Meet the Vintner for our Memorial Weekend Program!

by stanfordsierra

03 05, 2014 | Posted in Dining, Special Events | 0 comments

What does Stanford Sierra on the edge of Desolation Wilderness have in common with Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA? Both destinations lie near and dear to the heart of Doris Hanson Cooper, '79. Doris was a camp counselor for our Stanford alumni family camp during the summers of  1978 and 1979, and she now lives and works at the family's winery in Saratoga. In her job progression, Doris replaced her gorgeous setting on Fallen Leaf Lake for a beautiful view of winemaker emeritus' George Cooper's Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.

Doris tasting wine in the barrel room

Doris tasting wine in the barrel room

Doris and her vintner husband Bill, will return to Stanford Sierra for our Memorial Weekend Program, May 23-26. Doris and Bill are excited to be a part of the program and share their limited production wines at one of the weekend's signature events, the wine pairing dinner!  
Doris and Bill Cooper

Doris and Bill Cooper

Annually, Cooper-Garrod produces around 3,000 cases of wine from 28 hillside vineyard acres on the western edge of Silicon Valley. All Cooper-Garrod wines are CCOF Certified organic and CSWA Certified Sustainable. If you like the idea of Farm to Fork, you'll love these wines Grapes to Glass! Certified OrganicSustainable winegrowing the winery offers varietal wines from their Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Syrah - plus the Test Pilot series of proprietary red wine blends which honor founding winemaker George Cooper, a retired NASA research test pilot.
Cooper Garrod bottles, glasses and gift box

Cooper Garrod bottles, glasses and gift box

What distinguishes Cooper Garrod Estate winery from others? The 120-acre property has been in Bill's family since 1893, with five  successive generations involved in agricultural pursuits, the vineyards and winery being the most recent. George's Vineyard was planted in 1972, although other plantings followed, it wasn't until 1994 you saw the Cooper-Garrod label in the marketplace.  Many of the bottlings are less than 200 cases, so this is a wine producer you have to know about, instead of read about on the pages of a glossy magazine. The Cooper Garrod family and winery staff produce wines with the vision that you will relax with friends and share their wines around the dinner table. Join us on May 25 at Stanford Sierra to taste Cooper Garrod's delicious wines with Chef Dave's five-course paired menu! Here's to enjoying a glass of Cabernet Franc on the deck overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake this Memorial Weekend - Cheers! Fallen Leaf Lake    

See more

Last Chance to be a Spring 2014 Staff Member!

by stanfordsierra

02 24, 2014 | Posted in Employment | 0 comments

Do you have a positive attitude, good work ethic, are interested in helping people and love the outdoors? Then we have a job for you! This is the final week to submit an application to work during our spring conference season which begins April 13 and ends June 13. We are hiring all-purpose staff, which means no two days will be alike. You could be setting a room for a meeting, serving dinner, cleaning toilets, leading a hike, or all of these in one day!

Setting meeting rooms is a common shift for all purpose staff

Setting meeting rooms is a common shift for all purpose staff

We hire about 40 staff to work the two-month spring season. Our staff live onsite in cabins and all meals are provided.
DSCN2425

Staff cabins along 'rustic row'

All-purpose staff normally work from 30 to 40+ hours per week, depending on how busy the conference schedule is. Then your time is free to spend as you like. You might have a morning shift, then free time in the afternoon, then work again in the evening. We have a boat dock onsite with kayaks, peddle boats, stand up paddle boards and sailboats, so many staff get out on the boats during free time or just relax on the dock.
A staff member relaxing on the boat dock

A staff member relaxing on the boat dock

It's fun to see the staff's variety of backgrounds and hometowns. We'll tend to get groups from the same state, Texas and Ohio one year, New Hampshire and Florida the next year. Living, working and playing together the staff bond as a community and many make lifetime friendships.
Soccer games on the tennis courts were popular with the fall '13 staff

Soccer games on the tennis courts were popular with the fall '13 staff

Our spring events range from a silent retreat to scientific meetings to family getaways for members of the Stanford community. We encourage our staff to work hard, but have fun! For a full description of seasonal work at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, see our 'Seasonal Assignments Description' .
Laine, Halie & Jenny sport their best 80s garb on a Hobart shift

