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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a large lake with freshwater in the Sierra Nevada area of the United States. Its location is along the border of Nevada and California at 6,225 feet elevation towards west of Carson City. Some lakes are on high altitude and those above 5000 feet elevation above sea level are categorized as Alpine lakes. Lake Tahoe, this is the largest of alpine lakes in North America. Its average depth 1,645 feet and that makes it the second deepest in whole of USA but it is the 6th largest lake in USA by volume at having acquired 122,160,280 acre ft.

The lake has a history ranging 2 million years being part of Lake Tahoe Basin while the current lake was shaped during the ice ages. It is famous for its clear waters and excellent and the panoramic view of surroundings because of majestic mountainous area. Public usually calls the surrounding areas “Lake Tahoe” or simply “Tahoe”. Large part of lake’s watershed is considered as national forest land. National Forest is one of the land classifications for federal lands in USA.

Lake Tahoe Airport holding IATA Code as TVL is a public airport situated three miles towards southwest of South Lake Tahoe within El Dorado County of California. This is a general aviation airport covering around 348 acres of land having one 5900-ft long runway. Some people also call this as Tahoe Valley Airport. This is one of the high elevation airports in the Sierra Nevada opened in 1959 but in 1963 it quite few airline flights starting from Paradise Airlines using Lockheed L-049 Constellations. Paradise met serious accident in neighboring mountains and they ceased operations. Pacific Air Lines took a start in 1964 using turboprops aircraft Fairchild F-27. Tw years later in 1966 Pacific had started operating jet service here using Boeing 727-100s flying on scheduled round trips to Los Angeles to San Jose and back to Lake Tahoe.

This plan worked for less than a year and the airport had no scheduled jet flights until 1983. Time flew by and in 1999 Casino Express Airlines started operations as Tahoe Air charging low fare using Boeing 737-200s on nonstop flights to San Jose as well as Los Angeles. In parallel Allegiant Air started flying Douglas DC-9 for Las Vegas, Fresno and Burbank around that time. The airport did not seem to support two jet airlines. Tahoe Air however, continued their flights but Allegiant stopped its operations. With passage of time Tahoe Air faced financial problems that forced them to cease operations the same year. The airport has not had any scheduled flights since. Finally the need of the area is served by Reno–Tahoe International Airport holding IATA Code as RNO which is a military and public use airport situated around 3.6 miles southeast of Reno, in Washoe County downtown in Nevada. RNO is second busiest commercial airport of the state.

The place is a great tourist attraction in both California and Nevada having several of ski resorts promoting summer outdoor recreation. Both snow as well as skiing is a major part of local economy and reputation. Majestic mountains and superb lake scenery are simply mesmerizing for visitors throughout the year. The Nevada of the lake has large casinos while good highway network provides easy access to lake all year round.

Skiing in this area has quite a steady foundation because of hospitality and adventure. History tells that in 1856 John A “Snowshoe” Thompson had carried across Sierra area a bulk of 60 pounds mail using 9-foot long skis. He rescued several travellers on his way. Official opening of the first ski area was officially opened in 1910. Walt Disney had invested $2500 in 1937 and his name was proudly stamped on the peak and the same peak would host the first ever chairlift in California. This way Disney chairlift as well as Sugar Bowl Resort started in the 1939 winter. During the next ten years, in 1946, Sierra-at-Tahoe started to be “Sierra Ski Ranch” by the area favorite veteran Sprock. Then from 1850s through in next twenty years, loggers kept clearing the area by cutting trees for supply of lumber to local mines. It was Sprock’s vision that none of the Red Fir trees were cut down and that created a great paradise having old grown tress and skiing facility considered among the best in USA. Several memorable events took place here including the Olympic trials.

The legacy of skiing continued and the Tahoe Basin got worldwide attention after the Olympics started a prominent movement for ‘70s freestyle ski movement. This was also called as Hot Dog skiing. This took an unconventional approach towards traditional skiing by infusing the activity with creative and exuberant tricks including Slow Dog Noodle and The Worm Turn.. Today youthful energy is all reflected in Hot Doggin in the culture of 1970s era. This make the ‘70s and early ‘80s period to ski hard and even party harder. A group of the original hotdoggers, Wayne Wong is one of them, live here today. Several skiers migrated to the area during the period are still living here. They preferred to continue to have their roots here and even beginning the next generation of snowboarders and skiers. It is not just Skiing but snowboarding history also started from this area. Interestingly in 1979, experts has hand-carved the first snowboard halfpipe in Tahoe City.

63 tributaries feed Lake Tahoe, half of the water that enters the lake is a mix of rain and snow falling. The only outlet of this lake is through Truckee River. The river flows towards northeast passing through Reno, Nevada and then into Pyramid Lake in Nevada having no outlet. Just one third of the water leaving the lake is through the Truckee River and the rest of water simply evaporates into environment; thanks to vast surface of the lake. There is a dam constructed at the outlet to control the flow of the river and this is also used to control height of lake water too.

Lake Tahoe also houses several palatial homes built in 19th and 20th century having historical significance. On eof them is The Thunderbird Lodge that was built by George Whittel Jr that included around 27 miles of the Nevada shoreline. Vikingsholm happens to be the original place to settle on Emerald Bay and that also included an island with a teahouse comprising of a 38-room building. Another structure is The Ehrman Mansion that was built as summer home by a former Wells Fargo president at Sugar Pine Point; but at present a state park.

Lake has been facing environmental issues due to having treated sewage effluent coming from the basin. The lake is increasingly having an excessive nutrients richness causing increase in primary productivity exceeding 5% annually and reducing water clarity on 0.25 meters annually. Now, after Around 50 years of increased nitrogen input, from direct atmospheric deposition, Tahoe Lake has become phosphorus-limited. Research says that phytoplanktonic algae and suspended inorganic sediments both contribute mainly to reduce clarity.