Sky Tavern trying to bring in snow machines, lights to make skiing more sustainable

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 5:43 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Substandard skiing.

In a year headlined by the Coronavirus pandemic, ski resorts across Northern Nevada and California are dealing with a different issue: snow - or lack thereof.

“Make it snow. Flush ice cubes down the toilet. It helps,” said Sky Tavern’s Executive Director, Bill Henderson.

The slopes at Sky Tavern are quiet. Dry conditions are to blame.

“When it didn’t snow there are a lot of disappointed kids,” said Henderson. “It’s going to (snow). We’re going to get open.”

The Sierra Nevada has seen about half the precipitation levels that experts see by this time on average, according to The Natural Resources Conservation Service. With little snowfall, Henderson wants to take matters into his own hands.

“If we get some snow-making equipment in we can fulfill all the promises to the kids and parents in Reno. There is so much demand for affordable skiing,” he said.

Sky Tavern is unique to other places because it operates as a non-profit - meaning fundraising is everything. Sustainable skiing also means a lot, which is why Henderson is trying to find the money for snow-making equipment and lights.

“The non-profit has built both of the chairlifts here,” Henderson said of the facility upgrades. “(The non-profit) built both of these new carpet lifts we just put in. We’ll pull (the bigger projects) off. Reno wants us to have it.”

The magic carpets are the first new lifts to be added to Sky Tavern in 20 years. The Coronavirus pandemic has already put a cap on membership sales - making it hard to generate more revenue for the machines and lights. What people put in is what they get out.

“All of this (equipment) has been around for a long time: putting in snow-making, putting in lights. It’s just time to go,” Henderson said of the need for upgrades. “Now that we have this long-term lease where we can raise the money, we can do what we said we’re going to do.”

Henderson’s goal is to get as many families involved in the sport as possible for as cheap as possible.

Manufacturing snow and lighting up Sky Tavern will allow people to learn longer, more often.

To support Sky Tavern financially, visit their website.

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