Back in 2022, Homewood Mountain Resort seemed like it was going to become the latest private ski resort. Citing diminishing visitors and the rise of mega passes, the California ski resort announced that they would be transitioning towards a members-only model. After locals, led by the non-profit Keep Homewood Public, voiced their opposition to these plans, Homewood shifted course. This month, Homewood announced they will remain open to the public. They are still planning to sell memberships but will keep the ski resort accessible to locals.

According to Tahoe Guide, Harry Hirsch, who’s the vice president and general manager of Homewood, said the following at a Nov. 7 Breakfast club meeting:

“I know there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding our beautiful resorts and I’m just glad to share some pretty exciting updates with you. First and foremost, Homewood is and will continue to be reserved for all to enjoy. So, we are not closing our doors to passholders or daily ticket buyers and we will be open for all including our local community.”

The main planned addition is the replacement of the Madden chairlift with a high-speed detachable gondola. This gondola will speed up what is currently a very slow ride, so this gondola would make Homewood a year-round destination. The bottom terminals will have food and beverage spaces, while the top terminal will add a mid-mountain amenity space that’s open to everyone.

Other planned additions, which will be available to the public, include an ice skating rink, a boutique hotel, a general store, a gathering space for festivals and farmers markets, a community swimming pool, and an amphitheater. For the ski resort’s infrastructure, snowmaking and grooming equipment will be added. To improve traffic, parking reservations will now be required at Homewood.

However, these changes won’t come without an update to their master development plan. We received word from Keep Homewood Public that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TPRA) and Placer County jointly informed Discovery Land Company (the developer that is working with the owner of the ski resort: JMA Ventures) that they would not approve any one-off permits, including for the gondola, without a comprehensive update to the resort’s Master Plan, which must address public access. A key contention point in the battle against privatization was how this altered from Homewood’s approved 2011 master plan.

Here’s Keep Homewood Public’s reaction to these latest developments:

“We consider this a huge win – it shows that TRPA and Placer County are listening to feedback from over 2400 community members who are wary of Discovery’s intentions. We anticipate Discovery submitting this plan within the next few months.

That said, the battle isn’t over. Discovery’s behavior at their other properties, such as Barbuda, Loch Tay, Baker Bay, and Yellowstone Club, shows a pattern of telling regulators what they want to hear, then ignoring their promises – even contracted commitments – once they get the permits they need. More here.

We intend to continue holding regulators accountable to the Master Plan, and will challenge any submission from Discovery that does not include enforceable specifics on public access, architecture, community enhancement elements, and lift/lodge upgrades.”

Homewood’s projected opening date is December 15th. However, the ski resorts around Tahoe are pretty bare at the moment, so that could be moved back.

Image Credits: Homewood Mountain Resort

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