Even though the powerful storm closed a long stretch of Highway 80 straddling Lake Tahoe Thursday, it’s now open again. And ski resort operators are now expecting a busy Christmas season. A series of storms over the last few weeks have dropped about 10 feet of snow on the slopes. North Lake Tahoe Resort Association tourism director Andy Chapman says the poor economy may actually boost visits from California skiers.
Chapman: "Because there’s 11.5 million people in that three-and-a-half hour drive and the gas prices have fallen down, and they may not be taking that longer trip that they might have done before or flying to a further destination, they’re gonna think, “Let’s do a closer and just drive on up.”
Another factor that could help the resorts is the extra expense of flying with ski equipment. Many airlines are now charging a family of four up to $350 to bring along their skis, boots and poles.