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Heavenly ski resort names trail after 96-year-old Lake Tahoe legend

KCRA Sacramento logo KCRA Sacramento 9/27/2017

Heavenly Mountain Resort dedicated a portion of the mountain to a longtime ski patroller.

Martin Hollay is a beloved legend in Lake Tahoe. The 96-year-old is one of the earliest employees at Heavenly Mountain Resort and still skis there every winter.

“My favorite run is Lizard Run,” Hollay said. “My knees tell me go up once more, or go home.”

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Hollay immigrated to the United States in the 1950s from Hungary, landing in Los Angeles as a glove maker. But he fell in love with the Tahoe Basin at the top of Heavenly’s Gunbarrel Run.

“I took a look around,” Hollay said. “Jesus Christ, the lake, the mountains, the valley. Martin, what the hell are you doing in Los Angeles?”

Hollay held several positions at Heavenly Mountain Resort over the decades. He helped pave the runs skiers enjoy today and was a ski patroller. He also worked to build the first snow-making machine, which included a dam and reservoir.

MARTIN HOLLAY HEAVENLY SKI RESORT SOUTH LAKE TAHOE © Tom McGowan MARTIN HOLLAY HEAVENLY SKI RESORT SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

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“Heavenly is the only place I decided to live the rest of my life.” Hollay explained. “They have a saying: 'If the mountain doesn’t come to me, I come to the mountains.'”

When the dam and reservoir were completed, Hollay worked to replace the trees that had been removed. Over the years he planted dozens of trees and watched them grow over the decades.

Heavenly held a ceremony for the 96-year-old on Monday, dedicating the row of trees Hollay planted over the years, called “Martin’s Trees."

The ski resort also designated a “Martin’s Peak” and “Martin’s Trail” in honor of Hollay.

Hollay turns 97 years old in November, and plans to ski again this winter.

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