Our group will be sharing a Lake Tahoe rental/ski lease lodge for the winter season and I’d like to ask you what safety measures should I implement during COVID-19 to prevent my friends and family from getting infected with the coronavirus (which will ruin everyone’s enjoyment of snow sports this winter)?
Great question and an important one because although deaths related to Covid19/coronavirus have decreased significantly, however, the rate of infection is still rising quickly as the winter months flu season starts and there is no united or coherent federal leadership and guidance on Covid prevention as states issue various guidance from no masks required to masks mandated.
According to the Mayo Clinic, long-term effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus) includes problems with mood swings and fatigue..
Many people who have recovered from SARS have gone on to develop chronic fatigue syndrome, a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. The same may be true for people who have had COVID-19. – Mayo Clinic
As of October 30, 2020 The New York Times reported:
To prevent Covid infection/transmission, aside from the obvious of keeping social distancing, our recommendations are sourced from leading career doctors and scientists:
(1) Agree on a set of safety protocols but most importantly, all members of the ski lease must stick to following them without fail. As a group collectively agree to and implement ‘preventive health measures like frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask when going out in public, to help protect themselves and to reduce the chances of spreading the infection to others.’ – Harvard Health
Have available at all corners of the ski cabin/ski lease from ski lodge entrances to bedrooms, hand sanitizer bottles readily available to use in all community areas/right by high touch shared items, microwave, door knobs, etc.
(2) Use HEPA air purifiers – one for each bedroom, one for the living, dining room area which can remove up to 99.97% of bacteria, molds, and viruses. ‘And long enough exposure to the UV light in an air purifying device can disable some viruses, including COVID-19.’ – https://www.mdanderson.org.
Part 1 – Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series
The boom in backcountry skiing, snowboarding and other snow-sports was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as ski resorts started closing down like falling dominoes starting in March of 2020 as state and local counties mandated ‘stay at home’ (SIP) orders as coronavirus outbreaks spiked.
Winter season 2020/21 will likely see similar trends especially pronounced if resorts are unable to implement effective protocols of limiting on-site visitors’ capacity, and social distancing especially indoors in common areas which will result in COVID infection outbreaks resulting in resorts’ closures.
Back to our topic, our backcountry Q&A feature looks at backcountry from a range of diverse perspectives, from an amateur to expert backcountry skier, from a ski shop small business retailer to backcountry touring guide, these Q&A series provide some key insights and also we’ll list resources to consider for avalanche safety training that is critical to stay safe in the backcountry. Most importantly, we list key resources to connect you with folks who share a passion and love for the backcountry.
Part 1 Q&A interview with Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer who got into backcountry skiing and loves it from the start; she has four winters of experience..
With the impact of resort closures due to the COVID pandemic from mid-March of this year, can you describe from your observations if there’s an increase in demand for backcountry skiing/boarding/snow-sports?
Anecdotally, I can say that I have had a few friends reach out to me expressing interest….these are all folks that have been meaning to try backcountry skiing/splitboarding for at least a couple years but haven’t gotten around to it because it seemed too expensive and like a huge time commitment. We’ve had at least a couple posts and many comments from new folks on the group’s facebook page from folks interested in getting started. Personally, I’ve talked to more current backcountry skiers who are worried about new users flooding the backcountry than I’ve talked to people who plan to go backcountry skiing for the first time.
Do you know if there are backcountry snow sports folks from around the world visiting Tahoe/Sierra Nevada? Would BC visitors be able to connect with your FB group (see link below in resources) BC folks to freeski/split-boarding with when they join your group?
Yes, anyone can join and we love discussion. Lots of members (myself included) have found partners through posting on the group (see link below in resources), and at the very least posting is guaranteed to get you tons of advice from enthusiastic members. While everyone is nervous that an influx of new backcountry users may be a safety concern, I definitely believe that the people who are willing to spend time researching before they go out and asking questions of experienced backcountry users will be better equipped to make better-informed decisions, and I know that all of the moderators are committed to being welcoming and not acting like pompous gatekeepers.
That said, try to get some training before you go out. I wouldn’t feel super comfortable going out with someone who hasn’t had a good amount of practice with their beacon, shovel, and probe; an avalanche rescue course or AVY 1 is a good credential to put partners at ease.
How does a newbie get started in BC in three essential steps? What are just the bare essential set-up for BC skiing or split-boarding?
Step 1/pre-requisite: be comfortable skiing at least moderate un-groomed slopes in all snow conditions.
1) Get comfortable with backcountry equipment. I recommend both practicing what you can at home to make everything less fiddly (step into bindings, put on skins, transition, etc), and spending some quality time skinning without skiing. Cross country ski trails and flat forest service roads are great for skinning practice!
2) Learn to read terrain both from maps before you go out and in the field. I recommend spending lots of time staring at CalTopo maps with the slope angle shading overlay turned on for areas you know well- your usual ski runs are perfect, places you hike frequently, etc. You want to be able to have a mental image of what enjoyable (to you) skiing looks like on a map, so you can identify good potential routes. It’s also critical for being able to identify terrain traps to avoid and safe ascent routes.
3) Take an Avalanche AVY Level 1 course. It’ll help you understand avalanche terrain, improve your decision making process in the backcountry, give you necessary hand-on practice with beacons and probes and digging efficiently, and you may meet some great partners.
Bare minimum setup:
– skis/splitboard with AT, telemark or splitboard bindings
– boots for said bindings
– beacon, shovel, probe
– a comfortable backpack, preferably with a solid separate compartment for your shovel and probe that you can very quickly access
– warm, breathable and sweat-wicking layers…here in California much of my backcountry skiing is in thin soft-shell pants and relatively light base layers, but obviously having warm layers, windproof and waterproof layers is essential for safety and comfort. Packable is usually key too.
Your recommended gear and manufacturers with a success track record of building solid skis and or boards?
I care a lot more about my boots than my skis to be honest, but since you’re asking….Coalition is a Tahoe company that’s pushing the inclusion and equity that I want to see more of in the outdoor industry and makes super fun skis to boot! Also in the area, Moment makes some really killer skis too.
