Reno Tahoe USA: What's New in 2012

2012-08-15

The constantly changing face of Reno Tahoe USA has many projects in the works. Here are the highlights from the last year, as well as continuing improvements throughout the destination.    
 
HOTELS & CASINOS  
 
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe – Resort, Spa Casino
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino has completed a $20 million renovation of its guestrooms, Sierra Café and the Spa Terrace Conference Center. Resting along the edges of one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world, Hyatt is fulfilling its vision of a truly unique mountain respite at Lake Tahoe. The property’s 398 guest rooms make up the bulk of the project, with $18 million worth of improvements; including, oak furniture complementing new carpeting of dark gray mocha, back-lit mirrors, modern showers, locally-themed artwork and “jack packs,” all-in-one media hubs that easily pair the television with laptops and media players. A $500,000 upgrade of Hyatt’s meeting space, featuring seven rooms and 3,000 sq. ft., was completed at the end of 2011. The meeting facilities stay true to the resort’s contemporary “Grand-Lodge” look, now with state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities and drop-down screens. The all-day dining restaurant, Sierra Café, received a $1.5 million facelift of its own, with contemporary oak tables and leather seating complementing the always-spectacular outdoor dining area. http://laketahoe.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp?src=agn_smg_hr_ppc_google_ss_propertyspecific_tvllt_hyattregencylaketahoe&k_clickid=51b97ab1-805e-8148-7a09-000009e03354
 
Grand Sierra Resort
Under new ownership, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is currently undergoing a $25 million renovation. The main entrance features the chandelier from the original MGM Hotel and Casino, which is now surrounded by fresh lounge-style seating and digital displays featuring the beautiful Reno Tahoe area. The lobby has seen a substantial upgrade from carpeting to rubbed bronze and brushed aluminum highlights at check-in. Guest rooms throughout the resort are also being upgraded to reflect the chic design of the property’s Summit Suites. Located in the heart of the casino floor, the new, premier ultra-lounge, WET features flair bartenders, live music and exclusive design features. Grand Sierra Resort has added a small-plate Mexican restaurant called Cantina, which provides an authentic experience as well as a variety of more than 115 different tequilas. Grand Sierra Resort is one of the largest convention center resorts in the country, with more than 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space which will soon be experiencing its portion of the renovation. http://grandsierraresort.com/  
 
 
Peppermill Resort Spa Casino
In September 2011, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino said goodbye to its natural gas boilers when it completed a two-year project to harness the power of a geothermal well more than a mile beneath the resort. The $9.7 million project started in 2009, and was completed shortly after engineers found a sufficiently heated water source more than 4,400 feet underground. Geothermal energy now heats all 2.1 million sq. ft. of the Peppermill as well as all of the property’s water, including the 43,000 sq. ft. Spa Toscana and two outdoor swimming pools and spas. This environmentally friendly project will save the Peppermill millions of dollars in heating costs, while greatly reducing the property’s carbon footprint.  The geothermal well is said to be the deepest in the City of Reno, and the Peppermill is said to be the only resort property in the U.S. whose heating source is totally provided from geothermal energy produced on the immediate property. http://www.peppermillreno.com/    
 
Boulder Bay
Something awesome is coming to North Lake Tahoe, we’re just not quite sure when. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has approved construction of the Boulder Bay project. The four-story, 275-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino is expected to be built over three years, beginning as early as 2012.
Organizers say the mission of Boulder Bay is to create a vibrant cultural village that benefits the community and the environment. The village will transform the existing Tahoe Biltmore property into an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, community oriented center that will revitalize Crystal Bay. The project promises to remove 90% of the total and fine sediment from storm water runoff in the area, a move that will benefit Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity. The project promises to not only be energy efficient, but to also create a sense of community and contribute more than 200 jobs in Crystal Bay. http://www.boulderbayresort.com/        
 
