TRUCKEE, CA - The weather is finally starting to cool down, but the snowy season is still a long way off. Most ski resorts are months away from opening, but right now is the time when they start making sure everything is ready.
The end of summer signals the start of repair season on ski hills across the area.
"We definitely are thinking down the line and it's going to be here before we know it," said Brooke Rose, a Northstar representative.
In the coming weeks, minutes are precious because most of the work has to be done before the snow arrives.
"We're really getting the resort ready for winter operations," said Jim Larmore, Director of Mountain Operations at Northstar.
This year at Northstar that means rebuilding gondola cars, and giving them a fresh coat of paint. But on all area mountains, it means making sure chair lifts are working well enough to withstand the harsh winter conditions.
"Then you have a state inspection, you have state permits to operate for the year. So there is a lot that goes on to make sure they are safe and ready for the public," said Larmore.
On the actual slopes, the work continues. The last few winters have been relatively dry, so crews are prepared to make snow. The machines are already in place and reservoirs filled with water, should they be needed.
"I'll tell you what, I am planning on a good season, but if it doesn't, we have snowmaking and we will have a great product for our guests," said Larmore.
There is a timeline for all the work; it has to be done prior to opening. For most ski resorts, that's the second to last week in November.
Most of the area resorts still have to hire hundreds of employees for the winter season. Northstar has a job fair scheduled for late October, and Squaw has one in early November.