It’s been just over a year since the Caldor Fire reached the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area in California, taking hold in the West Bowl before reaching the mountain’s front side. Barring one celebration weekend, the resort didn’t open at all during winter 21/22.
- Related: Sierra at Tahoe, CA, Shares Update on Post-Caldor Fire Restoration Project, Says Goal is to Reopen All 46 Trails By Next Season
80% of Sierra-at-Tahoe’s 2,000 acres suffered burn damage. Along with the vegetation devastation, the fire damaged the maintenance facility, five of the nine lifts and the magic carpet, and equipment like snowcats and snowmobiles. Luckily, firefighters were able to save the lodge and base area, but much of the area’s recognizable terrain and famous tree skiing was destroyed.
Since the fire, maintenance crews have spent the last 12 months cleaning the area up. This includes repairing multiple lifts where haul ropes, communication lines, and many other parts imperative for the lifts to properly function were damaged with the goal of getting skiers and snowboarders back to the resort this coming winter.
- Related: Feeling the Severe Economic Effects From the Sierra-At-Tahoe, CA, Caldor-Fire-Caused Season Closure
The rebuilding has been a collaborative process with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Work continues to remove burned and hazardous trees, widen trails, and build new lifts. It is estimated that the effort will cost in the tens of millions of dollars range. Visitors to the resort next season can expect a completely different experience than they have in the past. The landscape is forever changed, but the goal is to build a ski product that is world-class for the future.
Looking forward to this winter, Sierra-at-Tahoe offered this update on its website:
Gearing Up for a Winter Like No Other: Updates on Your Favorite Runs and Terrain at Sierra
With our latest updates of trees dropping and the daily changing landscape, some may still be wondering, ‘Is Sierra really going to open this winter?’. Our answer is: YES. We are on track for a full reopening of our 46-trail network this winter season. And we’ve got the stats to show it.
Below are key details, courtesy of the El Dorado RCD, that show exactly which runs have been completed. Now, what does ‘completed’ mean? Completed means the area has been assessed, hazardous trees have been cut, decked, and are being hauled off the mountain to Tahoe Forest Products with few scattered log truck loads remaining on the west side.
The West Bowl area was the first focus for remediation as it sustained the largest concentration of damage from the Caldor Fire, while the east side was largely spared from the flames of the fire.
With goals for West Bowl complete, falling ops have moved to the eastern side of the mountain. We anticipate remediation in this area to move swiftly as early assessments indicate the tree canopy and vegetation has limited to no fire damage across beloved areas such as Huckelberry Canyon. Helicopter operations are planning to arrive at the end of September to assist with hard-to-access areas like those in Jack’s Bowl.
While many fire-damaged trees are being removed, the RCD is diligently preserving every tree possible to protect the experience of skiing among the pines we’ve come to know and love.
We will be sharing an updated map every few weeks to show meaningful progress towards opening day this 2022/23 season. Now let’s start praying for snow!