Non-Profit of the Year!

This past spring, at the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce "Local Luminaries" Award Dinner, Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA) won the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year Award!

Just like the title of the Chamber dinner back in April, our dedicated staff and volunteers are all "Local Luminaries" in our book!

We asked long-time employee Rick Wertheim why he thinks we won Non-Profit of the Year (and a few other questions):
 
How long have you worked here?

I believe it's been 20 years. It was the 1998-99 season when I started, the same year Tahoe XC became a non-profit and Kevin and Valli Murnane were hired. I've work 4 days a week since, more on holidays.
What brought you to Tahoe XC?
In 1968, a guy name Schwartz had a bunch of wooden skis that we prepped, put klister on and brought to Mammoth. I just loved it! I remember taking cross-country skis to the top of Alpine Meadows just to see if I could ski down with them. When I heard Skip Reedy was grooming at Tahoe Nordic Center, I went over there a few times. And I bought a season pass nearly every season after that.

Why do you think we won Non-Profit of the Year?

Everyone's Happy
One of the reasons I work here is because the people--the regulars, the pass-holders and the guests that come--everyone is having a good time. Everyone is enthusiastic, and we do everything we can to groom as many trails as possible and to stay open as best we can. And people appreciate that. 

Plus, we have all these volunteers willing to help. When you're out there skiing and you see a group of volunteers putting in 3 or 4 hours of shoveling work, people see that and say, Wow, they're really doing everything they can to keep this place open for us.

Grooming
I think we've won Non-Profit of the Year twice now because we care so much about how the grooming comes out. The groomers all ski and they want it to be good because they're out there skiing themselves. And the people who ski at Tahoe XC say that the grooming is great!

I remember one October near Halloween, it snowed a lot and Kevin went out and groomed with the big machine. We were not open, he just groomed. And he sent an email saying come skiing if you'd like and the conditions were great for 2 or 3 days. Since it was October, the sun came out and melted it quickly, but people enjoyed those few days and the grooming was fantastic.

Dogs
What also makes Tahoe XC so special is everybody that has a dog and brings their dog, loves it. I love my dog and Tahoe XC has such great dog trails. You go out skiing for more than an hour and you get a great workout and your dog is happy. Most of the time the dog poop gets cleaned up, too. With enough snow, we could potentially create a new dog trail off blue. I mean, Dogonit Trail is only 4 or 5 years old--we're always looking.
What's your favorite part about working here?

I've been teaching ski lessons here for 20 years, and every year people come in and say, "Oh you were my ski instructor 5 years ago! And I'll never forget the lesson." And that makes me feel really good. We get a lot of repeat customers year after year. Customers see me and always remember me and it's fun to have that happen. I remember one family has been coming here since I started working, and their kids were 4 or 5 then and now they're in the 20s. And they remember me and the lesson! It makes you feel like you're an important piece of puzzle.
When do you think we'll open this year?
Of all the years I've worked at Tahoe XC, I've worked 3 times near Thanksgiving. The rest of the years we opened in mid-December or not till January. Obviously, we always hope to open near Thanksgiving, but we're flexible. One season we were open as late as May 1st, but that's unusual.

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Our mission is to promote a healthy, outdoor-oriented lifestyle for children and adults through education, cross-country skiing, and other self-powered recreation.

Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area | 530-583-5475
ski@tahoexc.org | www.tahoexc.org

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