Can you recommend avalanche training outfits and mountain guides locally/in Tahoe/in Reno?
As part of the Mountain Festival, I took a course through Alpenglow Expeditions with Will Sperry and Ali Agee that really built my knowledge and confidence with reading avalanche conditions and terrain! I also can attest to Richard Bothwell (owner of Outdoor Adventure Club) as being a really thoughtful guide who will make you think critically about your risk taking and has a great attitude.
What is the takeaway message you’d like to get out to newbies about the joy of snow sports and the importance of Avy training, on-going BC education and connecting with mentors, ski buddies for safety?
Don’t be scared to reach out and ask questions. The folks worth going out into the mountains with will be happy to share their enthusiasm with you. Try to gain as much competence as you can on your own before going out by ideally taking Avy 1, or at least learning how to read an avalanche forecast, understanding the nine avalanche problems, and trying to solidify your terrain reading skills, and practicing with a beacon, shovel, and probe; then be ready to ask questions and learn.
Anything else you would like to add?
A lot of people assume that backcountry skiers start exploring the backcountry because they’re bored in resorts and want radder lines, but my experience was the opposite. I got interested in skiing because I love spending time in the mountains in the summer and wanted to get to explore the forests and alpine I loved in the winter. I tried cross country skiing once, but it seemed like it would be difficult to access the places I really wanted to go without beefier equipment. I started skiing resorts in January 2016 with the goal of gaining competence for backcountry skiing (but quickly fell in love with skiing because it is insanely fun, who knew?).
I went on my first tour in May 2016 and took Avy 1 the next winter, and since then I’ve become more and more obsessed. I’m still not, and probably will never be, a hotshot skier, but time in the backcountry has definitely helped my confidence in skiing all sorts of different snow and terrain, and the more competent I get, the more fun I have. It’s the hobby that brings me the most joy, I think because I get to have the unparalleled peace that comes with being in the mountains in the snow and the rush of racing down in the same day.
To be honest, COVID precautions are going to make it harder to get comfortable backcountry skiing. I’ve progressed and become more confident thanks to mentorship and some social situations…backcountry cabins, ski races, and classes. Try your hardest to find solid mentors that you feel comfortable going out with. And I can’t overstate the importance of this…be sure you understand what avalanche terrain is, what the nine types of avalanche problems are, and how to read an avalanche forecast before you go out. Lastly, don’t be falsely reassured by having a beacon, shovel, and probe; be sure you’re completely proficient in their use.” – Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer, SF Bay Area resident and a member of the San Francisco Backcountry Skiers Facebook Group.
✔ San Francisco Backcountry Skiers Facebook Group: ‘San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (and Riders) is a resource and inspiration for people in the San Francisco area (and beyond) who are interested in backcountry skiing and riding. SFBS welcomes both experienced and aspiring backcountry skiers and riders.’ Membership type: free, public group. 3.3k members. Visit their FB group page.
✔ SnowPals.org is a non-traditional snow-sports club for busy Bay Area professionals. Join SF Bay Area professionals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies (resort based and backcountry), btw, that’s how we came up with our name: Snow (Snow-Sports) + Pals. Membership type: one-time paid membership fee of $20; join SnowPals. Read members’ intros to get an idea who joins. Founded in 1999 by a small group of friends; we are now 8,249 members and growing. Celebrating our 21st year of connecting folks to expand their circle of snow sports activity partners.
✔ California Ski Company in Berkeley is one of the top ski shop retailer for ski gear for sale and rentals, plus boot fitting and equipment service. Cal Ski Co is a ‘specialty ski shop focused on ski equipment sale and rental since 1989. They sell and rent equipment for both Resort and Backcountry Ski Touring. Their team of expert ski boot fitters are the best in the business. They repair and tune about anything that slides on snow. Looking for a job? Cal Ski Co is currently hiring as of October 29, 2020. Full-time and part-time employment available: job openings, ski tech and boot-fitter. Experience is desirable but not necessary. The only criteria is that you are a skier. Interested or know of someone who is? Email resumes to .’
✔ Backcountry and Outback Adventures for Telemark and Randonee Ski Rentals, Fremont, CA and Larkspur, CA – Outback Adventures is a comprehensive outdoor adventure guide service, rental shop, and paddlesports and nordic ski specialty retailer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Located in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, Wuksachi Lodge is a modern lodge with 102 guestrooms. It offers a cocktail lounge, a full service restaurant and both a retail and ski shop. At an elevation of 7,050 ft. (1,980 m), Wuksachi Lodge is only 4 miles away from the Giant Forest Museum.
Delaware North Parks & Resorts offers multiple services like overnight accommodations, retail, food and beverage, etc. at Kings Canyon National Park in the area of Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. Limited Internet is available in some areas of the main lodge. Wuksachi Lodge is open throughout all the seasons.
At an elevation of 6,500 ft (1,980 m), the Grant Grove Cabins is located in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. It offers 6 types of cabins; some are even opened all year. Main attractions like a sequoia grove, gifts shop, markets and restaurants are half a mile (800m) away from the Grant Grove Cabins. Open: All Year (limited in the winter)
✔ PEAR LAKE WINTER HUT
Managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Pear Lake Winter Hut is a rustic hut of 10 bunk beds that opens during winter and requires reservations but only for wilderness skiers who travel to Pear Lake during the cold season. At an elevation of 9,200 ft. the hut sits high above Lodgepole. This hut includes a wood-pellet stove. To get to it, you need to go through six miles on skis or snowshoes. Reservations can be made online or by phone: 559-565-3759.
Got a key backcountry resource not listed here that you’d like to share? Contact . Advance thanks for sharing.
How for Increase Bookings for your Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey and HomeAway Listing! A Property Owner’s Guide and Effective Tips
No time wasted here so let’s get to it:
(1) Professional photography highly recommended – this is the most important factor if you’d like to attract renters over other listings in the same geographical area. Invest the money to hire a pro photographer to take photos of your rental property especially to feature the amenities that make your rental stands out from the rest, be it hot tub, lake views, prime location, etc.
