Lake Tahoe hopes for a busy summer


The weather did not really cooperate for the first part of the weekend. At South Lake Tahoe at lake level there was a mixture of rain and snow. By Monday it was about 30 degrees warmer and sunny. Memorial Day weekend is kind of hit or miss in Tahoe because of the weather, but this summer needs to be big for the businesses there.

With the mediocre winter, now a fading memory all eyes around Lake Tahoe are on promoting the areas' many other assets. Heavenly ran its gondola this weekend, to give visitors a birds-eye view of all Tahoe has to offer once the snow melts, including a world-class ski area that turns itself into a family playground.

"We just like to expand our summer offerings to our guests and we offer everything from hiking, to gondola rides, sightseeing, there's an adventure zone for children, a climbing wall, and summer tubing," said Sally Gunter from the Heavenly Ski Resort.

Dana Spano owns Sealed With A Kiss clothing store at the base of the Heavenly gondola. After nine years in South Lake Tahoe, she's knows better than to measure her success by one season.

"Business owners need to be prepared for that. We don't look at it as a week-to-week or month-to-month. I look at my business over three years and if I don't have a good season one year, I probably will the next year," said Spano.

The state line casino-hotels won't rely on gambling alone to pull in customers. The owners of Harrah's and Harvey's are building a 7,500 seat concert arena that will feature a series of big-names, through the summer.

"The big country acts are coming in. We've got Brad Paisley," said John Packer, from Harvey's Tahoe. "We have Toby Keith coming in, we have Maroon 5 and they're as hot as ever."

"The winter was tough," said Pat Ronan.

Ronan is a resort owner and chairman of the Lake Tahoe Visitors' Authority. The Memorial Day weekend is always a bit iffy because of the weather, but he and others are banking on a big summer.

"There's pent up demand, people want to do something, they haven't done it for years and yet they do have money, but they're nervous about spending. At this point, from everybody I've talked to, we're up 10 to 15, even 20 percent, for advance bookings for this summer," said Ronan.

A tip before you go to Tahoe: because of the shaky economy, there are a lot of deals, so it's best to shop around before you book your trip.

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