Costumes encouraged for washing dishes aka "Hobart" shifts

After working a season, many of our staff return for a second or third season. We will hire again in the summer for our fall conference season which runs from early September to early November. Charlie Powers, conference staff director, conducts phone interviews with each applicant. Charlie is looking for applicants who present themselves well both on their application and over the phone. Charlie looks for consistent education or employment history and a clear direction.
A couple of our spring 2013 staff returning from a hike

A couple of our spring 2013 staff returning from a hike

You can complete the application online, but do it soon, the deadline is March 1! For questions or more information, you can contact Charlie Powers, conference staff director, at 530-541-1244 or cpowers@stanford.edu.  

See more

Use Excel and Google Drive to Coordinate Events

by stanfordsierra

02 12, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting | 0 comments

We host about 12 events during the spring then again in the fall each year. Before each event, I work with the group's coordinator to identify needs for their visit such as meeting and activity times, how many attendees, what room set up and equipment is needed, etc. I then package the information to share with our managers, so we can provide what the groups needs, when they need it. The process starts at least two months prior to the scheduled event when I send overview information to the group coordinator. Lately we've been sharing documents on Google Drive. Here is our fact sheet shared on Google Drive

Our fact sheet shared on Google Drive

I also share planning guidelines plus our A/V, wine and hors d'oeuvres lists. The group contact can then use this information to complete an Excel schedule spreadsheet which I also share on Google Drive. Here is a sample schedule from our alumni creative camp, Creativity in the Wild
Daily logistics schedule

Daily logistics schedule

Once the schedule is completed, the coordinator and I review it together item-by-item. The schedule is color-coded by department, so each manager can quickly see what they need to provide. Every Friday during conference season I review each event with our managers. Usually a few more questions come up during the logistics meetings, so I get back to the coordinator to clarify these final details, then I print a final logistics schedule which we post in the office. During events, we rotate as manager-on-duty so each of us know that we can go to the master schedule in the office with any questions. It's inevitable that changes occur during an event, so I'm sure to update the schedule and create a change form to notify managers of the changes. Before I go on my days off, I share the schedule file with Nichole, our assistant office manager, so she can make any changes that occur on those days. The process works well and events at our business conference center run smoothly. We're always looking for ways to streamline and improve our systems, so if you have ideas or suggestions, let me know!  

See more

Dave Bunnett Keeps the Camp Magic Going

by The Aviator

02 04, 2014 | Posted in History, Location, Recreation | 0 comments

Every fall Stanford Sierra Conference Center hosts a group of fifth and sixth graders from East Palo Alto. Briefly liberated from their urban environment and enthused by mountain air, water games and sugar--the children run wild. On one of my first days at camp I stood in the lobby watching a competitive game of tag. One boy running helter skelter, nearly collided with the Camp Director, Dave Bunnett. Tilting his head to look at Dave, the boy's jaw went slack. Dave looked down, smiling. After a moment of appraisal the boy broke the silence, “You're a giant!”

Dave 'the giant' giving a crawdad lesson to a group of preschoolers

Dave 'the giant' giving a crawdad lesson to a group of preschoolers

And he was right. Dave is 6'5''. Bemused at the child's assessment, Dave watched the boy walk away. That was one of my first encounters with Dave and it encouraged me to subscribe to the general consensus here at camp: Dave is a nice guy. Dave has been the Camp Director here at SSC since 1995, but he began at the bottom. He was a Stanford University student and summer staffer here in the early 80s. Feeling at home on the lake, Dave stayed on and began working his way up through the ranks. “I can still remember the day I drove onto Fallen Leaf Road for the first time,” Dave told me as we sat and talked in the old lodge. “I was coming to work and I drove in on the road and I looked around and I just said, 'Wow, this is pretty incredible! I have to figure out how to stay around here.'”
The beauty of Fallen Leaf made Dave want to stay