Even if you have a tight budget, consider hiring an ‘up and coming’ photographer from Craigslist to take professional looking photos of your vacation home/ski lease rental property. And yes, it’s true: “a picture is worth a thousand words” and photos are priceless when it comes to instant appeal which will get you more clicks on your rental listing which equates to more booking inquiries.
(2) Take time to write a clear and concise description of your rental/ski lease listing and be sure to include things such as:
* amenities? what makes your rental property unique? prime location at the base of Squaw? hot tub and sauna?
* how many people can your property sleep/accommodate? How many beds and baths total?
* location and proximity of your property in relation to points of interests in the area: resorts, restaurants, grocery markets, etc.
* is this a family type rental or a group type rental?
* duration of rental/lease: daily, monthly or winter seasonal lease?
* rental/lease rates: discount if booked for longer term? Security deposit? Cleaning fee? Snow plow service included? Utilities included?
* how many covered parking spaces? flat driveway?
* pet friendly? other restrictions?
* for group ski lease, guest fees? full time residence ok?
* for ski lease group, it’s good idea to describe age range of people in the group and preferences for social activities, apres ski happy hour, family type shared meals, etc
* best way to contact you: by email, phone, text or?
* what basic information would you like from potential renters or ski lease members to provide as part of initial email contact so you can get an idea of who they are? Ask renters to share something about themselves such as profession, LinkedIn profile, FB, Instagram, etc.
(3) Make use of well written rental agreements:
Your rental agreement is essential for setting expectations between you and your guests/renters/lease members! It provides a sense of security for all parties involved, and defines the rules and policies for the property prior to their stay. Some key items to include in rental/lease agreements:
* Maximum Occupancy
* Cancellation Policies
* House Rules (very important to be specific)
* Check In/Out procedures (be clear & specific)
* Damage Policy
Consider having your renters/lease members read and sign House Rules and rental policies to show that they clearly understood your rental terms prior to their stay. For example, include in your policy things like where guests can smoke, where they can’t smoke (a fine is levied if they are caught smoking where they aren’t allowed to). Consider including rules and policies on pets, occupancy and type of use (no wild parties, etc).
Visit the following sites to view some examples/templates of Lake Tahoe area lease/rental agreements/terms/contracts/policies:
(4) Complete a rental market research ‘due diligence’: ask yourself.. ‘have I priced my rental or ski lease competitively for the current rental market for my geographical area my rental is located in?’
Do some market research and make sure to price ‘apples to apples’ comparison based on rental location, number of bedrooms, baths, amenities, square footage, etc. If you don’t nail your rental pricing competitively, you won’t get as many rental inquiries no matter how pretty your rental photos look.
Next, perform keyword searches on Airbnb, VRBO and Craigslist among other rental sites to get an idea of what is the current market rate for rentals/ski leases.
(5) Lastly, leverage your social connections (before you submit your listing) by asking family and friends to give you feedback on ways to improve your rental/ski lease listing for clarity, conciseness and appeal.
Looking to share a ski lease or are you a ski lease organizer? We’re trying to gauge interest, consider sharing your input with the following survey..
Like many of you, the ski/snowboard community is trying to adjust to the new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic still at the top of many of our minds. You can help us by sharing your opinion about ski lease housing options.
Please take a few minutes to help us at SnowPals understand your thoughts for the upcoming 2020/2021 Ski Season. Your opinion matters and will help ski Lease/ski club operators better adjust.
Our ski lease share housing survey concluded on 9/21/20. The following are the top level results:
1) Did you participate in a ski lease last season for 2019/2020?
2) Has the Covid-19 crisis & ‘work from home’ changed your ability to ski mid-week? (Select the option the best describes your situation.)
48% Yes, it has changed, I CAN NOW ski mid week!!!
3) What type of membership are you looking for?
66% Full time
4) Are you planning to participate in a ski lease for the 2020/2021 season? Given providers can offer a safer alternative (with Covid-19 exposure minimization as the focus) to a traditional lease?
57% Maybe, it depends on the what the offering is
5) If you were to join a lease this year, how would you join?
48% As an individual
6) If ‘No’, please share with us why you have decided against participation in any ski lease for 2020/21? (Enter ‘N/A’ if you answered ‘Yes’ or ‘Maybe’ previously.)
“Not sure it will work for us. open to reviewing available options, though.”
“I would be comfortable with a ski lease with MY friends, but am wary about joining with strangers due to COVID.”
“This is not the year to risk my family’s health to go boarding. We’ll be hitting the mountains, but most likely traveling up “day of.”
“Currently undecided, waiting to see how pandemic restrictions will be for the winter – if infections will or will not get out of control. It’s really a cost/risk/benefit analysis so still on the fence.”
“Uncertainty about ski resorts operating.”
Due to uncertainty around ski resort opening and constraints around leases, I will figure out after the season has started what I’ll do.
“Limited funds/money for leisure budget this year”
“Not safe to be in a ski lease”
“For my family, it’s a lot of work to ski with a toddler, and they’re not good at social distancing or hygiene. The resort plans kinda sound like a mess, and it’s hard to plan backcountry days when only one of us can go at a time.”
“I don’t trust a group of random skiers to truly be covid safe unless it was proven”
“Covid – too much expanded risk. Last year’s lease had wonderful people – including icu nurse, home healthcare provider. May contribute financially to our ski lease group so it’s in existence a year from now.”
“Haven’t decided yet. Waiting to see if we get COVID infections under control especially during flu season/winter months.”
“I would only join with people I know and trust who agree to keeping the ski lease closed to others.”
7) If you were to participate, which Tahoe area?
South Shore: 28% or about 1 out of 3
North Shore: 55% or about 1/2
8) What are your concerns about joining a ski lease this season?
39% Related to the people I would be joining with (related to Covid-19 exposure)
33% Related to the possibility of limited access to the house vs. the cost to join (because of possible Covid-19 limitations)
9) Which one of these ski lease configurations would be most interesting to you? (Given cleaning and safety options were put in place).
