Lodge Replacement Project | FAQs
Below is a list of FAQs received from members. We will update this information as the project progresses.
FAQs last updated February 2021
WHY DOES TAHOE DONNER DOWNHILL SKI RESORT NEED A NEW LODGE?
The current lodge was originally built in 1971 to be the Dart Corporation real estate sales office and was later converted to a ski lodge. At 49 years old, the lodge has reached the end of its useful life, unfavorably impacting operational demand, member/guest experience and Tahoe Donner’s vision. Tahoe Donner Association has a fiduciary responsibility to keep its amenities updated, current, and functional. Tahoe Donner has a program to bring its facilities into compliance with current regulations, and building experience has shown that such alterations reduce the usable space of renovated structures, which would be due in our case to its unique snowflake design.
WHY DID THE BOARD DECIDE TO REBUILD VS. REMODEL, AND WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE SKI LODGE PROJECT?
In December 2019 at an open board meeting after extensive analysis, the board voted to rebuild, not remodel. Remodeling the existing lodge was seriously considered and researched. One of the primary challenges of rebuilding the current ski lodge is its unique snowflake design. It would require significant expense to attempt to remodel the building to meet today’s building codes, ADA standards and usage requirements. Additionally, the roof is poorly designed, causing snow to shed on the deck and entrances. This requires extensive snow removal during storm cycles and delays in operations, both being a danger to staff.
As of November 2020, the Tahoe Donner Board of Directors and management have embarked on extensive two-way member outreach to address the ski lodge and learn what the members and users need and want in the future lodge. Member outreach includes focus groups and member surveys as well as regular updates on the feedback we are receiving and statuses as progress continues. A survey report will be completed in December and published in the January issue of Tahoe Donner News.
WHAT WORK HAS BEEN DONE TO DATE?
Over the past several years, the General Plan Committee, Task Force, staff and several consultants have assisted to work through the Capital Projects process. View some of the key milestones.
WHAT WILL THE SIZE OF THE NEW SKI LODGE BE?
The size of the new ski lodge has not yet been determined. Management and the board of directors are working together with PROS Consulting to complete member outreach as well as gathering and consolidating data to help determine key decisions such as potential off-season uses, size and cost.
ARE THERE HOMEOWNERS INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT?
Yes! The General Plan Committee, Downhill Ski Resort Task Force and board of directors are made up of homeowners. In addition to these working groups, PROS Consulting is completing a member survey and focus groups to gather additional member feedback regarding the Downhill Ski Resort Lodge Replacement Project.
Members are encouraged to provide their feedback here.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED OR FIND MORE INFO?
Your member feedback is important. You can provide feedback by completing our online form.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
- The design team – Bull Stockwell Allen – and PROS Consulting are working on the business plan and conceptual designs for the board to review.
- A decision on the conceptual design is anticipated to be made in the spring of 2021.
HOW WILL MEMBERS BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS?
The Downhill Ski Resort Lodge Replacement Project Page is your one-stop shop for updated reports and information regarding this project. Please check back often, as new information will be uploaded as it becomes available.
Staff will continue to update the membership via emails, discussion groups and Tahoe Donner News articles.
DOES THE DOWNHILL SKI AREA MAKE MONEY, AND HOW DOES IT FINANCIALLY COMPARE TO OTHER TAHOE DONNER PUBLIC AMENITIES?
Yes. The Downhill Ski Area is the most profitable public amenity in Tahoe Donner.
The first graph below shows the 3-year (2017-2019) average revenues and expenditures per public amenity. The second graph shows the net operating revenue after capital expenditures are removed. Capital expenditures are the replacement reserve costs that are invested back into the amenities to keep them maintained and current.
WHAT IS THE MEMBER/GUEST/PUBLIC PERCENTAGE USE OF THE DOWNHILL SKI AREA?
Based on the average of the previous 2 seasons, the makeup of the Downhill Ski Area use is approximately 30% member, 30% guest and 40% public.
WHAT IS THE PUBLIC CHARGED TO USE THE AREA COMPARED TO MEMBERS, AND HOW MUCH REVENUE DOES THE PUBLIC GENERATE AT THE DOWNHILL SKI AREA?
The public lift tickets are approximately 50-140% higher than member rates, depending on age and time of the ski season. Approximately $2.24 million (56%) of the annual $4 million in revenue comes from the public.
WHAT WOULD THE DOWNHILL SKI AREA LOOK LIKE AS A MEMBER-ONLY RESORT?
The cost to run the ski area is a relatively fixed expense that does not vary greatly with reduced attendance. For example, the ski area needs the same amount of lift attendants, ski patrol and maintenance workers whether there are 50 or 1,000 skiers on the hill. Without the public, we estimate expenses could be reduced by approximately 20% or $600,000. However, without the public, we would lose approximately $2.24 million in annual revenue and the Downhill Ski Area would lose money. Member assessments would go up approximately $240/year (less cost of goods sold and public-related expenses) before inflation to cover the reduction in revenue.
IS TAHOE DONNER TRYING TO CHANGE THE WINTER OPERATING MODEL AND INCREASE PEAK PERIOD USE WITH THIS PROJECT?
No. Currently, all the work to date has been done using the historical usage data and planning for a ski lodge to accommodate 25% less than our average peak period use over the last three years when operating with peak-period pricing for guests and public. Based on the capacity of our parking lots, lifts and trails, we feel that there is a limit to the resort capacity where it is no longer an enjoyable experience.
ARE WE LOOKING AT OTHER USES BESIDES DOWNHILL SKIING?
Yes. We are soliciting feedback from the membership on potential off-season uses and will be looking into the feasibility of those uses.
HOW DOES TAHOE DONNER PAY FOR PROJECTS OF THIS NATURE, AND WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF SAVINGS FOR THIS PROJECT?
- Tahoe Donner HOA is not allowed to borrow money
- All money for our capital projects is saved through Annual Assessments
- The Replacement Reserve Fund (RRF) component for the project will cover approximately $3.5 million
- The table below shows the approved 2020 Development Fund (DF) assessment and current projection for the Downhill Ski Lodge replacement budget (the actual rate increase beyond 2021 will be approved annually by the board of directors)