From Ranch to Resort: New Book Details History of Sierra-at-Tahoe

Display a copy of the new book at the Sierra-at-Tahoe store at the Y.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Ranch to Resort: The Story of the Sierra-at-Tahoe is a 360-page book that details 75 years of history.

The book, published by Sierra Software, Solutions & Consulting, details 75 years of Sierra-at-Tahoe history through three generations of ownership. On December 21, 2021, the book was printed. In late April 2022, shortly after its arrival, it became available on the shelves of three stores in and near the Tahoe Basin: The History Museum, Sierra-at-Tahoe Store, Strawberry Trading post/Gas Station Strawberry lodge off US Highway 50. The book is also available on Amazon.

Christopher Couper, author, was captivated by the area and the families of skiing. Cut describes them as virtual families; individuals and couples who are avid skiers come together.

“For about 10 years I skied with people like that, virtual families,” Couper said and recalled a conversation about the lifts with one of those friends, Dan Barrett, who l encouraged to record family and station history. After Barrett’s death from cancer, Couper decided it was time to get to work detailing the family’s legacy.

“I was more of a conductor than a composer,” Couper said. “I didn’t create much of that, per se, I just gathered, coordinated and massaged the information and passed it around.”

Diligent investigation and research over a short period of 6 months led to the successful compilation of the family history of three different segments of ownership; the Berrett family, the Sprock family and the current property managed by John Rice.

Christopher Couper worked on the book for several months.

The first chapter shows the station before its construction. The nuances that set it apart from other ski resorts are easily seen in the first 14 pages. In addition to the station’s geographic differences, Rice said, “That’s why people don’t say ‘I love this place,’ but rather ‘I love the Sierra.’ They feel like they’re part of something special…it’s genuine.

Chapters two through four detail the authentic history of the resort through the various generations of ownership. The most interesting of the three, perhaps, is the origin. Prior to Sierra-at-Tahoe, the resort was known as Sierra Ski Ranch.

Page “11 of the 360-page book. Supplied / Christopher Couper
Sierra Ski Resort

The Barrett family founded the resort driven by a passion for skiing. Brother’s Floyd and Ray Barrett along with their wives and growing families recruited fellow ski enthusiasts and family friends to help with the incredible feat of building the ski resort. Photos are featured in From Ranch to Resort that show the first of the ski lifts being assembled.

The fifth chapter reveals the consequences of Caldor. Reports of what happened as well as scientific research/experiments are used to suggest possible changes to the ski resort to make it more secure against future fires.

“One of the problems with the ski resort is that it is the perfect victim of a fire. Which makes for a good run too, unfortunately, it’s perfect ground for a fire to set in,” Couper said. at-Tahoe.

Ideas were presented in the book as opportunities for Sierra-at-Tahoe to rebuild safely and effectively. The station lost a building thanks to the two weeks of building preparation before the fire broke out.

Couper said: “The fire-affected chairlifts will be repaired at short notice. Some chairlifts are currently being studied for modification. Burned areas present hazards that remain after the fire, and they must be dealt with methodically.

“To be able to create new trails in previously burned areas, the forest service requires environmental reports, drainage, people loads and other forest service requirements, bureaucratic paperwork, it could take 18 to 24 months to see the changes come to fruition,” Couper added.

The passion for skiing and the Sierra station will once again be the driving force behind the station’s recovery.

“Beneath this scorched landscape lies a resort town waiting to rise from the ground and be glorious again,” said John Rice. “Just like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.”


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