Smaller Bubble Lease: Leasers in small bubbles (4 to 6 lease members). A smaller lease with NO OVERLAP between bubbles of leasers between the weekend and mid-week leasers. Possible guaranteed room for you and your partner. Example: Weekend+ Bubble A (Friday through Monday) has access the first weekend, Midweek has access for 3 days (Tuesday through Thursday), Weekend+ Bubble B has access for the next weekend, repeat.
Survey questions created by Mike K., South Tahoe ski lease organizer.
What are on most people’s minds in regards to 20/21 ski season as winter is coming?
Tahoe winter season poll survey results are in; see how many Bay Area residents plan to sit out 20/21 ski season vs how many people plan to ski, snowboard and how often vs how many people plan to ski, engage in snow-sports in the backcountry?
Poll survey result reveals that 14% of people are planning to sit out this ski season due to COVID concerns, 54% plan to take 11+ trips, and 25% 1-10 trips while 7% plan to ski, ride backcountry or participate in other snow-sports.
Season Pass holders’ message is clear: ski, ride as much as possible contingent on Tahoe resorts’ operations staying opened.
Please feel free to with friends and family ♥
Looking to share a ski lease or looking for a Tahoe area rental for the winter?
As of September 12, 2020 we are about ten weeks away from the start of the 2020/21 ski season which typically kicks off during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and the question on the minds of many skiers’ and snowboarders’ is:
What will the 2020-21 Tahoe ski season will be like during coronavirus with resorts implementing COVID-19 safety measures?
Tahoe area ski resorts indicated that cleaning and sanitation will increase in frequency and rigor and that physical distancing and masks will be required in indoor areas, base areas, lift mazes, on chairlifts and on shuttle buses.
Only related groups can ride together on chairlifts; there will be occupancy limits at indoor spaces and on shuttle buses, and Ski & Ride School will operate with reduced capacities.
Most resorts will have a reservation system to limit resort and slope-side capacity. Resort visitors will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain. Resorts will limit the number of people allowed on site daily. Many will require you to buy your lift pass and book your time on the slopes at least a day in advance; you can no longer just show up on a powder day and buy lift tickets the day of.
Also as many transactions as possible will be conducted online prior to arrival to reduce interactions.
Tip for fresh POWder days & holiday weekends:
Plan ahead by making reservations if you want to ski on a holiday weekend, since resorts are limiting their visitor capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Megan Michelson, a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle, details what Tahoe ski season could look like during coronavirus/COVID-19:
“Winter sports can still happen in the COVID era. Skiing and snowboarding are relatively well suited to a viral outbreak. They take place outside, generally away from others, and skiers are used to wearing face coverings and gloves. But life at ski resorts — assuming they’ll be able to open safely this winter — will not look the same. Many resorts were able to open for limited summer operations, like biking and hiking, and Southern Hemisphere ski resorts in places like Chile and New Zealand opened with strict COVID guidelines. With guidance from public health experts, California ski resorts are now working on reopening plans and how to best protect guests, employees and ski-town communities.
“Things will be different this winter, but we are a highly adaptable industry, having faced droughts, excessive snowfall and road closures,” says Katie Hunter, director of sales and marketing at Sierra-at-Tahoe. “We believe that winter outdoor recreation, when practiced safely, will be a source of healing for people.”
Goggle tans no more
Masks will be required at most ski resorts in congested areas. Vail Resorts — which operates Tahoe’s Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood — is requiring face coverings in designated zones, like inside the lodge, in lift lines and in ski school corrals. “Just as other tourist destinations have required, we must ensure that face coverings are not optional if you are walking around with a drink or snack in your hand,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz wrote in an open letter to guests.
Proper masks are preferable to the standard skiers’ Buff. “Synthetic fibers like those in a Buff are technically not as good as a cotton mask, which has more three-dimensional structure to block the potentially virus-laden droplets more efficiently,” says Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease specialist at UCSF. “But in community mask wearing, fit and convenience trump quality of the mask. For skiers, it’s perfectly fine to use the neck gaiter if it means you will wear it when you need to.”
Give a ski’s length in line
Physical distancing guidelines will also be in place. You’ll find signage and marked spots on the ground to remind you to give at least 6 feet of space while you wait for food, rentals, lifts and other services. You’ll load chairlifts and gondolas only with those in your existing group. (Singles will likely need to ride solo or with empty spaces in between.) Lift lines will inevitably move slower and stretch farther in length.
In the lodge, you’ll find signage that could indicate one-way traffic or specific doors for entering and exiting to eliminate congestion. Yes, everything will take a little longer, but that’s OK. Take a deep breath and be thankful you’re out there.
What day is it anyway?
While everyone used to live by traditional Monday-through-Friday work and school schedules, with schools and jobs going remote, expect to see more crowds midweek and less of a hustle on weekends. With many city dwellers relocating to the mountains with remote jobs, the typical Friday-night traffic flow to Tahoe may be reduced. Best news? If you’ve already relocated to the mountains, your kid can now ski for PE on a Monday and you can squeeze in a midday powder session between Zoom meetings.
Plan your ski days ahead of time
Ticket sales may be capped to limit the number of skiers on the hill each day. Homewood, for example, plans to limit season-pass sales and cap daily lift tickets during peak periods. So this is not the season to spontaneously go skiing. Plan well ahead and purchase lift tickets online and in advance.
“When there are capacity restrictions, you can expect advance registration systems,” says Adrienne Saia Isaac, spokesperson for the National Ski Areas Association. “Ski areas will be responsible for creating clear, up-to-date messaging across their channels, and skiers and riders will need to check the ski area’s website before they hit the slopes to learn about whatever local regulations may be in place.”
Lunch will be served on the tailgate
Ski-town and on-mountain restaurants are pivoting to offer more takeout and outdoor dining options. Think grab-and-go windows, food trucks and patio seating. You’ll still be able to enter lodges and order food, but you’ll find more heat lamps and outdoor firepits to encourage you to dine alfresco. You’ll also see a lot more people packing their own lunch and eating at their car or slopeside condo. In towns like Truckee or South Lake Tahoe, gone are the days of weekend crowds surging popular bars and restaurants. You’ll order food and drinks to go and bring it back to your cabin.
