In the late 1920s, when exhibition ski jumping and ski meets were first staged on the Tahoe Tavern Winter Sports Grounds (now known as Granlibakken), the need for an onsite facility to shelter and sustain spectators and participants soon led to the construction of a warming hut at the bottom of the toboggan hill, near the present location of Granlibakken’s tennis courts.
The hut was usually staffed by members of the Lake Tahoe Ski Club and offered a varied menu to its hearty clientele.
The operation of the toboggan hill is described by Holly Rose, son of Captain Henry Rose of the Steamer Tahoe:
This popular attraction might have continued for many more years, but on this date in 1938, it was discovered that the enormous winter just then winding down had brought the warming hut to an unceremonious conclusion.
After mulling over their options, the Lake Tahoe Ski Club decided against rebuilding their crushed warming hut. They believed that future use of the Tavern property was in doubt, as management of the grand hotel had changed hands several times since the LTSC was formed.
Perhaps more important, the Tavern’s facilities were some distance from town, and in the days before regular snow removal, this meant that users had to ski in and out, using up valuable time and energy in the process. So when the slope above Fairway Drive was donated to the Club, they took advantage of its proximity to town and devoted their energies to improving that hill.
Not that use of the Tavern amenities was abandoned. Ski Canyon, as it was known, remained a destination for snow sports activities, and Olympic Hill continued to be the venue for Class A jumping.
In 1947, through the efforts of Kjell “Rusty” Rustad, the former Tavern Winter Sports Grounds became Granlibakken, and in future years would be the host of local, state and national ski and jumping meets.
“Rusty” understood the importance of having a place to warm up and get a bite to eat, and he built his own Ski Hut, which is still in operation today (more about that in a future installment).
Meanwhile, maybe it’s time to shovel your roof?
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