At a glance
North Lake Tahoe:
■ The average high temperature in January is 40 degrees.
■ Annual snowfall at lake level is 125 inches with 300 to 500 inches falling at Alpine skiing elevations.
■ There are 12 ski resorts in North Lake Tahoe.
■ North Lake Tahoe had a population of 14,887 in 2000. Placer County, stretching from the suburbs of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe, had a population of 348,552 in 2009.
■ At 6,229 feet in elevation and 22 miles long, Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of its size in the United States.
Steamboat Springs Longtime Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association official Sandy Evans Hall confirmed late Friday afternoon that she’s heading to California to become director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, pending final approval of an employment contract. That process is expected to wrap up during the weekend.
“It was a very, very tough decision for me,” Evans Hall said earlier this week. “(This job) has been my passion.”
“We’re really happy for her,” Steamboat Springs Chamber Board President Jeff Steinke said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
He said the effort to find a replacement for Evans Hall would begin immediately and Evans Hall would remain in her position here likely into May, allowing her time to tie up corporate sponsorships for this summer’s Quiznos Pro Challenge bicycle race.
“You have to get excited and get the energy to go out and find the next right person,” Steinke said. “In this case, I think we really need somebody who has been in that role, and I think in Steamboat, which is a community as well as a resort, we have a great product to sell.”
Former Chamber board president and current board member Kathy Stokes said Evans Hall was always a devoted member of the community.
“There are not too many people who have loved Steamboat enough to put so much of themselves into the community,” Stokes said.
Dean Vogelaar, who was the Chamber’s director before Evans Hall, said Steamboat needs to find someone who feels that connection to Steamboat.
“Our community calls for someone who is willing to become attached to it,” Vogelaar said. “Sandy is a really strong, dedicated, loyal person. She’s always been that.”
Among Evans Hall’s biggest accomplishments during her 25 years at the Chamber have been her efforts to help stabilize summer tourism and her tireless work to secure commercial airline service into Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
She played a critical role in the Fly Steamboat program, which began in 2000 as a community partnership among Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., the city of Steamboat Springs, the Chamber and local businesses. Eventually, a 2 percent lodging tax to help fund the airline program was passed by voters.
Ski Corp. President and CEO Chris Diamond credited the work of Evans Hall on the winter air service program as being perhaps as important as anything else the Chamber helped to accomplish under her leadership.
“She’s just done an outstanding job,” Diamond said. “Certainly, she’ll be missed.”
Evans Hall is in the midst of spearheading a committee to address funding issues with the airline program. Reserves are expected to be depleted by the 2012-13 ski season.
Evans Hall first was hired by the Chamber in 1985 as its membership director. She was named its executive vice president in 2000.
Throughout the years, she has initiated programs such as the Winter Expo, Shop Steamboat, Adopt a Park/Trail and Leadership Steamboat.
Leadership Steamboat, for which Evans Hall is a co-facilitator, has helped develop a new generation of community leaders through experiential learning and involvement.
“Sandy has been passionate about Leadership Steamboat,” said Grant Fenton, one of the program’s facilitators. “She has been the one constant in this program, and she has not only positively impacted the participants in Leadership Steamboat, but the community as a whole has benefited directly because of her efforts.”
In her role as the Chamber’s executive vice president, Evans Hall often has served as the middleman in negotiations between entities such as the city and Triple Crown Sports.
“I think she just did a wonderful job managing through the various political obstacles,” Diamond said.
She also consistently lobbied for increased funding for summer tourism initiatives and related marketing.
Working in a community where city government relies almost entirely on sales taxes to provide municipal services, Evans Hall was able to consistently and effectively make the case that the expenditure of public dollars on tourism marketing was a necessary and justifiable expense.
One of the foundations to Steamboat’s summer tourism during her tenure has been family destination travel based around participatory sporting events, from baseball tournaments to running and bicycle races.
She also navigated the Chamber through the unexpected — from changes in Steamboat Ski Area ownership to the Chamber’s own funding challenges to, more recently, hurdles like the protracted Lincoln Avenue repaving project.
Evans Hall has been active in other areas, too. She is a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs and served as its president in 2007-08. She’s also been active with Girl Scouts, Sister Cities, First Impressions of Routt County and affordable housing efforts, among others. She serves on a litany of committees and boards.
Her new position in the Lake Tahoe region will reunite her with former Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. marketing executive Andy Wirth, who left last year to become CEO of Squaw Valley, which is among the ski areas within the boundaries of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com