Capital Projects Process Stage 3: Conceptual Design

Downhill Ski Resort Discussion Groups are being hosted by members of the GPC Downhill Ski Resort Task Force, with small groups of TD members. Discussions include information about the task force’s research and direction, and the opportunity to give your feedback to the task force. If you would like to participate as an individual, or with a group of friends or neighbors, please contact Jim Beckmeyer, DSR Task Force Chair, at jebeckmeyer@surewest.net.

The Downhill Ski Resort Amenity Task Force is developing a master plan that will bring the Downhill Ski Resort, “The Best Place to Begin”, into accord with the Tahoe Donner Vision: An attractive and well-maintained facility, leading customer service and Member satisfaction, without increasing Member assessment.

  • Background

    Member questions about the Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort include: What needs aren’t being met by the current amenity? How can our ski hill compete against world class resorts literally just down the road?

    Our answer brings past and present together: The Tahoe Donner ski hill is a unique place and in its niche, is capable of competing with the best of the best in the north Tahoe area.  From the time that Dart Corporation was developing the Tahoe Donner property in the early 70s, the ski hill has been advertised as “The best place to begin”.

    Except for the drought years before snowmaking, we have consistently drawn a bigger crowd than we can accommodate. We are much more easily accessible from Truckee than the big areas during heavy snows. We cater to beginners. We have well trained instructors, good rental equipment and most important, our entire ski hill is visible from the bottom which gives parents a great sense of security. Once the beginners become more advanced, they move on to the bigger ski areas, but in the meantime new beginners come to take their place.

    The ski hill is designed to service our members and their guests and over half of the users come from that community. But our capacity is larger than that user base, so we sell the excess to the public to help defray the cost.

    The ski lodge was originally the Dart sales office and was later converted to a ski lodge. Some areas are undersized for our user base, particularly the kitchen and eating area. Our ski lodge has a unique challenge: Most of the skiers are beginners who were brought here by their family. Some of that family do not ski, so they occupy the lodge while their skiers are on the hill.

    Additionally, the lodge was built before many current legal regulations were created. Tahoe Donner has a program to bring all our facilities into compliance with current regulations. These alterations are likely to reduce the usable space.  The task force is currently evaluating the choice between remodeling and rebuilding. We do not yet know which is more desirable but we do know that we want a facility that is safe, in compliance with regulations, and economically the most favorable for Tahoe Donner members.

    We also know that in order to make a Tahoe Donner ski hill truly “the best place to begin” we need to make other changes such as providing additional snowmaking to protect our financial performance from the whims of Mother Nature. Ski areas these days consider snowmaking as “insurance” and we know that our current investment has protected us from what could have been significant losses over the last two years.

    Other elements that are being addressed by the task force include parking and transportation, accessibility, the Snowbird chairlift, and Mile Run slope improvements.

  • Current Status

    MEMBER INPUT AND COMMUNICATIONS
    The task force staffed a booth at the Member Picnic/Expo, held several member discussion groups, and is using the TD e-blast for outreach to include more members in discussion groups.

    MEMBER/PUBLIC PRICING MODELS
    Staff is working on pricing options which will be tested during the upcoming ski season.

    RE-GRADING MILE RUN
    Task force members will work with staff to identify the amount of work, and related cost estimates, to bring sections of Mile Run to the minimum 8% grade needed to ski without poling or skating.

    EXPANDING SNOWMAKING TO EAGLE ROCK
    Project evaluation and cost estimates have begun.

    LODGE REMODEL OR REPLACEMENT
    Alternatives for remodeling or replacing the Lodge are clearly the costliest part of the amenity plan. There is no timeline yet for conclusions on this project because an enormous amount of work is required to responsibly and accurately evaluate and cost out the alternatives. Initial action on the alternatives is:

    Lodge remodel: This requires addressing all regulations for the existing building, and upgrading dilapidated functional areas such as the kitchen, in order to restore the lodge to meet Tahoe Donner’s Vision. An itemized and prioritized list will be made of all regulatory requirements, from which Staff will develop a ballpark estimate based on their expertise and experience with previous building projects. This will give us an idea of the magnitude of capital investment required. Subsequently, this will be turned into a “Scope of Work” which can be addressed with architects, engineers and contractors to develop actual estimates and timelines. This will be a significant investment when the project reaches this point.

    Lodge replacement: The initial step for this alternative is crafting an RFI (Request for Information) which will ultimately be sent to contractors for initial information. Task force members, staff and members who work in the commercial construction industry are working on this. It is a 90-day process with no associated cost other than time.

    NOTE: There is no plan to expand the ski area beyond its current use, nor is there a plan to increase ski area operating cost, increase member assessment, borrow money to pay for the day lodge, or raise a special assessment.

  • Next Steps

    Project updates will be provided at each GPC meeting, held on the first non-holiday Monday of each month at 3:00 PM in the Mezzanine Room of the Northwoods Clubhouse.

    Meeting minutes are published on the Tahoe Donner website, included in the GPC meeting minutes, and links are available in the Document Archives section below.

    Downhill Ski Resort Discussion Groups are hosted by members of the GPC Downhill Ski Resort Task Force, with small groups of TD members. Discussions include information about the task force’s research and direction, and the opportunity to give your feedback to the task force. If you would like to participate as an individual, or with a group of friends or neighbors, please contact Jim Beckmeyer, DSR Task Force Chair, at jebeckmeyer@surewest.net.

  • Meetings + Members

    Task force meetings are held on the first non-holiday Monday of each month at 1:30 PM in the Mezzanine Room of the Northwoods Clubhouse.

    Members:

    • Jim Beckmeyer (Chair)
    • Frank Aldridge
    • John McGregor
    • Nan Meek
    • Steve Miller
    • Courtney Murrell
    • Kevin O'Neil
    • Rob McCray
    • Michael Sullivan
    • Robb Etnyre (General Manager)
    • Michael Salmon (Director of Finance and Accounting)
    • Forrest Huisman (Director of Capital Projects)
    • Miguel Sloan (Director of Operations)
    • Robert McClendon (DSR Manager)

  • Contact
  • Document Archive