June 18, 2021
Dear Members of the Board,
There are folks with differing opinions about the proposed Downhill Ski Lodge, but a reasonable discussion with all parties listening to each other would be nice. I for one am in favor of building a Lodge that will fulfill our current and future needs. There are some facts that need to be addressed thoughtfully before you make up your mind as to how the membership of the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association proceeds.
1. The current Lodge is woefully inadequate for the needs of those skiing and working at Tahoe Donner Downhill.
2. The building was originally built almost 50 years ago as a real estate sales office,
3. To accommodate what we have right now (including bringing the ski school in from the yurt, and right sizing the rental space), would require a lodge of ~22,000 square feet because of building code and ADA requirements.
4. The building is not meant to accommodate more skiers (comfortable carrying capacity of the Ski Area of 1,000 individuals) than are currently using the ski area (parking is the bottleneck), it would simply allow for a much nicer experience and, perhaps, more off-season use.
5. The 22,000 square foot lodge would actually allow for less indoor seating (130 vs. 142) than now exists, and result in exceeding our comfortable carry capacity about 40 days per season. Industry standard is more in the range of 15 days per year.
6. The larger new ski lodge designs will allow skiers to unload from the busses only one story below the level of the two chair lifts. The covered stairs would allow for easy access to the lifts and there would also be an elevator up to the top level for those who need/want it. Currently, skiers disembark from the busses two-plus stories below the lift elevation and must either walk up a steep snow-covered slope or narrow stairs.
7. The proposed food service area would allow for shorter lines, a much-improved food service offering, and thus a more positive guest experience and a greater turnover of patrons.
8. The cost per square foot (estimated) would be $791/sq foot for the 22,000 square foot lodge, $698/sq foot for the 26,900 square foot lodge, and $692 for the approximately 28,000 square foot lodge. In other words, as the proposed lodge gets bigger, the cost per square foot goes down.
9. The reason that the Board asked for estimates for the larger lodge (approximately 28,000 sq ft as opposed to the 26,900 sq ft lodge) was that they saw the bathrooms as possibly inadequate in the 26,900 sq ft lodge and they were also hoping to have more member amenities in a larger lodge, such as seasonal lockers.
We can agree to disagree as to the value to the community of the Downhill Ski Area and the aesthetics of the lodge among other things, but I would hope that we can all agree that the Board, the Task Force, and management are doing their best to represent the best interests of the entire community. I want to live in a community that we can all be proud of. Let’s try and get there together!