The following FAQs are deemed reliable but not guaranteed; all answers are given to the best of our knowledge and updated as information is refined and as timely as possible.
Who operates Tahoe Cross Country (TXC) ski area?
Tahoe Cross Country (TXC) is a nonprofit organization that operates with one full-time manager and a dedicated crew of paid staff, expert groomers, ski instructors, volunteers and cookies from the Free Heal Cafe. The board of directors is an integral part of decision making, seasonal transitions and organizing the non-profit Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association.
What is Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA)?
In 1999, several local residents, parents, business owners, coaches and athletes entered a concession agreement with the Tahoe City Public Utility District to operate Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area and founded the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA) as a nonprofit 501© (3) corporation with the mission to promote the sport of cross country skiing through educational activities for children and adults. Along with strong management, staff and a multitude of volunteers, the TCCSEA Board of Directors has worked year-round to create some of the most welcoming, challenging and perfectly groomed trails in the nation.
TCCSEA, a nonprofit 501© (3) corporation, has lease agreements with Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD) to operate Tahoe Cross Country ski area, a 501© (7) corporation, which is not tax exempt. Thus all tax deductible donations need to be paid to Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA).
What's this talk of a new lodge?
In 2015, Mr. John Mozart purchased an estate known as Paradise Flat located in Rubicon Bay. He wished to make the property his own but believed the Schilling Residence was too beautifully constructed and historical important to tear down. He offered to donate the home to the nonprofit 501© (3) corporation Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA). TCCSEA held a preliminary public outreach meeting with the Highlands neighborhood homeowners in 2014 to understand if accepting the Schilling Residence and turning it into the new TXC lodge (out of which all TCCSEA programs operate) would be in the best public interest. The overwhelming feeling was yes, we should accept this historically significant donation. At this time, no site location was decided upon by the landowner, TCPUD, who owns 45 acres of land on which TCCSEA and TXC operate. This preliminary meeting with the neighbors was meant to understand and assess that the neighboring community agreed to accept this building as a donation, knowing it would someday become the new TXC lodge. The environmental review process under CEQA has not yet commenced.
Why is the 2017 proposed Schilling Lodge different from the 2014 presentation?
Three years ago, the Schilling Residence was presented as the exact building that stood on the Rubicon Bay property on Lake Tahoe’s west shore since 1936. The existing summer home was 4,200 square feet. After initial assessment regarding the needs of TXC for future use, storage, and comprehensive customer flow, our civil engineer and architect added an additional 3,100 square feet. This additional square footage includes a ski rental shop, ski storage area, indoor guest wax room and work bench, first aid room, 24 hour locker rooms, showers, improved restroom access, workout room for ski team members, and an entry way with a donor wall and historical display. The additional 3,100 square feet are deemed necessary to make what was once a summer home into a functioning nordic ski lodge.
What’s wrong with the current TXC lodge facility?
Tahoe Cross Country faces major difficulty with the size of its current facility. On busy weekends customers wait outdoors or in awkward makeshift lines for the rental shop and ticket area—an issue augmented on busy holiday weekends. Season pass holders often skip the lodge altogether because it is too small and lacks adequate facilities, comfort and appeal. The hope of any ski lodge, especially TXC, is that customers will feel welcome, relaxed and perhaps stay a while.
Storage is also a main issue and limitations create undue wear and tear on equipment, tools and staff. Below is a list of items TXC currently stores in and around its facility year round:
- Approximately 600 sets of rental skis, boots, poles (daily and seasonal rentals)
- kid chariots for rent & mobile lockers for passholder chariot storage
- trail signs
- race equipment: fencing, stakes, flags, signage, timing equipment, pop-up tents
- warming huts, propane tanks, portable gas stoves, cups, spoons, hot drinks, 5 gal water jugs,
- picnic tables, chairs, trash cans (on trails and at lodge)
- customer wax station and workbench (currently outside and under eave)
- staff wax station and work bench
- 2-3 snowmobiles
- 2 grooming machines
- BBQ and accessories
- special event pop-up tents, tables, chairs, trash cans
- tools for emergency repair, building and equipment maintenance (currently there is no indoor workspace for repairs)
- manager's office, computer, filing system (currently about a 3x3 foot area)
- ticket sales, cash register, day passes, season passes, cookie passes...