“For skiers, many settings are low risk — particularly those in the open air and while enjoying the slopes,” says Chin-Hong. “One area that is especially at risk is the après-ski setting at the lodge where people may be eating, drinking. I would avoid that area if possible and take your hot chocolate outside or back to your room.”
Carpooling to the mountains with people not in your household is a thing of the past, so you may see an uptick in cars heading from the Bay Area to Tahoe. When in the mountains, you can still ride public transportation like buses or on-demand rides to the ski hill, but plan on wearing a mask, sitting far from others and keeping the windows open. Most likely, you’ll be driving your own car or staying close enough to the mountain that you can walk to the lifts. Before you go, check resorts’ apps or websites for up-to-date parking and transportation tips.
Lifties gone robotic
Resorts are moving many services to digital to reduce face-to-face contact. Take Sugar Bowl. The resort has invested in radio-frequency identification scanning gates at all primary chairlifts for this winter, as well as new self-service stations for other services to promote contactless transactions. It’s official: Gone are the days of human ticket checkers scanning your pass in line. This winter, you’ll purchase or reload your lift ticket, sign up for ski lessons and talk to guest services online or via the resort’s app.
You can always cancel
New cancellation policies and beefed-up refund guarantees are now in place to give you peace of mind in case the ski season gets shut down due to COVID or you need to cancel plans for any reason. Vail Resorts introduced Epic Coverage, which comes free with every Epic Pass this season, to provide refunds for certain resort closures, as well as job loss, illness or injury. Ikon Pass — which works at Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain — now comes with Adventure Assurance to let you defer use of your pass for any reason to next year.
Sierra-at-Tahoe has a Play it Forward Guarantee that lets you credit this year’s pass to next season due to any unforeseen circumstances, and Homewood’s new guarantee offers prorated refunds on passes if the mountain is forced to close before March 1 due to non-weather events.
Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows has tentative plans to open on Nov. 25. “Our team is doing everything we need to do to be ready to offer skiing and riding for the upcoming winter season,” says Ron Cohen, president of Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows. “We are planning for a dynamic environment, building a full set of tools to be able to best respond to whatever comes our way, so that we can continue to offer outdoor recreation to all of our dedicated skiers and riders.” – SF Chronicle.
Looking to join a shared ski lease or are you a ski lease organizer? We’re trying to gauge sentiments, consider sharing your input with the following survey..
Like many of you, the ski/snowboard community is trying to adjust to the new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic still at the top of many of our minds. You can help us by sharing your opinion about ski lease housing options.
Please take a few minutes to help us at SnowPals understand your thoughts for the upcoming 2020/2021 Ski Lease season. Your opinion matters and will help ski Lease operators better adjust. We will publish the top level results for everyone to benefit from.
Survey questions created by Mike K., ski lease organizer.
Ski resorts opening dates and operations are contingent on state and local public health restrictions and guidelines during the pandemic; read the latest on COVID-19 pandemic emergency alert to see what businesses are opened:
“The Tahoe-Truckee region is governed by 6 counties, a city, a town, two states, and the federal government. This can create a lot of confusion even when we aren’t operating under COVID-19 restrictions. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.
Keep in mind, guidelines and laws are changing almost daily; check the latest update at
Bought a ski season pass and waiting for the snow season to start? As of this article’s publication, July 15, 2020 we are looking at about 18 more weeks until the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when most Tahoe resorts open their doors. Make the most of this window of time to get in shape for the ski and ride season.
Have you felt your legs become like jelly/exhausted only half way down the mountain? Implement the following ski and snowboard fitness conditioning program to get in top shape for the ski season.
With COVID19 concerns, you can do these exercises at home while sheltering in place.
Here’s how: add these key ski and snowboard functional conditioning components to your workouts to get in shape..
(1) Interval cardio training exercise aka High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
(2) Lower body strength and agility exercises
(3) Core exercises: abs and back
(4) Stretching and yoga flexibility exercises
and lastly an optional..
5th component: five minutes of mindfulness meditation for grounding 😉
Implementing the above ski/ride conditioning workout will:
✔ Get you in top shape to ski and snowboard
✔ Develop muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance to enjoy a full day of skiing and riding
✔ Develop strong and toned muscles to prevent common ski and snowboarding injuries
*Remember to consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous exercise program.
Are you in shape to last the entire day of skiing / riding? Ever felt out of breathe while skiing and riding? Have you had to stop only 1/5 of the way down the mountain because your leg muscles were exhausted? For sports specific conditioning, it’s best to perform functional exercises that mimics the movements you’ll perform skiing/riding.
It’s easy to gauge your fitness by doing a set of the exercises below and assess how you performed.
For lower body, the following ski conditioning exercises is from a Backcountry article:
Aptly named “Leg Blaster” – a complex of bodyweight leg exercises for dryland ski training. “Eccentric training causes more muscle damage than concentric training. More muscle damage = more muscle soreness the next day. Basically, it’s not the hike up the mountain that will make you sore tomorrow, it’s the hike back down.
The best thing about Leg Blasters is, no equipment is needed. We deploy two versions of the Leg Blaster workout: the “Full” and the “Mini.”
Mini Leg Blaster
10x Air Squats
5x In-Place Lunges (5x each leg, 10x total)
5x Jumping Lunges (5x each leg, 10x total)
5x Jump Squats
Full Leg Blaster
20x Air Squats
10x In-Place Lunges (10x each leg, 20x total)
10x Jumping Lunges (10x each leg, 20x total)
10x Jump Squats
Work up to 5x Full Leg Blasters, with 30 seconds rest between each effort for your dry land ski training. Be careful. Leg Blasters train eccentric leg strength and can make you terribly sore, so don’t start at the end.
Instead, perform Leg Blasters 3x/week, with at least a day’s rest between training sessions, for the 4 weeks before the season starts. This means 12 total training sessions.
Here’s the progression:
10x Mini Leg Blasters, 30 seconds rest between efforts
2x Full Leg Blasters, then 6x Mini Leg Blasters, 30 seconds rest between efforts
3x Full Leg Blasters, 4x Mini Leg Blasters, 30 seconds between efforts
4x Full Leg Blasters, 2x Mini Leg Blasters, 30 seconds rest between efforts
5x Full Leg Blasters, 30 seconds rest between efforts
Here’s how to perform these exercises: watch the video below
Only have three weeks to train? Don’t jump ahead. Start at the beginning of this progression and get as far as you can before the ski hill opens. This isn’t a gentle progression. It’s going to make you sore.
