Twentieth annual SnowBall raises funds for the ski hill

The musicians of Cool Black Kettle play an array of classic and contemporary rock while many Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl supporters dance at the 20th annual SnowBall. Members of the community came together at Nakoma Golf Resort for a night of fundraising and celebration for the ongoing ski hill renovation. Photo by Carolyn Carter
Carolyn Carter

  The Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl has been the topic of conversation this winter, and the Eastern Plumas Recreation District (EPRD) is reaching the peak of its fundraising effort and soon it will be downhill from there.

  On March 2, members of the community showed that the project will not be over until it’s over at the 20th annual Johnny Redstreake SnowBall at Nakoma Golf Resort.

  The night of festivities brought in many ski hill enthusiasts looking for a good time and an opportunity to contribute to the cause.

  According to Plumas Ski Club member Chris Murray the ski hill has been out of commission since 2000. Three years ago EPRD purchased the operating agreement for the hill, and the group has been raising funds ever since.

  When the lift was operational there were only outdated surface tows available to transport people to the top of the ski runs. EPRD has since acquired a chair lift and two surface tows from Squaw Valley.

  According to EPRD board member Dan Gallagher, the engineering process is still under way.

  In the last three years EPRD has received more than $373,000 toward the project, well over half the funds needed to finish the renovations. Gallagher said EPRD sees this year as the year to open the hill.

  Not only was this the 20th anniversary of the SnowBall, it also marks the 150th anniversary of the first organized ski competition at Johnsville in 1863.

  “It’s like roulette,” said Gallagher. “All of the numbers just add up.”

  Gallagher also said the SnowBall generally brings in as much as $20,000 toward the project. With more than 80 silent auction items including fine wines, Giants tickets and many gift certificates from local businesses and restaurants, members of the public had many chances to contribute to the cause while also winning a treat for themselves.

  The SnowBall also offered a night of decadent dining thanks to the collaboration of four of the area’s top chefs and two local breweries. The members of Cool Black Kettle provided ample opportunities for attendees to dance and enjoy their classic and contemporary rock music.

  The coveted prizes of the night were reserved for the live auction. Many participants vied for the $3,500 all-expense-paid trip to Posada San Carlos, Mexico, and the 14-foot genuine longboard skis.

  Though the event is over, the fundraising does not stop. Gallagher said EPRD would be launching its Purchase a Chair campaign. Members of the community will be invited to buy one of the 104 lift chairs for $1,000. Sponsors will have cedar plaques with their name on them for future ski hill participants to see.

       For more information on the ski hill or how to contribute visit

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