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS
 
Reno-Tahoe International Airport
Reno-Tahoe International Airport is in the middle of a 17-month, $26 million construction program that will extend a Lake Tahoe theme throughout the first floor of the terminal building, while creating a single security checkpoint and dramatically improving the restaurants and stores. The Gateway Project will enhance the travel experience for four million people each year. When complete in April 2013, the Gateway Project will make the all-important first and last impression on travelers. Phase I is now complete, with the theme of the ticketing lobby extending throughout the first floor of the terminal to make the all-important first and last impression on travelers. New features in baggage claim include the removal of the carpet and the installation of tile that evokes images of the Truckee River. Rock features have also been installed on the columns and the shiny chrome ceiling has been muted to blend with the Lake Tahoe theme. The second phase of the Gateway Project is underway, with a new restaurant that will allow the current food court to close for construction of the new "Checkpoint of the Future" on the first floor. At the same time, a new dining and shopping area will be built on the second floor. http://www.renoairport.com/construction/  
 
I-80 Design-Build Project
This project has been commissioned for the 10 miles of Interstate 80 that connect the cities of Reno and Sparks. Improvements include pavement rehabilitation, Intelligent Transportation Systems improvements, upgraded and updated signing and striping, operational improvements and new landscaping and aesthetics throughout the project corridor. The I-80 Design-Build Project is scheduled for completion in 2012. http://www.keeprenosparksmoving.com/  
 
I-80 Improvements in the Sierra Nevada
A five year project to improve the drive from Northern California to Reno Tahoe USA is more than halfway complete. The California Department of Transportation began several construction projects on Interstate 80 between Colfax, California and the Nevada State line in March of 2009. Actual project timelines vary, but weather permitting construction takes place between March and November each year from 2009-2013. Improvements to I-80 include removal and replacement of worn roadway, rehabilitation of ramps, improving drainage, widening of shoulders and replacement of metal guardrails. This project is scheduled for completion in 2013. http://www.getacross80.com/        
 
DESTINATION IMPROVEMENTS & DEVELOPMENTS  
 
CommRow
CommRow is the first Urban Adventure Destination in Reno Tahoe USA. The non-smoking, non-gaming property opened near the historic Reno Arch in October of 2011. CommRow features the world’s tallest competition climbing wall, towering 164’ above the Virginia St. A state-of-the-art bouldering facility is also located on the second floor. The facility features boulders 15' in height, with 2,900 sq. ft. of bouldering surface. Two live entertainment venues can accommodate audiences of up to 700 people. Future plans include lodging, and a zip line leading to a roof-top skate park. CommRow announced in August of 2012 that it is planning an additional $10 million project that would open the property’s hotel rooms, expand to neighboring properties and could result in a formal name change. Stay tuned! http://www.commrow.com/    
 
Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, affectionately known as The Discovery by supporters, members and friends, opened to the public in September 2011. The 64,000 square-foot discovery museum located in Reno's former City Hall has seven permanent, but ever-changing galleries—Truckee Connects, Cloud Climber, Under the Stars, Build It!, Da Vinci's Corner, Little Discoveries and Nevada Stories. In addition to a number of flex spaces for classes, meetings and events, the museum also has a number of programming spaces including the World's only Spark!Lab Smithsonian located outside the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This hands-on museum is designed to inspire the curiosity, creativity and understanding that leads to the lifelong success of children and their families as they experience the joy of learning together. http://www.nvdm.org/  
 
National Bowling Stadium
The first, and only, satellite to the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame opened at the National Bowling Stadium in April of 2012. The museum features displays of Bowling Artifacts, General History, Tournament History, Technology and Science, Women’s Influence on Bowling, and pays tribute to the famed Beer Teams of the past. The Hall of Fame at the National Bowling Stadium mirrors its predecessor which features a kiosk, database platform including biographies, statistics, photos and videos of each of the nearly 500 Hall of Famers. The primary museum is located in Arlington, Texas, on the first level of the International Bowling Congress which is home to the United States Bowling Congress, the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and the state-of-the-art, Olympic-style International Testing and Research Center. http://www.visitrenotahoe.com/meetings-conventions/facilities/national-bowling-stadium  
 