Interval Cardio Exercise aka High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) YouTube Videos
+ 20 minute High Intensity Interval Training Workout For Beginners Home Workout No Equipment Required
+ SKI Fitness and Conditioning HIIT FAT BURN Home Workout 45 minute
“HIIT stands for High-intensity interval training and describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest.
During this 45-minute ski fitness and fat burning workout, we will be alternating between 30 seconds of activity followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Get ready to condition those legs for skiing/riding, build your fitness and burn fat fast!
Science has shown that HIIT style interval training produces 4 times more gains in fitness performance than traditional steady state endurance cardio training.
The scientists say HIIT workouts are not only better at improving fitness but also better at burning fat and building lean muscle than traditional steady state endurance cardio training. So you will burn fat and build muscle at the same time during this workout while conditioning for skiing!
You’re not only going to be burning more calories during the workout you will also burn more after the workout due to something called ‘the after-burn effect’.
The after burn effect is simply the calories you burn after exercise. The more intense the exercise, the greater the after burn effect. HIIT does a great job of shocking the body’s natural repair systems into overdrive which burns more fat, more calories and builds more lean body muscle than traditional steady state endurance cardio training.
This workout doesn’t require use any equipment but you have the option of using an exercise mat, step, and choice of weights.
This HIIT cardio home workout includes loads belly fat burning exercise for women and for men.” – Joe Creek
Full Body Conditioning Exercises for Snowboarders
Fitness Blender created an excellent 28 Minute Snowboard Workout – Conditioning Workout Routine:
“This snowboard workout routine focuses on building base strength and endurance necessary for hitting the slopes hard. Not only is this a great preseason conditioning routine, it also is great for improving strength and endurance throughout the season.
You will want to do this snowboard conditioning workout 2 to 4 times a week. If you have not been training at all during the off season then start with just one set of each of these exercises for the first week, then build up, adding one set each week until you are up to all three.
After that you may want to do two rounds a day if you like to stay on the mountain all day, in order to help build up the extra endurance needed for prolonged physical activity. Though this routine does work to improve cardiovascular activity it is primarily anaerobic, so adding light to moderate cardio will be needed to improve your aerobic cardio endurance, which is also utilized when on the mountain.
You will be going through three sets of ten different exercises in groups of two at a time. The number of repetitions will vary depending on the motion but are generally around 12 to 16.
Each one of these motions directly relates to a specific action while snowboarding to help gain the most functional benefit without wasting time or effort.
Isolation Jump Squats: These are meant to help train your legs to quickly adapt and recover from rapid changes in terrain such as sudden raises or drop-offs or when covering tracked-out areas off of the groomed trails.
Russian Twists: This rotational movement helps build strength in the abdominals, transverse abdominals (obliques), and lower back, which is heavily utilized when in the terrain park but is equally important for basic down hill and back country.
Agility Dots: This exercise is a must-have for almost any sport as it not only builds endurance and coordination throughout the leg but also does wonders for building lateral stability in the knee. This move is best when done with a single leg, but you should always start with both legs if you have never attempted it before.
Tricep Dips: Being able to get up off the ground is just as important as staying up. This motion will help build arm endurance and strength, making it easier for you to get back on your feet.
Single Leg Lateral Hops: These build lateral strength in the knees as well, but develop more lateral power than the agility dots.
Squat Calf Raises: This helps build endurance in those calves and legs to keep you on your toe edge.
Single Leg Ventral Hops: Similar to the lateral hops, this helps build knee support and more strength through the hip than the agility dots.
Squat Toe Raises: This helps build endurance in the shins and legs to keep you on your toe edge as well as improve balance and control.
Jump Turns: These not only help build overall leg strength, body control, and balance, but they will help you power through back country trees or do a quick 180 hop to change your leading leg.
Plank to Side Stars: This exercise is primarily meant for core control but it is also excellent for building balance when your body orientation, inner ear, and visual intake are all changing simultaneously.” – Fitness Blender.
Core Conditioning Exercises for Abs, Obliques and Lower Back
Fitness Blender’s core exercises is a great way to develop core strength:
“This routine can be done any time of day though if done first thing in the morning you may want to take the time to warm your body up a bit extra before you start. Other than that there are no suggested restrictions as long as you have built up your endurance to be able to do it in conjunction with any other physical activity. With these workouts and a healthy diet, you can definitely see drops in body fat and scale weight as a side benefit of getting fit for hitting the slopes.” – Fitness Blender.
Stretching and Yoga Flexibility Exercises
“Stretching is a very important and often overlooked component of training for the winter sports season. Skiing and snowboarding both use a wide range of movements that are sporadic, sudden, and potentially stressful for muscles and ligaments. Make this stretching routine a priority while you are training for the sport, and before and after a day on the mountain, and you will significantly reduce the likelihood of soreness and injury.” – Fitness Blender.
Yoga for Riders | Yoga for Skiers | Yoga for Snowboarders 10-minute pre-ride sequence
* Common question: if the ski season ends up bringing record low snowfall levels for the Lake Tahoe area, which season pass is a best value buy so I can have the option to ski other destinations blessed with fresh powder?
Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.
I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.
When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.
Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.
What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.
What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.
(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.
(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource is to search for Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals available as a seasonal ski lease listed on SnowPals rentals page.
(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease membership opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.
The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.
So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.
So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:
What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.
So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.
Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.
For rental property and ski lease tips/guide/how to, read ..
For group ski lease cabin share setups among ski lease members, friends or families, a frequently asked question is..
Question: How can we keep track of who is going to be at the ski cabin on which date(s) and who is inviting guest(s), share cabin to do list and tasks, and who’s bringing what grocery items to share, etc. Is there a website or a group management tool/app where a group can sign in to manage and share an online calendar that could be used to keep group logistics organized?
