close to double this year compared to the same period in 2015 (15 homes and condos sold so far this year, in contrast to just eight in 2015).

Among the ski areas, Alpine Meadows was the exception to the rule, with just one sale as of March 30, opposed to six for the same period in 2015.

Common sense would dictate that other neighborhoods did not fare well, for the sheer problem of access. Some decks collapsed under the weight of the snow, and other homes were so buried, it was often difficult for buyers to see or even imagine the backyard of a home they might like. (At one North Lake cabin my buyers wanted to see, the owner literally bolted the door until further notice due to record snow load.)

Despite road closures and downed power lines, Tahoe Donner saw 52 deals close so far this year (compared to 47 in Q1 2015). With many homes owned or leased to second homeowners, the association offered overnight parking and free shuttle service to guests unable to reach their own driveways. And its ski hill was so busy that it occasionally sold out to everyone but homeowners.

North Lake Tahoe also experienced very little difference between a dry and wet first quarter, with 43 sales this year, nearly the same number as the 40 in Q1 2015. West Shore, where some homes were without power for more than a week, did not fare so well.  Sales were at just 24 this year, below the 35 in 2015. Damaged power lines were to blame for the outages, with Liberty Utilities forced to employ helicopters to perform repairs in remote areas.

Martis Valley, home to the gated communities of Martis Camp, Lahontan, and Schaffer’s Mill, was a little slower this year than in 2015, when shoppers could still see the paver patios of the homes they were buying. Ten homes sold there in 2017 so far, seven of them in tiny Martis Camp, where the median sales price this year so far is just more than $3.6 million. What is true for the postman might well hold up as the new mantra for this fearless sales force: Neither snow, nor rain, nor avalanche, nor gloom of power outages stays these salesmen from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

~ Working both in California and Nevada allows Jackie Ginley to offer informed advice to clients interested in buying or selling not just their personal home, but also vacation homes and investment properties. Her website offers a free market analysis of your home and browsing of properties on both sides of the state line:


  • Jackie Ginley

    Jackie Ginley is a former journalist and Moonshine editor who shelved the pen in 2013 to pursue a career in real estate. With deep roots in Tahoe, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and après-everything with friends. Jackie lives in Truckee, and is currently building a home in Tahoe Donner.

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