The beauty of Fallen Leaf made Dave want to stay

After Dave worked as a summer staffer responsible for supervising children, cleaning dishes and making beds, Dave was promoted to DOPO, department of plant operations, where he handled maintenance issues.
Dave likes to stay 'hands on' with maintenance projects

Dave likes to stay 'hands on' with maintenance projects

Then Dave traded his work belt for a telephone when he assumed the position of assistant camp director. Seven years later he was made the camp director, a position which he has held for nearly two decades.
Dave working at his desk overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake

Dave working at his desk overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake

The annual visits for the East Palo Alto youngsters is one of the accomplishments of his tenure for which Dave is most proud. It was not his idea. During a midseason interview with a summer staffer, Dave was informed that while happy, the student felt unfulfilled. His reasoning was that while he was having an excellent summer, it was a selfish pursuit--he hadn't helped anyone but himself. This sparked a long, involved conversation. The result of that conversation was the pro bono, annual visit of underprivileged children which continues to this day. It is fairly evident to most people who encounter Dave that he has an adventurous spirit. That spirit is imbued within Stanford Sierra Camp. After Dave graduated from Stanford, he joined the Peace Corp and worked in the Solomon Islands. He said of his experience, “At the time it was very, very third world with very little medical care. People were happy and well-fed because they had a good supply of natural resources, but it was very, very primitive where I was.” Some of Dave's best adventures were sailing.“At one point I sailed a boat from Spain to Venezuela,” he told me, his signature smile beaming across his face. “I'd done some Hawaii trips before. But Spain to Venezuela, we had some good times. We got caught in a big storm at one point, and that was sort of fun.” That's they type of guy Dave is, someone for whom storms are an adventure - not something to keep you from going out again. Dave keeps the sailing program going strong at Camp with a good fleet of boats and staff training every season. See Dave in our Stanford Sierra sailing overview video.
Dave training summer staff at the boat dock

Dave training summer staff at the boat dock

Since assuming his position as Camp Director, Dave no longer backpacks across Europe, but he still partakes in the adventures that can be found around camp. He runs the Angora Loop nearly every day during the summer and often sails Lake Tahoe. Dave shares his camp experience now with his wife, Tamara, (they are about to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary!) and his daughters Danica and Tatum. During the second to last week of the fall conference season, we had our first heavy snow. The clouds hung low, hiding the mountain peaks. Snow drifted serenely to the ground, as if each flake had all the time in the world to fall. Standing in front of the Main Lodge and looking out at the lake really felt mystical. The clouds and snow buffered all other sound, leaving camp a tranquil refuge seemingly all on its own. Dave believes that it is his responsibility to make this feeling of magic last, allow it to permeate everyone's experience here—from guests to staff.
A magical day with a fresh layer of snow at Fallen Leaf

A magical day with a fresh layer of snow at Fallen Leaf

When I asked Dave about whether that initial feeling of magic has lasted his thirty-years at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, he said, “It's different in my position now. I have to worry and take care of stuff to keep it magical for you guys.”
Dave out on the waterfront

Dave out on the waterfront

 

See more

Bring Your Meeting to Camp

by stanfordsierra

01 24, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting, Recreation | 0 comments

Each summer for over 50 years, we host Stanford alumni and their families for one week of blissful summer camp on the shore of beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake.

PT6A6126

A typical summer day at Sierra Camp

Our summer program is hugely popular with Stanford alumni, who wait up to five years to secure a spot for their family. The key components of the program are outdoor activities in our amazing setting on Fallen Leaf Lake, quality educational programs including faculty speakers and fun activities to get the group interacting. You can incorporate these successful elements of our summer family camp into your group event at Stanford Sierra Conference Center. Many groups hold meetings in the morning and evenings to have afternoons free for fun, outdoor activities. Excellent options are either a guided hike or boating. Maybe a kayak relay race? We can help you plan your activities and schedule a staff member or two to join your group for a hike or to run your boating race.
DSCN0434

A group gathering for a hike

For an overview of hiking in the area, watch our hiking video. During the day, plan plenty of breaks for the group to relax and network together. Weather permitting we hold coffee breaks outside on the deck overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake. The serene setting seems to put meeting attendees at ease.
IMG_9956

