TWIN BRIDGES, Calif. (KTXL) — As the crews get closer to full containment on the Caldor Fire and officials reopen the Eldorado National Forest, residents and businesses in the Tahoe Basin are still tackling the damage and devastation left behind by the wildfire.
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort fell victim to the flames in August. The resort said the Caldor Fire, which has burned over 221,000 acres, left chairlifts and trees scorched.
While other Sierra resorts get ready for visitors and tackle the state’s drought with their snow-making machines, Sierra-at-Tahoe is entering its 75th season with uncertainty.
“Although we have been working nonstop—and will continue to—on plans to reopen the resort, we want to let you know that we are still uncertain as to how much terrain we will be able to open this year,” Sierra-at-Tahoe wrote on Facebook this week. “The safety of our employees and guests continues to be our number one priority, and despite making progress every day and working together with our partners at the United States Forest Service, and with arborists, engineers and inspectors, we have big challenges ahead.”
The news is bound to disappoint the resort’s regulars.
“It’s sad, it’s pretty sad,” said Deeann MacLaughlin, “It’s a one-of-a-kind resort. I have been going here my whole life.”
“We’re not giving up, nor are we backing down from the challenge,” Sierra-at-Tahoe’s post reads. “We want you to know what we know – our intention is to keep moving forward, and to open what we can, when we can to welcome you back to Sierra this season.”
The resort is also being held up by global supply chain issues.
Employees of the resort are also trying to get back on their feet while gearing up for ski season. A GoFundMe created by the Sierra Education Foundation says some employees lost their personal equipment, tools and clothing when the resort’s vehicle maintenance shop was destroyed by the Caldor Fire.
Locals worry about the impact the closure may have on workers’ livelihoods.
“If people can’t make money, are people going to move away?” asked David Orr. “That is not good for Tahoe as a community.”
The resort said it has already sent emails to its 2021/22 season pass holders.
Whatever is decided, the resort has fans eager to return.
“I have to get my kid back up there,” said Katy Massucco. “He is little out of practice from the shutdown.”
“It’s a great resort. We have been going here our whole entire life,” MacLaughlin said. “We are not leaving.”