Get 1/2 off NorCal Ski Fest Membership, includes 2 for 1 lift tickets at Squaw Alpine & Bear Valley Resort

norcal-ski-fest-membership
Need a last minute gift? Give the gift of lift tickets! Buy a 2020/21 NorCal Ski Fest Membership for family, friends and yourself.

A $14.99 membership gives you access to:

(1) a 2 for 1 Lift Ticket to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Mon-Fri Pass, Non-Holiday (an adult lift ticket for Squaw Alpine costs $99 to $209 based on the date you select: supply & demand/holiday periods/weekends, etc)

(2) a 2 for 1 Lift Ticket to Bear Valley Mon-Fri Pass, Non-Holiday (an adult lift ticket for Bear Valley Mountain Resort costs $120 to $139 based on the date you select: supply & demand/holiday periods/weekends, etc)

(3) a Rainbow Mountain Free Ski or Snowboard Package Rental (a $32 value) or if you already have your own skis or snowboard, get a Performance Tune-up (a $35 value), Non-Holiday

NorCal Ski Fest is looking to add more deals as the snow falls so keep checking back!

Quantities are very limited based on NorCal Ski Festival contract agreements with the respective resorts; buy as a gift or for yourself as we expect to sell out especially with back to back snow storms inbound for Lake Tahoe starting on Christmas day and into the following week – the National Weather Service forecast for the next seven days:

tahoe-nws

Purchase a $14.99 Membership Now

skifest-membership

with family & friends to plan a Lake Tahoe ski, snowboarding trip getaway.


Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series, part 8

Photo Credit: Eddy van der Kloot

Part 8 – 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.

Of particular concern is that finally CDC acknowledges that the coronavirus infection transmission is airborne by aerosols which means it is highly contagious. This fact does not bode well so we’ll see how this flu season and winter months play out.

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 8 Q&A interview with Eddy van der Kloot, founder and creator of BackcountrySkiMaps.com

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?

There’s been a definite uptick in people’s interest in the backcountry ever since COVID shut down lifts back in March, and I expect that this season will be the busiest yet for ski touring in Tahoe. Although the season has barely started, I’ve already seen an increase in demand for maps this year, which I suspect is a decent proxy for the increase in backcountry usage we’re about to see!

How did you get into creating Tahoe/Sierra topographical maps?

I’ve always been a map nerd – you don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent looking at CalTopo and Google Earth. After several years of backcountry skiing in Tahoe, I went up to Whistler and was pleasantly surprised to find that John Baldwin had made some incredible maps for touring in the area. That made me realize that nothing like that existed for Tahoe. There isn’t even a Tahoe-specific guidebook (though there are a few guidebooks which include some descents by the lake), much less anything that you can take out into the field. How were new ski tourers supposed to know where to go?

How many years have you been doing this and what do you find rewarding about it?

I’m in my third year of making maps now, and it’s been a rewarding process from start to finish. The whole undertaking has been a huge learning experience, which I always enjoy, but the biggest reward is when customers reach out to me and tell me how my maps have helped them have their best days in the backcountry. Ski touring has brought me so much joy, and it’s great to be able to help others get that same experience.

In terms of backcountry experience, what types of BC experience do you have? Do you go to the backcountry with a few friends or by yourself?

I don’t know how many hundreds of backcountry days I have under my belt now, but I’ve done everything from traverses to steep couloir skiing, pow days to ski mountaineering descents, and springtime corn runs to early winter bike-to-hike-to-ski days. That’s one of the joys of backcountry skiing – there are so many different ways to do it that it always keeps you interested.

I’ve done a handful of solo days, but I prefer to go out in a group of 2-4 people. I find that makes for the best combination of safety in numbers without causing too much groupthink when considering avalanche conditions.

What do you like about the backcountry?

Skiing pow without the anxiety of beating the lines at the resort certainly comes to mind first! But there’s also something enjoyable about the physical challenge of big days out. And of course getting into proper nature, away from the craziness of the resorts is a huge plus too. When I got into backcountry skiing, it was so that I could ski pow days after the resorts had been skied out, but it turns out that even the uphill is fun!

What was the most challenging part for you in creating these topo maps? How long did it take you to complete one coverage area section?

When I started the project I already had years of GPS data from my watch stored on my computer, so I thought it would be easy to just stick it on a map and go. That turned out not to be the case – there’s a ton of additional work that goes into getting things looking good, and even once the maps are printed and ready to go it takes a lot to maintain the website, find retailers, keep up with customer service, and try to give back to the community by doing things like running fundraisers with the Sierra Avalanche Center (and this winter also the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center). It took me about 8 months of full-time work to get the first map done, but after working on my processes I can now do that in about half the time. That of course doesn’t include the years of backcountry skiing to know where all the lines are – but thankfully that’s the fun part!

Name three favorite backcountry spots you like that’s not crowded?

I’m a huge fan of Herlan Peak (on the Tahoe: Best of the Rest map), for both tree skiing during storms and steep skiing when things are stable. It doesn’t hurt that you stare straight at the lake most of the time that you’re skiing there. The area around Echo and Angora Peaks has always been a favorite of mine too – it’s stacked with little chutes and couloirs, but doesn’t see nearly as much traffic as nearby Tallac or the West Shore peaks. For my last pick I’ll go with Carson Pass – it can get busy early and late season, but there’s so much terrain down there that it’s always easy to get away from the crowds if you know where to go. There are some huge bowls back there, some fun traverses to do, and of course the Crescent Moon Couloir is one of the best around Tahoe.