Coffee break on the Old Lodge deck

For evening activities we have two good options to borrow from summer camp, a bonfire and sing-a-long on the beach with s'mores and disco bingo. If you have guitar players or singers in your group, encourage them to bring their instruments to lead your group in singing camp songs together. We can provide the bonfire on the beach, song books and s'mores. If you don't have any musicians in your group, we can recommend local groups you can hire for your bonfire sing-a-long.
Campfire06

Summer bonfire on Baby Beach

Disco bingo is a Sierra Camp tradition that continues with guests maintaining their enthusiasm for it year after year.
Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Disco bingo is bingo, with disco music (costumes strongly recommended) added. Maybe your bingo caller will play "Dancing Queen", then all female attendees get up and dance. Some beer and wine at dinner can help get your group in the mood to boogie! We can provide the enthusiastic bingo callers in disco attire. You can add other summer camp activities to your Stanford Sierra meeting including yoga classes and lunch or dinner barbecues. Contact us and we can help you plan your event and suggest activities so you meet your event goals and your attendees have a relaxing and fun visit to Fallen Leaf Lake.

See more

Add a Golf Outing to Your Lake Tahoe Conference

by stanfordsierra

01 16, 2014 | Posted in Location, Meeting, Recreation | 0 comments

When planning the schedule for your Lake Tahoe conference at Fallen Leaf Lake, build time for a golf outing before or after your meeting. There are a few courses in South Lake Tahoe offering a variety of difficulty levels and prices. The most affordable course in South Lake Tahoe is the city-owned Bijou Golf Course in the center of town. 2013 green fees for the nine-hole course are $17 and club rental is $15 (rates will probably go up slightly for 2014). Bijou is a good course for beginners or a warm up for more advanced players to get the golf muscles going and keep up with your stroke. From the Bijou course golfers have great views of the surrounding mountains. Expect the course to be in better shape in the fall versus the spring.

Bijou Golf Course

Bijou Golf Course

Experienced golfers will want to consider Lake Tahoe Golf Course. You can play the William Bell-designed championship course for $65 midweek or $85 on the weekend. Club and cart rentals are available and proper golf attire is required. If you don't have time for nine or 18 holes and just want to get out and swing the clubs, Lake Tahoe Golf Course has a putting green, chipping green and driving range available. Group or private lessons are available from PGA teaching professionals and there are a pro shop, snack bar and full bar onsite.
Newlyweds at Lake Tahoe Golf Course

Newlyweds at Lake Tahoe Golf Course

For a first class golf experience on one of the most scenic courses in the world, visit Edgewood Tahoe located on the shore of South Lake Tahoe. The course was designed by George Fazio and rated by Golf Digest Magazine as one of America's top courses. Spring 2014 green fees range from $110 to $160. Rates go up in summer then drop late summer, and drop again in late fall. If you are not a golfer, Edgewood is worth visiting for the excellent bar and restaurant and to enjoy the amazing lake and mountain views. Edgewood is one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate a special occasion and Brooks bar is a great spot to meet friends for drinks and appetizers.
Aerial view of Edgewood during the celebrity golf challenge

Aerial view of Edgewood during the celebrity golf challenge

For a comprehensive overview of area golfing visit Tahoe South. All three South Lake Tahoe golf courses mentioned have staff available year round, so give them a call if you have questions or to schedule a group tee time. I'm not a golfer, but writing this post makes me want to get outside and play!

