Fire-damaged Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort will be open to skiers for a weekend in April

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The Lake Tahoe-area ski resort that was badly burned in the Caldor Fire last fall will briefly reopen for a special gathering next month.

When a wildfire swept through the 2,000-acre Sierra-at-Tahoe property, it burned thousands of trees and damaged chairlifts and other infrastructure, forcing the resort to remain closed this winter as it is undergoing repairs.

But now, about a month into the winter ski season, Sierra officials say they will welcome visitors for a weekend celebration of the resort’s 75th anniversary on April 9-10. During the event, Sierra will spin two chairlifts and a Bunny Hill conveyor for skiers and snowboarders – the first time this season that one of its runs will be open to the public.

“There have been so many challenges, but we have to do something for our passholders and our guests, even if we can’t do a full opening like we hoped,” said Katie Hunter, director of marketing and sales of the complex. “Skiing will be very limited, but it’s more about getting our guests back to the mountains to reconnect.”

Sierra is known as a place for Northern Californians and a social center of El Dorado County. Around 60% of its pass holders from last winter have opted to renew their season pass for this winter, even amid uncertainty about when it will open. Many of those who refueled also chose to donate a portion of their pass price to support Sierra’s 600 seasonal workers, most of whom have been unable to hire this year.

On April 9, the resort hosts Subaru Winter Fest, with live music at its base area plaza. On April 10, it will host a snowboarding competition at its freestyle snowpark, sponsored by Vans.

“It’s going to be a ski festival vibe in late spring,” Hunter said.

On both days, skiers and snowboarders can ride the Broadway beginner slope via Easy Rider Express. On Sundays only, after the snowboard competition, visitors will be able to zip down the Aspen and Aspen West terrain park via the Rock Garden lift.

A limited number of pre-purchased tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 16, with tickets available daily based on parking availability and an active season pass.

Gregory Thomas is The Chronicle’s Lifestyle and Outdoors Editor. Email: gthomas@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @GregRThomas

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