Final question: what is it about your backcountry ski topo maps that stands out from other maps available on the net?

First off, I don’t think that anything as comprehensive for ski touring exists on paper or on the net. Between the three paper maps (Tahoe: North, Tahoe: Southwest and West Shore, and Tahoe: Carson Pass) and the one digital-only map (Tahoe: The Best of the Rest) there’s something like 300 ski descents, each of which includes an approach (or several different approaches) and distance and elevation gain statistics. Then there’s the self-contained guide photos and text on the back. With about 16-20 of the top descents detailed with descriptions and color photos, the maps make it easy to get into the backcountry without needing to look up additional info elsewhere.

Would you like to add anything else?

If this is your first year in the backcountry, do yourself a favor and get educated before going out. Take an avalanche course, go out with more experienced friends, and always err on the side of caution. And if you’re the kind of heathen that bootpacks or pisses in the skintrack, may Ullr smite you with breakable crusts, sastrugi, and death cookies on all of your backcountry adventures from this day until the end of time!

Get the Inside Scoop on the best spots for skiing, splitboarding Tahoe Sierra backcountry:

Five backcountry topographical maps to choose from:

(1) Lake Tahoe: Southwest and West Shore

(2) Lake Tahoe: North Shore

(3) Lake Tahoe: Carson Pass

(4) Lake Tahoe: the Best of The Rest of Tahoe

(5) And ..Mammoth, California

Purchase a Lake Tahoe Backcountry Ski Topographic Map and Guidebook – use snowpals21 promo discount coupon code to get 10% off your purchase for hard copy maps and digital maps for your smartphone.

backcountry-topo-maps-2020

Part 1 

Part 1 Backcountry skiing Q&A interview with Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer who got into backcountry skiing and loves it from the start; she has four winters of experience.

Part 2 

Read our Q&A with Greg of California Ski Company, a retail store specializing in ski, backcountry, and touring gear and service based in Berkeley, CA.

Part 3 

Interview with Robert Shattuck, founder of San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (SFBS) Community on Facebook Groups.

 Part 4

Interview with Richard Bothwell, Backcountry Touring Guide and Director of the Outdoor Adventure Club

Part 5 

Interview with Carl Hlavenka, ski patroller with Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol and California Winter Search and Rescue Team North

Part 6 

Interview with Shane Robinson Owner & Lead Guide at Graybird Guiding based out of the Pacific Northwest (PNW)

Part 7 

Interview with Mathias Bjoern, Founder of 48 FreeRiders, a backcountry ski, board community based out of Denmark

Backcountry Skiing, Snow-Sports Resources

✔ 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.

Sierra Avalanche Center’s education resources where you can get the backcountry safety education and hands on training

Lake Tahoe Backcountry Ski Topographic Maps and Guidebook

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.

Sequoia National Park Lodging WUKSACHI LODGE

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.

GRANT GROVE CABINS

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.

* Browse Tahoe area rentals and private seasonal ski leases:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/rentals/

* Browse shared ski leases: :
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/leases/

* How to increase bookings for your rental, ski lease listing on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, Craigslist:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/2020/property-owners-guide-tips-create-appealing-listing-vacation-rental-ski-lease/

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Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series, part 1

Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer

Photo Credit: www.jshawphoto.com Jonathan Shaw Photography

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.

Of particular concern is that finally CDC acknowledges that the coronavirus infection transmission is airborne by aerosols which means it is highly contagious. This fact does not bode well so we’ll see how this flu season and winter months play out.

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
– skins
– poles
– 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.

human-powered-backcountry

backcountry-skiing

edward-caldwell-photography

Photo Credits: Edward Caldwell Photography https://edwardcaldwell.com

Part 2 

Read our Q&A with Greg of California Ski Company, a retail store specializing in ski, backcountry, and touring gear and service based in Berkeley, CA.

Part 3 

Interview with Robert Shattuck, founder of San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (SFBS) Community on Facebook Groups.

 Part 4

Interview with Richard Bothwell, Backcountry Touring Guide and Director of the Outdoor Adventure Club

Part 5 

Interview with Carl Hlavenka, ski patroller with Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol and California Winter Search and Rescue Team North

Part 6 

Interview with Shane Robinson Owner & Lead Guide at Graybird Guiding based out of Baker Mt, WA

Part 7 

Interview with Mathias Bjoern, Founder of 48 FreeRiders, a backcountry ski, board community based out of Denmark

Backcountry Skiing, Snow-Sports Resources

✔ 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.

Sierra Avalanche Center’s education resources where you can get the backcountry safety education and hands on training

Lake Tahoe Backcountry Ski Topographic Maps and Guidebook

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.

Sequoia National Park Lodging WUKSACHI LODGE

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.

GRANT GROVE CABINS

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.

* Browse Tahoe area rentals and private seasonal ski leases:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/rentals/

* Browse shared ski leases: :
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/leases/

* How to increase bookings for your rental, ski lease listing on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, Craigslist:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/2020/property-owners-guide-tips-create-appealing-listing-vacation-rental-ski-lease/

♥ Share this page with friends and family via twitterfacebook.

 

 

How to Draft Effective Ski Lease/Rental Property Rental Agreements

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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 ..

How to Draft Effective Ski Lease/Rental 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.

DRAFTING TIPS

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.

Term

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.

Rate

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.

Occupancy Caps

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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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