TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The growth in tourism this winter backed by heavy snowfall carried into the spring, with the opportunity to ski and swim in the same day are luring guests in.
“People (could) get out on the mountain on the morning and then go experience the lake on the same day,” said Liz Bowling, director of communications for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “We focus a lot of our efforts on the fact that people can experience those dual days.
"When the weather is there, we capitalize on that as much as possible.”
Squaw Valley totaled 719 inches of snow at upper mountain this season with a record-setting 315 inches of snowfall in February. This allowed the mountain to stay open until July 7.
“The spring is a little more dependent on weather. You never know what you're going to have,” said Sarah Winters, sales director for North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
Data collected from the resort association showed occupancy in North Lake Tahoe was up 9.3% in April compared to the same month last year. From November 2018 to April, the occupancy rate was up 17.5% from November 2017 to April 2018.
“We did have a longer winter, so people were really able to plan and look at when they could come up,” said Winters.
Transient Occupancy Tax collection from April to June totaled $3.8 million, up 15% from the same period last year, an increase of $519,000. Tax collection from January through March was up 12% from that period last year, a $773,000 increase, totalling $6.8 million.
In the last decade there has been steady growth in TOT collection during every quarter, with larger increases during the shoulder seasons.
As visitation in the summer and winter is typically high, Bowling said the resort association tends to focus on the “shoulder season” in the fall and spring, which runs from October to December and from April to June.
Along with WinterWonderGrass, which attracted nearly 5,000 visitors in 2018 to Squaw Valley, the resort association sponsors other events that pull in visitors during the shoulder seasons like the Autumn Food and Wine Festival and sporting events like the Spartan World Championship.
According to Amber Burke, director of marketing for the resort association, their website traffic also saw an increase in traffic in June.
“We saw that a lot of our spring messaging was resonating with people,” she said, which included marketing for spring skiing and lake activities. “People were staying on our site and they were engaged in the content they were finding.”
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.