As someone skiing since the 80s, finding seating a lodges for lunch on weekends and holidays (if snow is decent) has always been a problem at many Tahoe resorts. Worst actually on weekends of storm days when by late morning large numbers of inadequately dressed skiers spend the rest of their day crowding every availabe spot. Especially annoying for we hard core skiers that come in at noon encrusted with snow severely in need of some warmth and comfort only to find no where to sit.
This person long ago gave up eating in lodges if at all possible for brown bagging at my vehicle. But still do end up occasionally eating lunch in lodges when with a group of others. Recall not a few times ending up sitting on the floor anywhere discrete enough not to be a nuisance and before long a colony of others would do likewise. And like rollin had wondered why it had to be so? What could resorts do? And then I would reflect on how most ski resorts seem to be operated by those most resistant to really thinking out of the box on solutions, rather deferring to safe solutions most other resorts have already established conservatively as ok. Like creativity has little place.
Obviously many of the "squatters" are not eating most of the time beyond having a drink they've been as an excuse sipping for two hours. No, resorts would do well to find ways to draw squatters who won't be skiing somewhere else with seating. Somewhere messy sit down dinner plate food was not allowed but rather just snacks and drinks.
So here is my big idea... How about a room or sectionalized rooms with several tvs getting video feeds from video cameras placed at the most interesting places on a hill maybe with the ability to zoom in out and rotate a bit? Of course at least some of the more gnarly advanced slopes but also the easier and novice slopes where people could watch for their kids to come down? Better there could be some video amps with output jacks placed around the room where people could record a feed as much as they wished? Heck resorts could SELL USB sticks to people that could just plug them in and later pull em out. And such could be housed in much less expensive buildings than say a cafeteria or restaurant or some fancy pricy lodge. And one more thing yeah some very aromatic hot popcorn.