Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area is an important part of what makes North Lake Tahoe a wonderful place. Operated as a nonprofit under the auspices of the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association, Tahoe XC not only provides an amazing cross-country ski experience for adults, but for more then 15 years it also has been dedicated to introducing cross-country skiing to the youth of the community.
In recent years, with the introduction of the Tahoe XC development and competition teams, they have begun turning young skiers into competitive athletes. Above all, Tahoe XC has been a great gathering place for Tahoe locals who love cross-country skiing.
To say that the last few years have been tough on Tahoe Cross Country would be an enormous understatement. With the passing of Kevin Murnane in February, the ski area not only lost its general manager, but the community lost a dearly beloved member. The well-below average snowfall received the past few winters led to a dramatic drop in the number of ticket sales and rental income received by the ski area, especially last year when Tahoe XC was barely open.
“It is an asset that everyone uses and it is a very personal thing for the community at large.”
While it has been an emotionally and financially trying time for the ski area, Tahoe XC has a lot going for it: A small, but dedicated group of employees; a core group of season passholders and locals who continue to support the ski area they love; and a board of directors that is dedicated to keeping the center alive.
The board began fundraising with a goal of $80,000 in July to allow Tahoe XC to open this winter. As of the middle of August, $53,000 had been collected toward the effort. At that time, an anonymous donor offered to donate $40,000 to Tahoe XC if a new fundraising effort could match those funds. Donations to date as of press time are around $19,000.
While Tahoe XC still needs help, the community is responding.
“Everyone is coming together, both small donors, larger donors and the public agencies.” said Jim Robins, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association board president.
The Tahoe City Public Utility District, which owns the land where the Tahoe XC lodge is located, has also stepped up to the plate. Robins says that the TCPUD is making an effort to get the trail use fees charged by the California State Parks and Tahoe Conservancy waived for last year. These fees came to more than $11,000. In addition, the TCPUD board agreed to help with some of the costs for liability insurance and utilities.
Another way Tahoe XC is moving forward is that Valli Murnane has been hired for take on the mantle of the general manager position for the next four years; the time remaining on the concession agreement with the PUD. She has served as the director of the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association for the last 15 years.
“I’m excited for a normal season with plenty of snow,” Murnane said. She hopes this would allow for “the return of our great staff and getting our season passholders and junior programs back on snow. We couldn’t do it without community support.”
One example of community support can be found at The Yoga Room at The Cobblestone in Tahoe City and it’s owner, Jenna Minnes. Every First Friday, The Yoga Room has a special class in support of a local cause. Tahoe XC is the cause of choice for the month of September and October.
“Tahoe XC is super relevant to the people in our community, especially to our students,” Minne says. “It is an asset that everyone uses and it is a very personal thing for the community at large. Hopefully, it will be a way to manifest snow.” The next First Friday donation class is Oct. 2 from 5 to 7 pm.
While the immediate goal is to keep Tahoe XC healthy for the coming season, the Tahoe XC board and staff are also busy on a five-year plan to construct a new base lodge for the ski area. John Mozart, who owns the Schilling House on Three Ring Road in the Rubicon Gold Coast area, has agreed to donate his large home built in 1936 to Tahoe XC to be dismantled and rebuilt somewhere on the 40 acres owned by TCPUD to become the new lodge.
For more information on Tahoe Cross Country, to make a donation or to purchase a pass, visit tahoexc.org.