At the Lake: Tahoe business owners optimistic thanks to steady stream of Sierra snowstorms

STATELINE - After the recent series of storms, the last one dumping 15 to 20 inches of snow in the Lake Tahoe Basin, businesses feel optimistic for the rest of the winter season.

"I'm excited about the recent series of storms boosting the local economy," said Barbara Ruberto, general manager of Rainbow Mountain Premium Ski Rentals. Ruberto said there's a positive vibe around town with the tourists. Five Star Ski & Board owner Sean Raftree said business is steady, and the weekends are picking up.

"It's a whole lot better than last season," Raftree said.

Jerry Bindel, president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, said the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend treated most people in the lodging industry well. January tends to be hot and cold after the holidays, but he said most places were nearly sold out.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority markets all the storms well, and so does the national media, said Bindel.

"We just need to clear the roads and get people up here," Bindel said.

Bindel said he's cautiously optimistic because of the economy, but things are looking good for the area.

Because of the snow, he said, the end of March looks like it will be strong.

He said with Easter falling on March 24, more people may be inclined to come up to ski for the holiday.

Usually business begins to wind down at the end of March, but with the snow fall and early holiday, business is looking good.

The National Weather Service is predicting snow for the coming week, so the winter season looks promising for all businesses.

Even though more snow means more business, Ruberto said she still makes time to enjoy it herself because loves to ski with all the fresh powder.

"When it snows hard, we work hard and we play hard," Ruberto said.

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