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Several Lake Tahoe ski resorts closed due to coronavirus

Bill Rozak Special to The Union

There’s fresh feet of snow on the mountains at Lake Tahoe but much of that won’t be touched as many resorts have temporarily closed due to the coronavirus.

The news is devastating to skiers, snowboarders, resorts and communities all around the lake. The biggest winter storm is moving through the basin this weekend and the fresh snow would have drawn tens of thousands to the slopes and communities.

Vail Resorts, Alterra Mountain Company announced Saturday afternoon, then Sierra-at-Tahoe at late in the evening, that all have shuttered business operations due to the coronavirus.

Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge have also suspended operations until further notice. 

Homewood Mountain Resort remains open and received 35 inches of snow Saturday into Sunday. Diamond Peak Ski Resort also is open and got about 2 feet of snow. Tahoe Donner is reporting nearly 4 feet of new snow, according to onthesnow.com.

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Vail says it will close resorts for seven days starting Sunday, March 15, and then reassess while Alterra says its closure, that begins the same day, is indefinite.

The closure includes Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, and Northstar California and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows on the North shore. Alterra owns Squaw Alpine.

Vail and Alterra made the announcements Saturday afternoon within an hour of each other, and Sierra-at-Tahoe about 9 p.m., that they will not open for business starting Sunday, March 15.

Sierra-at-Tahoe plans to close for at least 72 hours.

Vail operates 37 resorts spread across 15 states and three countries and Alterra runs 15 resorts in North America.

For all companies, all lift operations, food and beverage, retail and rental services will be closed until further notice.

All the companies apologized to guests in their respective releases.

Vail plans to pay their scheduled employees during the closure.

Alterra said each resort will work directly with guests in canceling their visit and will provide refunds to those who have hotel and other bookings during this closure.

Sierra will also work with any customers who made reservations. Anticipating a high-volume if calls, customers who want refunds or a reservation change may email passoffice@sierraattahoe.com.

“We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries,” said Rusty Gregory, Alterra CEO in a press release. “I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this short notice will undoubtedly create. We look forward to welcoming you back to the mountains as circumstances improve.”

Sunday may be a powder day, but heavy snow and strong winds are forecast by the National Weather Service.

Bill Rozak is editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union based in South Lake Tahoe.


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