See more

Recommended Lake Tahoe Lodging for Pre and Post Conference Stays

by stanfordsierra

01 09, 2014 | Posted in Lake Tahoe area, Lodging | 0 comments

If you are arriving in the area before your Lake Tahoe conference at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, or extending your stay after, we often have other events going on and don't have available lodging. Following are our recommendations for the best places to stay in the Tahoe area before or after your Lake Tahoe conference. Most of our recommendations are located close to the Heavenly Village which has a number of good shopping and dining options, plus a movie theater. The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel formerly Embassy Suites is located on the border between California and Nevada. The all-suite hotel has a comfortable atmosphere and is right next door to the casinos in Nevada if you would like to do some gambling. At the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel your stay includes full breakfast and happy hour plus the hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub. Particularly appealing if your family is traveling with you! If you are flying into the Reno/Tahoe airport and won't be renting a car, the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is conveniently located on the South Tahoe Express shuttle route. You can view the airport shuttle schedule online. The Forest Suites Resort at Heavenly Village is another family-friendly option with an Xbox game center and kids' activities on the weekends. Midweek stays at Forest Suites include full breakfast and nightly wine and cheese social hours. If you would like to experience a casino, stay in Nevada at either Harveys, Harrah's or Mont Bleu Resort Casino & Spa. All three are located on the South Tahoe Express shuttle route from the Reno Tahoe Airport and all three offer a variety of dining options with fine dining at Friday's Station at Harrahs and 19 Kitchen and Bar at Harveys. Mont Bleu has an excellent spa and indoor pool. If you are looking for a quieter experience we recommend the Black Bear Inn Bed & Breakfast or Lakeland Village located on the shore of Lake Tahoe. The Black Bear Inn has beautiful, mountain-themed rooms and cabins plus a delicious full breakfast each morning. Lakeland Village is in the center of South Lake Tahoe and is within walking or short driving distance to a number of restaurants. Stanford Sierra Conference Center is open for group events in the spring and fall. If you are visiting in summer or winter, our recommendations are great places to stay to access the excellent array of mountain recreation that Tahoe has to offer. Of course, you don't have to take our recommendations! View the full list of South Lake Tahoe lodging options online.

See more

Dates Still Available for Holiday Lodging at the Stanford Alpine Chalet

by stanfordsierra

12 20, 2013 | Posted in The Stanford Alpine Chalet | 0 comments

If you are still thinking about a trip up to the snow this Christmas - New Year's holiday, the Stanford Alpine Chalet has some rooms available. Some of the available space opened up recently after the Stanford football team secured their spot versus Michigan State in the 2014 Rose Bowl on Wednesday, January 1. (Go Cardinal!)  A number of alums cut their Chalet visit short to head to Pasadena! Yesterday a fresh dusting of snow fell over the Lake Tahoe area, and now the forecast is for clear skies, so dry roads for your trip up to the mountains and California sunshine for your snow time!

Emerald Bay with a fresh coat of snow

Emerald Bay with a fresh coat of snow

At the Chalet, your day starts with a cooked-to-order breakfast. Chef Scott is ready to take your order and cook up your eggs as you like them!  After breakfast, you can hop on the Chalet ski shuttle and head to the nearby slopes at Alpine Meadows. The Chalet shuttle runs three times each morning and afternoon, or you can make the short drive over to Squaw Valley. You can purchase discounted Alpine/ Squaw lift tickets at the Chalet office. For some sledding fun, there is a nice hill just across the street from the Chalet. B.Y.O.S - bring your own sleds! After a day of fun on the mountains, you can soak your tired muscles in the Chalet's outdoor hot tub and enjoy the amazing view of the surrounding peaks.
The view through the new hot tub fence!

The view through the new hot tub fence!

During the holidays the Chalet provides daily apres ski social hour with wine and hors d'oeuvres. If there is enough interest from onsite guests, have dinner right there at the Chalet. You can also head to Truckee or Tahoe City for a wide selection of excellent restaurants. Of course the great room is a cozy place to spend the evening in front of the fire and the Christmas tree! IMG_3213 Happy holidays to you and we hope to see you soon! Call Brian today at 530-583-1550 to schedule your holiday getaway to the Chalet!

See more

Linguine with Basil, Roasted Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons and Parmesan

by stanfordsierra

12 05, 2013 | Posted in Dining | 0 comments

During this busy time of year, it's nice to have some easy, healthy and tasty recipes to throw together. Our executive sous chef Tara Crowley served linguine with basil, roasted tomatoes, preserved lemons and Parmesan during our fall conference season. You can make this at home or serve it for your next group event.