Answer: Make use of a digital online calendar to organize schedules, keep track of members and guests visits, grocery lists, ski cabin to do list, errands and maintenance tasks.
Here’s a summary of online calendar that is easy to use and works for all members of your ski lease rental group:
(1) GOOGLE CALENDAR WITHIN GOOGLE GROUPS: Google Calendar is perhaps the most popular free digital online calendar; use it as part of Google Groups to effectively communicate with ski lease members and organize tasks, communications and collaborate everything in one central location. It’s simple and easy to use, and you can schedule tasks and events and share the calendar with group members. Visit https://groups.google.com | How to use Google Groups.
(2) TRELLO: “Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. Visit https://trello.com
(3) COZI: This app is great for those who share ski cabins. Each person who is granted access can log in using only his/her email address and a shared master password. Besides the standard calendar, Cozi also allows for the creation of shopping lists, to-do lists, meal plans, a family journal and a family photo screen saver. You can also assign a different color to each member. For example, if you assign the color red to Uncle Bob, red will show up on the calendar during the weekend that he plans to be at the cabin. Best of all, this app works across multiple platforms, including iPhone/iPad and Android devices. The basic app is free, but you can also upgrade to Cozi Gold for even more options. Visit https://www.cozi.com
(4) THE VACATION CALENDAR: geared toward vacation home owners, this website includes a lot of cool features, such as a house blog and a photo album where everyone can post photos and comment on them. Authorized users can schedule vacations in the calendar, and the house bulletin board offers a convenient place to store contact information, cabin rules and instructions, directions, area attractions and more. You can even list and schedule out individual cabin bedrooms, so you never have to worry about whether there will be enough room for everyone. Cost: $20 a year (free to try for the first month). Visit https://www.thevacationcalendar.com
Are you using an online group management tool that’s not mentioned here for your ski lease or rental that you’d like to recommend? to share your favorite online calendar.
Lake Tahoe property owners, are you looking into turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease? Consider the following tips when drafting your lease agreement ..
Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements
The following article was written by David B. Cronheim, an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA
It’s that time of year again. Winter is just around the corner and skiers and snowboarders are beginning to book their winter getaways. Most homeowners and real estate agents are focused on getting their properties ready for the busy ski season ahead. Understandably, the rental agreement they use to rent those properties is often one of the last things they consider. After all, many have a form agreement – often the same one they have used for years – and use it for every rental. The importance of a good lease is often overlooked.
Why should a homeowner or real estate agent care about having a well-drafted lease, particularly when the chances of litigation are remote? Simple. A good lease affords powerful protections. Basic issues like nightly rates, cleaning fees, and damage deposits are only a small part of any good rental agreement. A lease sets expectations in advance, can prevent problems before they arise and puts the law more clearly on the owner’s side in the event of a dispute. Even if you don’t plan on suing any of your guests, by setting expectations before arrival you may be able to deter destructive conduct. Unruly groups inclined to break the rules may look elsewhere if they understand the potential financial consequences.
It’s also good general practice to communicate clearly with potential guests. Commit conversations to writing via e-mail, but choose your words carefully. You’re not trying to sneak something past a potential guest, but rather trying to set expectations.
A carefully drafted lease is key to successfully renting out a ski house.
Before discussing how to draft a better lease, it is important to note that a lease is not technically a contract. It is similar to a contract and generally interpreted under contract law principles, but because it is also a conveyance of real property (albeit a temporary one), a lease has some important areas of distinction from a normal contract. The most important distinction is that a rental guest is not merely a party to a contract, but a tenant afforded certain rights under state landlord-tenant laws.
It is worth noting that an effective agreement doesn’t need to be long. In fact some of the best agreements are simple, but on-point. However, there are certain elements which all rental agreements should include. These components may seem obvious, but their nuances are often overlooked. Below are some tips for drafting a better lease for your vacation rental.
Every lease agreement should specify a rental period. Be specific. Instead of using just a date, use a date and time. State check-in and check-out times clearly. This is particularly important because houses are often rented by two groups back to back. List a morning time for check-out and an afternoon time for check-in. Well-drafted leases often also include an hourly fee for late check-outs. You don’t have to assess the fee, but when guests know it’s hanging over their heads, they’re more likely to leave on time.
Clearly state the rental rate. Even if the rate is calculated nightly, include a sum total. Be sure to note whether the rate includes things like taxes, cleaning fees, or surcharges. Have the guest initial next a grand total. Being clear upfront isn’t only important from a legal standpoint, it’s good business. Guests will feel blindsided by hidden fees, often leaving a bad taste and lessening the chances the guest becomes a repeat customer.
Security Deposit vs. Insurance
Many sophisticated property owners or real estate agents will give guests a choice between a security deposit and rental insurance. Providing this option can make your property more attractive because many guests are wary of putting down a large damage deposit. Some guests may have experienced unscrupulous owners who wrongfully retained all or some of their deposit. Still others may view the deposit as part of the overall cost of the rental, even though it will be returned. Either way, be sure to protect yourself by requiring one or the other.
If you decide to go with a security deposit, be explicit that the guest is liable for any damage to the property regardless of whether it exceeds the security deposit. Withholding a security deposit is merely your first recourse. Should a guest do serious damage to the property, you want to reserve the right to sue (or threaten to sue) them to recover for your loss.
Tailor the Agreement to Your Property
A one-size fits all, “fill in the blanks” lease from the internet is not the best way to maximize your protections. Make sure that your agreement is tailored to your property. Every property is unique and has unique challenges. Consider issues you may have had in the past and try to anticipate future problems. For example, are guests damaging your wooden floors by clomping around in ski boots? Include a clause prohibiting ski boots in the house.
Do you have a specific list of “House Rules” that you post somewhere on the property or give to guests before or upon arrival? Incorporate these rules by reference into your lease and attach them as an exhibit. Require guests to agree to abide by the rules. Incorporating your house rules transforms polite suggestions into legal duties.
Keep it Simple – No Overly Long or Complex Agreements!
An agreement that is too long, complicated or written in “legal-ese” can scare off potential guests. Mean what you say and say what you mean, but say it as simply and clearly as possible. If you find yourself using phrases like “party of the second part” and “inter alia,” start over.
