Ski Industry News

It’s Mostly Child’s Play at Tahoe Donner

by Dan Giesin | January 8, 2019

Life in the fast lane is not for everybody.
Take Tahoe Donner, for instance.
The small ski resort in Truckee is as bland and vanilla as the 400 inches of Sierra Nevada snow that annually cover its 120 acres of skiable terrain. But that’s just fine for the folks at Tahoe Donner, who proudly boast that the ski hill has been voted “the best place for families” and “the best place to begin” by readers of a local newspaper.

A Gentle Place

The mountain is as non-threatening as a ski hill can get, with 600 vertical feet of relatively gentle, open-bowl terrain and 17 named runs accessed by the top-to-bottom Eagle Rock fixed-grip quad. Another, much shorter lift, the Snowbird triple chair, provides access to Tahoe Donner’s expansive Learning Center and beginner terrain. And three magic carpets allow never-ever skiers and boarders to gain some uphill transport with the minimum of fuss and bother.
In addition, the base area is small and simple to use and navigate, so friends and family can collect themselves before and after a day on the hill quickly and easily. And because Tahoe Donner is a short drive north of I-80, it seems far away from the often hectic and crowded North Lake Tahoe-Truckee-Donner Summit resorts to the south and west.
In other words, Tahoe Donner, whose ski and snowboard school specializes in teaching first-timers and novices, is the perfect place to take young kids who are just getting their ski and/or snowboard legs under them.

An Olympic Legacy

Indeed, many of the world-class ski and snowboard athletes who grew up in the Truckee area made their first turns at TD, and most look fondly back on those years before they headed for the more challenging terrain of nearby Squaw Valley or Sugar Bowl.
“My skiing career started at 2 years old, when I made my first turns there,” says Mark Engel, a member of the U.S. Olympic ski team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. “My first memory of Tahoe Donner was making airplane turns with my dad on Snowbird (run).”
Kids happily whizzing down the hill, making power wedges or heel slides either alone or with mom or dad in tow, is the essence of Tahoe Donner.
And that’s about as fast as life gets there, too.

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