- retail items, storage for back-stock
- staff area or break room (none currently exists)
- Free Heal Cafe: cafe supplies (cups, plates, dishes, utensils, back stock food)
- yurt dinner silverware and glassware
Why not renovate the current facility?
While renovation has certainly been considered over the years, the configuration and layout of the current building has never lent itself to an easy remodel. Regarding comprehensive customer flow for ticket sales, ski rentals, wax station and the cafe and lounge, an entirely new footprint would be best. To renovate the current facility to satisfactory condition for a nordic ski lodge, the cost might be somewhere nearing $2 million. The current building could be torn down and rebuilt from scratch, but land owner TCPUD has decided not to conduct studies at this time to confirm these estimations because a new historic building has been donated and is being considered.
The donation of the Schilling Residence has launched changes TXC has been needing for years. It is also the main reason TCPUD is not considering renovating the current facility. Upon accepting the Schilling Residence as a donation, TCPUD has filed a resolution to provide land for the historical lodge, and TCCSEA has filed a resolution to work with TCPUD and the building donor, Mr. Mozart, to reconstruct the Schilling Residence as the new TXC lodge. Along with the donated building, Mr. Mozart has already donated $1 million and we are bound to honor his donation and both board resolutions.
What will happen to the current building?
The current TXC lodge, also known as the Highlands Community Center, is owned by TCPUD. It is up to them to decide how that space will best serve the community. Any changes would go through the public process.
Who else uses the Highlands Community Center (current TXC lodge)?
TXC is the main user of the Highlands Community Center in the winter and leases the building to a sub-concessionaire for bike rentals in the summer. The Boy Scouts of America hold meetings there. The Highlands Homeowners Association holds annual meetings there.
Two years ago TXC asked the public for donations just to stay in operation and now you're building a new lodge?
In 2015, Tahoe Cross Country had endured two drought winters, used all reserve funds, was facing another snowless forecast and reached out to the community for support. We thank every single person who donated because you allowed TXC to open for the 2015-2016 operating season. Luckily, good snowfall aligned with holidays and TXC recouped what had been lost that year. This could not have been done without community support.
One year prior, in 2014, Mr. Mozart approached TCCSEA to discuss the possibility of donating the Schilling Residence. TXC discussed the feasibility with landowner TCPUD and the Highland's Homeowners Association, and the donation became official in September 2015. Initial progress regarding the Schilling Lodge Project has been funded by Mr. Mozart himself, and our capitol fundraising campaign to fund the rest will begin shortly. All finances regarding the Schilling Lodge Project are independent from TXC's operations.
This is a massive undertaking for a small nonprofit, but this historical lodge will allow TXC to be creative when winters to not cooperate. TXC's best product has always been world-class grooming, and we will continue to provide perfect grooming as best as we are able. The Schilling Lodge is a beautiful community resource that will provide additional opportunities for review in the form of workshops, meetings, presentations, retreats, etc. If you have more ideas on how such a building could be used, please share your input.
Where will you put the new lodge?
5 possible sites have been selected due to access points on the 45 acres TXC leases from TCPUD for site analysis and review. You can review the 5 possible sites listed as site A (current site), site B (Highlands Drive), site C (Cedarwood Drive), site D (Polaris Road), site E (Country Club Drive II) by visiting our Candidate Sites page. Please note that the environmental review process under CEQA has not yet commenced.
Why look beyond the current location (site A)?
The current location is 1 of 5 possible sites being scored. For an investment of this size, we must consider and review all possible sites for operational benefits, public impact, environmental impact and esthetic value.
The current location nestles the TXC lodge at the base of a formidable hill, which sometimes creates difficulties when teaching ski lessons, learning to ski or snowshoe and for adaptive skiers and disabled athletes. The lower base elevation affects snow conditions (while there may be beautiful skiing up on yellow trail, there sometimes isn't snow at the lodge). Parking limitations are also a concern. For these reasons, we are using the score card to objectively assess 5 possible site locations.
The Highlands Homeowner Association circulated a letter stating no other site was being considered. Why has this changed?
