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Vern Sprock, early owner of Sierra Ski Ranch, dies

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Vern Sprock, who with his wife Bobbie, were early owners of Sierra Ski Ranch, has died. Sprock was 92 years old. He passed away on Monday, February 10.

He and Bobbie took over what was then known as Sierra Ski Ranch in 1953. The ski area was in deep financial trouble when they began running it.

Sprock, through a massive amount of hard work and a vision of a much better ski area, pulled the struggling resort out of the doldrums. Over the years he and Bobbie improved every aspect of the resort.

It became one of the most family friendly resorts in the Tahoe area. Locals from Placerville to Lake Tahoe called this un-assuming ski resort home base. Through his tenacity and vision, Sierra grew but kept its home town and family friendly feel and reputation. It was affordable, close, and being at Echo Summit, was deep in snow during the ski season.

Sierra moved to its present location in 1968 to accommodate a Highway 50 shift. That proposed shift in the alignment of the highway never happened.

1968 was also a year of very heavy snowfall. The new lodge and equipment at Sierra took a beating, but Sprock's work ethic and determination prevailed, and the resort not only survived that hard winter, but got even better.

In 1993, the Sprock's sold the resort, which is now known as Sierra-at-Tahoe, one of the finest of Tahoe's ski resorts. Managed by John Rice, Sierra maintains that family friendly and home town feel.

A fitting farewell comment from Sierra-at-Tahoe, from Steve Hemphill, Communications Manager, " Vern was a true pioneer of California skiing. He had an amazing vision and gave people a special place to celebrate winter in the Sierra's. Our thoughts go out to all his family and friends. RIP Vern Sprock."

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