Sparks Marina
A former mining pit was nearly filled when water was diverted into the 100-foot hole during a flood of epic proportions in 1997. Instead of pumping the water out of the pit, abandoned since the 1980’s, the City of Sparks filled the rest of the hole, and created a public park called Sparks Marina. The park is hosting number of new special events in 2012, including a volleyball and watersport festival, and has been home to non-profit walks, dog challenges and professional wakeboarding competitions. In 2012, the City of Sparks pumped nearly $400,000 into the park to diversify the events potential and give residents a more enjoyable marina experience. The project expanded the park’s turf area, added retaining walls and a hand-railed walkway, and created new volleyball courts for public and tournament use. http://cityofsparks.us/residents/parks-and-facilities/sparks-marina  
 
Great Basin Community Food Co-Op
For the first time in 20 years, there is a grocery store in downtown Reno. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill chain grocer. The Great Basin Community Food Co-Op proudly sells natural, local produce as well as bulk food and health and beauty items. The Co-Op opened in February of 2012, and its goal is to run a business that is environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just. The cooperative’s priority is always to provide the best, most wholesome food available at the lowest price possible. When you shop at The Great Basin Community Food Co-operative you join in supporting local farmers, producers and craftspeople. http://www.greatbasinfood.coop/            
 
SKI RESORTS
 
Squaw Valley USA
Squaw Valley has joined forces with Alpine Meadows to offer more than 6,000 acres of legendary skiing and riding accessed via a single lift ticket and interconnecting shuttle. The first phase of a $50 million capital improvement project is underway at Squaw Valley USA. The resort's base area will undergo a major transformation during the 2012 offseason to include: a new restaurant and bar in the heart of the village; a remodel of the infamous Olympic House sundeck; transformation of the base level of Squaw Valley's Olympic House into a new day lodge and family recreation center; and, a renovation to the interior of the 17,000 sq. ft. Squaw Kids facility. On the mountain, the upper terminal of North America's only Funitel (28-person gondola) will be renovated to include the new Funi's Mountaintop Café and Market near the world’s only ski-in, ski-out Starbuck’s coffee shop, which opened in February of 2012. Three new magic carpet lifts, new rental gear, progression-based terrain features and a new lesson structure will be in place at the Snowsport School as part of an evolution taking shape to vastly improve the beginner learning experience. http://www.squaw.com/
 
Sierra-At-Tahoe Resort
Showcasing the recently incorporated terrain of Huckleberry Canyon, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort now offers backcountry snowcat tours for up to seven lucky guests on select days for riders of advanced to expert ability levels. The snowcat ride will alleviate the existing hike required to access the terrain, thereby allowing skiers and snowboarders to save their energy for the awaiting deep powder turns. Also new in 2012, the resort expanded on 2011’s successful debut of the Blizzard Mountain tubing and snowplay area by constructing two new rope-tow accessible tubing lanes, an expanded sledding area, a bounce house, snowman kits, snowball makers, snack bar, fire pits, picnic tables and complimentary rides on the all-new Blizzard Mountain Snowcat. http://www.sierraattahoe.com/
 
Northstar California
Recently acquired by Vail Resorts, Northstar has completed $30 million in capital improvements, including a new 1,440-foot detachable quad chairlift and a new 700-seat on-mountain restaurant atop the resort's Tahoe Zephyr Express Lift, featuring expansive views of the Pacific Crest. The Village at Northstar will welcome top outdoor brands Patagonia and Burton to its impressive shopping outlets, and has expanded The North Face and True North retail stores. In the 2011-2012 season, two-time Olympic gold medalist, professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White called Northstar his home mountain and primary training resort, working with Northstar and Snow Park Technologies to build a custom 22-foot halfpipe. The resort has also expanded its boundaries offering 170 additional acres of new sidecountry terrain, new snowcat tours on Sawtooth Ridge and guided backcountry tours outside the resort's boundary into a highly anticipated area of future expansion. Finally, Northstar was the latest Vail Resorts' owned mountain to bring EpicMix to the slopes, allowing guests to effortlessly share their ski and snowboard experience via social media. http://www.northstarattahoe.com/  
 
Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe
Located less than thirty minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and boasting Lake Tahoe's highest base elevation, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe installed a top-to-bottom snow-making system on its Silver Dollar run, ensuring early season access on the Slide Bowl portion of the resort. This side of the mountain has been the focus of significant improvements over the last few seasons such as the modern amenities now housed in the Winters Creek Lodge powered by three environmentally-friendly extreme energy windspires. The resort has proposed a major $23.5 million improvement plan to include new terrain, additional lifts, snowmaking improvements, as well as various facility enhancements. Over the next 10 years, these projects could continue to transform the resort into a key destination attraction as well as a favorite local winter recreation spot. Highlighting this next phase is the potential inclusion of the adjacent "Atoma" terrain which is located on the north side of SR 431. Working in cooperation with the US Forest Service, Mt. Rose looks to expand skiing services onto this 99 acre parcel to complement the beginner terrain on the Mt. Rose side of the mountain. This open, mosaic-glade style skiing would make for a unique lower level snow experience combining open runs with pods of trees intermixed throughout the new area. http://www.mtrose.com/
 
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
As part of more than $6 million in capital improvements, Kirkwood Mountain Resort has completed two new facilities intended to serve as activity hubs conveniently located in the heart of the resort's Mountain Village. The new High Alpine Adventure Center (HAAC) serves as the booking office for all the family-friendly activities at the resort such as tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and the recently constructed ZipTahoe Canopy Tour. Expedition: Kirkwood, North America's premier backcountry education program designed to expand the boundaries of mountain exploration, has also moved to a new $1 million facility complete with classrooms, conference center, high end retail storefront and specialized demo center completed in partnership with Marmot, K2 and BCA. Guests are now welcomed by a new hotel-style lodging option thanks to a $5 million facelift to the Mountain Club property located slopeside in the Mountain Village. http://www.kirkwood.com/site/
 
Heavenly Mountain Resort
In 2011, Heavenly added the 14,980 sq. ft. Tamarack Lodge located mid-mountain atop the resort's 2.4 mile long gondola, anchoring the amenities available at Adventure Peak.  In 2012, the resort unveiled the similarly designed Bear Cave Lodge which houses its 2,022-sq. ft. kid's ski school facility, bringing the resort's ski school amenities up to the level of its world-class ski school instruction. Not only does this significantly upgrade the resort's Ski & Ride School facilities, but it ties together the entire Adventure Peak area into a hub of fun for the whole family including tubing, sledding, snow bikes and more. The resort has also added three new trails under its Stagecoach and Galaxy chairlifts on the Nevada side of the mountain along with widening a number of runs on the California side of the mountain vastly expanding the options for the intermediate/advanced skier and snowboarder. Additionally, the resort has once again upgraded its grooming capabilities by expanding the nation's largest fleet of the most efficient grooming snowcats currently available. http://www.skiheavenly.com/    

Alpine Meadows
Following 2011’s introduction of a cutting-edge child chairlift safety system and GPS tracking units for kids enrolled in ski school, the resort continues to invest in innovative, industry-leading technologies designed to enhance the guest experience. Additionally, the resort has created a totally unique instructional program called Adventure 55 geared exclusively towards baby boomers. http://www.skialpine.com/    
 
Woodward Tahoe at Boreal Mountain Resort
Boreal Mountain Resort is expanding its presence in action sports with the July 2012 opening of Woodward Tahoe, an action sports free-ride and free-ski instructional center and camp program. The new indoor action sports training facility is part of the Woodward Company and is a year-round facility for instruction, training, special events and camp programs. The 33,000 sq. ft. facility is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and includes trampolines, a ski and board ramp, foam pits, and an urban-style skate and BMX park.
http://www.woodwardtahoe.com/ http://www.rideboreal.com/winter/index.html