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Tahoe Businesses Gear Up For Tourists After Historic Storm

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) - Palisades Tahoe ski resort will be opening up early, this Friday, thanks to Sunday's historic storm.

In less than a month, Heavenly and Northstar will open their doors for the ski season as well. But area businesses are facing staffing shortages and rushing to be ready for winter.

Clean-up continues on highway 50 heading towards South Lake Tahoe. The road reopened to traffic after the first winter storm brought boulders and debris onto the major roadway.

On Tuesday, beautiful snow-lined trees cover the charred-out Sierra, a reminder of what Tahoe has gone through.

"It was nice to see snow fall -- and the rain -- knowing were out of fire danger," said Martha Bourges.

But with weeks until some resorts plan to reopen, area businesses are scrambling to hire staff after evacuations and the wildfire drove many away.

Marlena Narvart, with 3 Peaks Resort said, "I'm hoping staffing is going to go back up."

She said business has been slow. After the Caldor Fire, a lot of her staff never came back.

"It was hard. It was really hard," she said.

From housekeeping to front desk staff, she's rushing to fill open positions in time for ski season.

She's not alone. "Now hiring" is seen all over town.

"The store's ready, I think everyone's really ready for it," said Borges.

Just down the hill, nearby businesses like Fresh Pond, who depend on rollover business from the resorts, say they're ready.

Sierra-at-Tahoe has announced part of the resort will be off-limits this winter because of damage from the Caldor fire.

"I'm sad for Sierra because the Sierra crew is great but on the other side of it, is safety first," said Borges.

Right now, the resort staff is evaluating Sierra's lifts to fully understand the impact of the fire.

"We still have Heavenly, we still have Kirkwood," said Borges.

For now, businesses hope to attract more staff, skiers and snow up the hill.

There's no word yet on when Sierra-at-Tahoe will open the rest of the mountain Kirkwood is set to open the first week of December.

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