A letter written by a Highlands Homeowner Association Board member refers to a conversation that board member had with a TXC employee when discussions of a donation were first initiated. That employee did not represent the TCCSEA Board of Directors and it is unfortunate that his word was taken as definitive. It was an oversight to assume no other site would be considered for an investment of this size. TXC will continue its public outreach work and will accept all input regarding site selection with the preferred deadline of March 20, 2017, before handing their recommendation over to TCPUD.
Who will be involved in the scoring?
People scoring the card will include the project engineer, project architect, project land use planners, other cross country ski area managers, the current Tahoe Cross Country manager, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association Board Members and local business leaders. Each person will score the section that involves their expertise. The scores will be consolidated and averaged. TCPUD staff will analyze all input and make a recommendation to the TCPUD Board of Directors.
How is the score card organized?
The score card is divided into 4 sections: operations, community, environmental and jurisdictional/design/build, broken into 30+ line items of equal value. The card is patterned after score cards used by the TCPUD for other projects and will help analyze the pros and cons of five possible locations.
The aim of the scorecard is to reflect most issues considering proper site selection. In this way, we will avoid having outside subjective forces or personal whim dictate site selection. That said, the 30+ items listed on the score card are weighed evenly and it's possible to have a site look more preferable in total but cost more or have a logistically prohibitive item that omits that site from the selection process in actuality. At the end of this process, TXC (as facility operator) will nominate their preferred site and then TCPUD (as landlord) will either approve or designate another.
Will inputs from the Highlands residents be weighed differently than inputs from other TCPUD customers?
Yes. TXC is very aware of our impact on our neighbors. The community section of the score card has four specific questions that emphasize the impact on the Highlands homeowners. These cover traffic, light spill/visual impact, sound and community input. The most effective way for Highlands homeowners to add input will be by sending an email to email@example.com and/or filling out the public questionnaire found here.
Will the scores be available to the public before the TCPUD makes a site selection?
Yes. Updated score cards will be displayed at each public workshop (February 11, 12, March 11 and 12 from 3-7pm at the Fairway Community Center), on on this website. The final score card as well as all the supporting data and all public input will be given to the TCPUD staff ahead of the TCPUD board review.
Can I see the score card results online?
Yes. You can view initial score cards separated by candidate site here. Note: these score cards are working drafts that will be updated as information is refined and public input is gathered. The scores are not finalized but are subject to revision as new information and input is obtained. The best way to review and discuss score card results is to attend our public workshops.
I cannot come to the workshops. How can I make sure my input is considered?
Upon completion of our public workshops as well as input from other sources we will complete our analysis and recommendations. All input, letters and questionnaires will be archived. Based upon the archived input and score cards, TXC will submit its recommendations to the TCPUD as well as its formal request to use the recommended site for the reconstruction of the Schilling Lodge and to enter into a new Concession Agreement. We request that all questionnaires be completed and returned online to TXC by March 20, 2017. Any input received after March 20, 2017, will be added to the record, but timeliness is very important.
Once the recommendation is made, how does the process work?
Assuming TXC's request to TCPUD is favorably accepted, the Schilling Lodge will become a project. With that in mind, we envision that TCPUD will consider the project, conduct hearings involving the public and we will begin the environmental review process. We anticipate at least 2 or 3 TCPUD meetings to which the public will be invited for additional input regarding the site and environmental review process in general. We further envision initiating a capitol fundraising campaign. If the project is approved, TXC, as applicant, will begin the permitting process with building construction plans, civil engineering plans and land use agencies within the Tahoe Basin. Once permitting has been accomplished, construction can commence. If TCPUD does not approve TXC's recommended site, they may recommend another of the 5 candidate sites. TXC can then accept their choice or choose not to move forward, in which case the Schilling Lodge would no longer be a project.
Considering the complexities of environmental review and capitol fundraising, we are hopeful that you and the community will join us in making this unique project happen. We are excited to share this wonderful opportunity, so please stay tuned as we will be adding more information and updates to this website as they become available.
How can I be involved?
Participation of all levels is welcome and necessary to complete our project. Financial contributions, fundraising efforts and hands-on campaigning will be extremely helpful. If you would like to be involved in any way, please contact us!
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