It’s important to keep in mind that a good lease does not have to be long. Each of the specific issues discussed in this article can be accomplished in a well-written sentence or two apiece. Keep it simple so guests understand what they are signing. They are less likely to object to you enforcing your rights under the lease if they understood your rights and their duties when they entered into the agreement.
Specific Provisions to Consider Including
Liquidated Damages Clause
Liquidated damages clauses can be a powerful tool. State with specificity that if guests do something they shouldn’t, a certain fee will apply. The fee should be reasonable and roughly approximate damage. For example, include a provision that failure to replace the cover on a hot tub or to take out the trash will result in certain deductions from the security deposit.
It is important to remember that these provisions cannot be penalties. The law disfavors penalty clauses. Courts generally will not enforce them, so be sure to tie the liquidated damages provision to a reasonable estimate of the damage. A fee of $2,000 for failing to take out the trash won’t be enforceable, but $50 probably would be.
No Refund for Bad Weather
You’ll likely want to include a provision disclaiming responsibility for unfavorable weather. If it rains or there’s no snow, you want to make sure the lease is still in effect. No one can control the weather, but you can control who takes the risk of bad weather (hint: not you!).
Right of Entry of Homeowner at Reasonable Time
If you’re concerned about unruly guests and want to be able to check on your house during the guests’ stay, consider a clause permitting you to enter for a reasonable purpose. Include what those reasonable purposes may be.
Rental Only to Family Groups
If you don’t want to rent to groups of college kids throwing a keg party, don’t. Insert a provision which states you only rent to family groups. Then make the lease signer represent that the group is a family group. You can always remove this clause if the circumstances warrant.
In conjunction with restricting your rental to family groups, a maximum occupancy can deter the type of destructive guests you don’t want. Include a per guest fee for overcapacity, should you discover it. Deduct that fee from the deposit if you discover guests exceeding the maximum occupancy.
Representations and Warranties
Be careful not to promise something you don’t have. If that hot tub hasn’t worked in years, don’t list it as an amenity on your promotional materials.
Immediate Termination of Lease and Repossession by Homeowner in Event of Breach
A recurring problem facing homeowners is what to do when they discover unruly conduct at their property while the guests are still there. Consider a provision that allows you to immediately regain possession of the property for a material breach of the lease. It’s important to note, however, that you’d technically still need to go to court to evict the guests because they’re tenants, but you can always tell the unruly guests to vacate before you’re forced to get the sheriff to serve an eviction notice.
The most important thing a strong lease can do for a property owner is save them money. Having a professionally drafted lease is a small upfront cost that pays off over the long term. A good lease can put arguments to rest before they turn nasty by setting expectations in advance. A clear, concise agreement which protects your interests is a valuable tool for any homeowner. After all, if a dispute does occur, you have your answer. It’s all right there in black and white.
Author David B. Cronheim, Esq. is the Chief Legal Correspondent for First Tracks! Online and is an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA in Bridgewater, N.J. For more information or for assistance in drafting or updating a vacation rental agreement, please feel free to contact the author at . Source: http://www.firsttracksonline.com
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Looking to join a Tahoe area ski lease to max out your ski season pass, expand your circle of ski buddies, get a place to store your ski gear and people to ride-share to your fave resorts? Browse ski leases @
A frequently asked question we get from beginner to intermediate snowboarders is..
What are the essential and most effective protective/safety gear available for snowboarding?
When you’re learning to snowboard/ride, you will likely fall in the process of learning the skills required to become competent enough to ride and progress to steeper mountain slopes and terrain.
In addition, for those who would like ride and play in snowboard parks, protective gear will help protect you while doing park features.
For snowboarding, some common snowboarding injuries include knee, chest, elbow, wrist, hips and tail bone.
To protect yourself from snowboarding injuries, the following are ‘must-have’ protective gear since the cost of injury (surgery, medical costs, rehab, pain/suffering, etc) outweigh the cost of buying protective gear; here’s a list of gear you should consider using while learning to snowboard:
A helmet is essential to protect your head against injury and concussions. Helmets keep you safe especially when you are learning a new skill or fall/crash when you pick up speed going down the mountain. Always wear a helmet to prevent serious head injuries. Browse sale and clearance deals at REI.
Above photo: Smith Snowboarding Helmet on Sale at REI
(2) Wrist Guards
For beginners, during a fall, they tend to brace themselves/soften the fall with their hands. Wrist injuries are often problematic since even minor wrist injuries can take at minimum of eight weeks to heal since we use our wrists and hands daily so it’s difficult to heal. A good pair of wrist guards is essential when you’re learning to snowboard. Browse sale and clearance deals at REI.
Above photo: Burton Wrist Guards on Sale at REI
Knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads, and butt pads are all designed to help prevent you from injuring yourself especially when you have a hard impact with pact snow and icy surfaces. When learning new tricks in the parks, wearing pads not only protects you but also give you a boost in confidence. Browse sale and clearance deals at REI.
Above photo: Burton Impact Shorts helps protect your hips and butt
Back injuries are not as common for snowboarders, however certain high risk movements in the parks can cause serious injury. However, wearing a back protector will likely restrict your upper-body movement. Browse sale and clearance deals at REI.
(4) Knee Pads
Knee pads can protect you from knee injuries. Try knee pads out to see how they fit, feel and explore the range of movements allowed by the knee pads. Make sure you get the right fit so that the knee pads won’t slide down your leg when you’re snowboarding. Knee pads restrict how much you can flex your knees on jumps, or bend down to get a low turn without feeling a pinch. Browse sale and clearance deals at REI.
Above photo: Burton Snowboarding Knee Pads
When you are learning to ride and/or do park features, it’s wise to use the snowboarding protective gear to help prevent injuries. The protective snowboarding gear not only prevent injuries but also prevents both tangible (costly surgery, meds, etc) and intangible (personal rehab time, pain/suffering) setback. As you progressed and become more skilled, you can opt out of wearing most of the recommended protective gear, however, it’s best to always wear a helmet to protect your head from injuries.