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Tahoe Nugget #201:

Snow at Serene Lakes
March 13, 2011

I recently signed a contract with Arcadia Publishing to produce an illustrated history of skiing in the Lake Tahoe region. Arcadia is based in South Carolina and is the leading local history publisher in the United States with more than 6,000 titles in print. The project not a significant money maker for me, but the book will give our local stores and historical societies another product to sell for profit, and it will also promote Tahoe winter sports, a worthwhile effort in my opinion.

Nugget #201 Norm Sayler Photo  Sign
Norm Sayler sells hot coffee and encourages browsing at the Donner Summit Historical Society headquarters.

Yes, I published my own Tahoe ski history last year (Longboards to Olympics was a finalist for the prestigious International Skiing Heritage Association annual Skade Award), but this new book will have more than 200 historical photographs described by caption and will also cover the decades after the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics where my book ended. I believe that these two products will complement each other rather than compete in the marketplace. The book has to be completed by June so I have to get on the stick as they say.

Nugget #201 Fire Hydrant  Snowpack
Snow is really piling up at Serene Lakes, but county and volunteer fire department crews make sure hydrants are clear and ready for an emergency.

Research for the Arcadia book has already begun and I spent last Thursday at the Donner Summit Historical Society headquarters near Donner Pass, where former Donner Ski Ranch operator Norm Sayler has assembled a huge collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia. Norm supports my work and has very generously offered me free access to his extensive collection.

Nugget #201 Serene House for  Sale
This is a spec house built to sell, but real estate is typically slow in the high country during the winter months. Note bear proof trash can container on lower right.

To expedite the process, I recently purchased a portable scanner that I plug into my laptop and then digitally copy photos and documents directly onto the hard drive. A great tool that I wish I had had during the 1990s when I spent 9 years at the University of Nevada in Reno taking classes, poring over newspaper microfilm, and searching boxes of archives at the Special Collections Library.

Nugget #201 Street Signs in  Snow
Rotary snowplow must have forgotten to clear this street.

This weekend I drove to Sacramento to be with my wife Nora, but on the way stopped at Serene Lakes, a community at 7,000 feet elevation near Donner Pass. The snowpack there is a solid 14 feet deep even though the Sierra snowpack typically doesn't reach peak depth and maximum water content until the first week of April. Many of the homes in this area appeared to be vacation rentals or for sale.

Nugget #201 Snow Covered  Garage
A garage is always nice in snow country.

From Serene Lakes it took me less than an hour and a half to drive to Nora's house in Sacramento where it was 70 degrees and I mowed the lawn.

Nugget #201 Sacramento Tree  Blossoms
Unlike snowbound Donner Pass, less than 100 miles away in Sacramento it was balmy and fragrant with spring blossoms.

NOTE: All photographs taken on March 11, 2011.

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