Sierra at Tahoe only opened for one weekend in April last season. Damages from the ravenous Caldor Fire in August 2021 prevented resort crews from opening their mountain for any longer. There was just too much work to do.
But as of yesterday, things are looking up for the Lake Tahoe ski area. The resort shared an update on its Snow Reporter’s Blog which detailed current restoration efforts and outlined clear goals for next season, including a plan to get all of its 46 trails cleared and open as well as all 14 of its lifts, conditions permitting. Sierra at Tahoe writes:
“After months of detailed planning and coordination, restoration of your beloved mountain is in full swing. Log loaders and hand crews clearing an acre in a few hours, semi-trucks filled with fallen timber head for lumber yards to build something anew, dozers, track skidders and feller bunchers all working in unison to heal the scar left from the Caldor Fire. To heal the void, that a year without Sierra has left on all of our hearts.”
Sierra at Tahoe’s restoration plan will move in three phases, with the first one starting this week. Teams of roughly 100 people will begin work on clearing the West Bowl, where the fire had the most impact, before moving east across the mountain. The resort plans to preserve every tree that was not affected by the fire, and to “grow back not to what was, but instead towards what we can become.”
The full restoration project update is shared below:
It Takes a Village, Restoration at Sierra-at-Tahoe Begins
The rip of a chainsaw is not typically a sound that is described as sweet, but as the buzzing of blades echo through the resort, it signifies the removal of damage to allow for regrowth. With almost 100 boots hitting the ground, each with different uniforms from their respective companies but all with the united goal — to get Sierra back on her feet.
After months of detailed planning and coordination, restoration of your beloved mountain is in full swing. Log loaders and hand crews clearing an acre in a few hours, semi-trucks filled with fallen timber head for lumber yards to build something anew, dozers, track skidders and feller bunchers all working in unison to heal the scar left from the Caldor Fire. To heal the void, that a year without Sierra has left on all of our hearts.
The Bat signal shone high in the sky and the calvary arrived. With representation across the United States Forest Service (USFS), El Dorado Resource Conservation District (RCD), Atlas Tree Company and the contributions made by our community through the El Dorado Community Foundation, the work is underway with the goal of a reopening of our 46-trail network for the 2022/23 winter season.
Leading the efforts is Atlas Tree Company, based locally in Santa Rosa, California, who are already making great headway clearing trees from Beaver and Marmot trails, with the daily goal of 30-40 loads of logs being removed from the slopes each day.
Aspen Café, typically home base for our Competition Teams, has been transformed into the command center of the operation. With daily and sometimes even hourly check-ins to coordinate and execute the complex plan with Atlas and Sierra’s crew, communication is key. With lift and building maintenance and repairs simultaneously occurring alongside tree felling, keeping everyone informed of the latest updates is priority number two…second only to priority number one which is and always will be to perform the tasks at hand with the highest level of safety.
With RVs and tents onsite, many members of the crew have made Sierra their basecamp for the summer, and do not plan on going home until the job is done. With the first of three phases kicking off this week, restoration efforts will first focus on West Bowl, where the fire had the most impact, before moving east across the mountain. Fire damaged trees within a 150-ft margin have been identified and marked for removal, with the goal of preserving every tree that was not impacted. For the trees whose fate will not land them in a lumber yard, chipping will occur to assist in insulating the ski trails to help maintain the snowpack during the season.
Proper planning prevents poor performance, and with the planning phase almost complete, it’s time to get to work! Follow our journey all summer long as we grow back not to what was, but instead towards what we can become.
2 thoughts on “Sierra at Tahoe, CA, Shares Update on Post-Caldor Fire Restoration Project, Says Goal is to Reopen All 46 Trails By Next Season”
Big props to Sierra at Tahoe from USASA North Tahoe Series. You all are the best hosts in the freeskiing community.
Totally feel for John and his crew. But we will be there at first snow flake, supporting the Ranch once again!