DSCN2541

If you're cutting back on simple carbs during this holiday season overloaded with treats made of white flour and sugar, replace the linguine with spaghetti squash. Of course, in this recipe the preserved lemons will need to be prepped in advance or you can purchase them. If you want to make your own preserved lemons, Elise Bauer, a past presenter at our Stanford alumni creative camp,  has an easy to follow recipe for preserved lemons on her blog Simply Recipes. Tara preserved her lemons in the summer. After a month, she discarded the accumulated liquid and roasted the lemon salt for margaritas, etc. (how good does that sound!)
Tara's preserved lemons and roasted lemon salt

Tara's preserved lemons and roasted lemon salt

Your lemons can preserve for three weeks or up to four months. DSCN2535Roasting tomatoes is a simple step to add great flavor. Especially this time of year when tomatoes aren't in season and don't have the great flavor of a summer tomato. Quarter or halve tomatoes and add fresh sliced garlic which sweetens while roasting. I found an easy roasted tomato recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. IMG_2648 While your pasta or spaghetti squash is cooking, you want to chop your basil and grate your Parmesan. When your linguine is ready, toss with olive oil, then plate the linguine, sprinkle the chopped basil and grated Parmesan, then  top with preserved lemons and the roasted tomatoes then drizzle with balsamic vinegar - yum!
Delicious and pretty!

Bon appetite!

In the spring, we'll share more delicious recipes from our dynamic kitchen trio, Dave, Tara and Katie!

See more

Fallen Leaf Lake’s Underwater Forest

by The Aviator

11 07, 2013 | Posted in History, Location | 0 comments

In 2008, all purpose staff member Harrison Kass, asked his manager at Stanford Sierra Conference Center how deep Fallen Leaf Lake was. The response was “You don’t want to know.” Water can be terrifying, especially water as deep as Fallen Leaf Lake. At its deepest point the Lake is 418 feet in depth.  A story of a building is roughly ten feet high.  A forty story building could stand erect and hidden below the surface of Fallen Leaf.

Submerged Pine below Fallen Leaf Lake

Submerged Pine below Fallen Leaf Lake

John Kleppe, a Professor Emeritis at the University of Nevada, lives on Fallen Leaf Lake. Fishing is his passion and many of his days are spent on the water, rod in hand. For years his lure would snag on solid objects below the surface. Certainly it was not the bottom of the lake… but what?  Mysteries have a way of getting under our skin and festering, and the mystery of Fallen Leaf’s depths grated on Kleppe. Finally, after years of snagged lines, Kleppe hired a diver, Phil Caterino, to investigate. On a fall day in 1997, the diver slipped below the water line.  When he eventually surfaced, he held the petrified branch of a Jeffery Pine in his hand. The branch was still redolent of ancient sap. Caterino discovered a forest below the lake. The forest below Fallen Leaf Lake dates back to the medieval era. From 850-1150 C.E. a prolonged drought ravaged the Sierra. A Millennium Drought drained the alpine lake, leaving a large portion of it barren long enough for one hundred foot trees to grow. Then after the water returned, with low oxygen levels in the lake and devoid of fungi and insects, the trees were left alone in their underwater crypt—preserved perfectly.
A large pine tree under the water of Fallen Leaf Lake

A large pine tree under the water of Fallen Leaf Lake

In 2009 Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, plumbed the depths of Fallen Leaf to observe this underwater forest. Professor Kleppe wasn’t the only one to snag a line on these submerged trees; miles of fishing wire dangled from the branches. There were also chains of gelatinous single celled protists hanging from the trees. As the organisms divide they clump together creating golf ball-sized plump, white balls. These were 'never before seen' organisms found only in Fallen Leaf Lake. Like little jelly fish they catch the refracted light and glow faintly. Kent described the scene, “It was a bizarre Christmas-tree effect… I was just waiting for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to fly in.” When you paddle out on Fallen Leaf Lake you assume that this landscape, this lake framed by dramatic, sheer peaks, is timeless. It is easy to forget that our earth, the water, is inconstant, that not very many years ago a forest grew in the space below your paddle. (For more information about the underwater forest, click here.)

See more