Nordic Ski Guide 2018-19

Courtesy Auburn Ski Club

Auburn Ski Club Training Center

Auburn Ski Club Training Center is located on north-facing slopes at the top of Donner Summit. The area often is the first of the Nordic ski resorts to open and the last to close. ASC has an active focus on a variety of ski training and racing programs and a regular venue for school races including several Junior Nationals.

ASC Training Center offers a 6,000 square-foot lodge, a 2,000 square-foot fitness center, a 25km cross-country trail system and Nordic competition venue, and a dedicated Alpine race arena at Boreal.

All winter programs and the cross-country trail system are open to the public with inexpensive day use rates and cross-country season pass prices ranging from $45 to $129, which includes five free nights of downhill skiing or riding at Boreal.

ASC’s Alpine skiing and snowboard programs have been introducing children to the joy and excitement of winter sports for decades with programs for every discipline. And, it’s the site of the only Olympic-distance, year-round biathlon range in the West and hosts clinics and a variety of biathlon races throughout the year, directed by former Olympian Glenn Jobe. |


Bijou Cross Country

Centrally located in South Lake Tahoe, Bijou features 4km of marked trails that is mostly flat and great for beginners.

The cross-country trail is part of Bijou Community Park, which also offers a historic railroad exhibit, skateboard park and fenced dog park. There is no trail fee for skiing or snowshoeing. No rentals or lessons are available; bring your own equipment. | (530) 542-6056


Tom Zikas | Camp Richardson

Camp Richardson

Camp Richardson’s Mountain Sports Center provides 10km of groomed and marked trails for beginners to experts. Several trails head out from the center looping through the open forest to the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake. Two other shorter trails meander through the grounds of the resort and along the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Join the fun with the Snowshoe Cocktail Races. Think you have what it takes to run with a full cocktail tray in hand through obstacles up and down the beach at The Beacon Bar & Grill while wearing snowshoes? There are prizes for the fastest (and cleanest) at the obstacle course finish line. Offered Jan. 19, Feb. 16, and March 16 and 30. |


Clair Tappaan Lodge

This rustic Sierra Club lodge is located near the top of Donner Summit, often buried in snow. There are 14 km of trails heading out from the back door of the lodge and up to the area near the back of Boreal Ski Resort. Skiing is free for lodge guests and rentals are available.

Clair Tappaan Lodge operates four back-country huts – Benson, Bradley, Ludlow and Peter Grubb – in the Tahoe Sierra for year-round recreational use. Each hut provides rustic accommodations for about 15 people and includes a sleeping loft, wood stove and outhouse. These huts give ambitious skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers a chance to explore the mountains without needing to build an igloo or pitch a tent. Each hut can be reached in one day or less from the nearest road by an average group with good weather. Reservations fill up fast and all huts may be difficult to locate in heavy snow years. |


Donner Memorial State Park

Donner Memorial State Park has more than 16km of trails throughout the park. Although the trails are not groomed, visitors can make his or her own route to Schallenberger Ridge, Coldstream Canyon or along the shores of Donner Lake.

Be sure to check out the new Visitor Center built a few years ago featuring local history and an amazing bookstore with something for all ages. Check for upcoming events by visiting

Access to the trails is free; parking is $5. Dogs are welcome but must be on leash. |


Courtesy Granlibakken


Granlibakken Resort has a small downhill ski hill that began offering wintertime activities in 1922, and in 1932 was home to the National Championships in ski jumping. Skiers can explore the historic resort’s 72 acres or follow marked trails to Page Meadows to experience Tahoe’s back country.

Granlibakken has expanded its online-purchasing options for guests this year and expanded its food offerings. Cedar House Pub will be open Thursday to Sunday, with Rusty’s Kitchen serving authentic Mexican fare Friday to Monday. Gran Spot Coffee Cart and Gran Spot Barbecue area also open Friday to Monday. Food offerings are also open daily during holiday periods. |


Courtesy Hope Valley Outdoors

Hope Valley Outdoors

Hope Valley Outdoors, or Hope Valley Cross Country, is a sustainable, off-the-grid, small winter resort operating out of a yurt at Pickett’s Junction in Hope Valley offering guests great outdoor winter recreational opportunities.

Owner Joyce Coker launched the yurt to offer her cross-country skills and back-country knowledge to help visitors explore the outdoors and improve his or her skills.

Hope Valley Outdoors offers cross-country skiing, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, rentals and guided tours. Coker’s focus and expertise is on true back-country cross-country, traditional kick and glide skiing. Hope Valley maintains a limited amount of trails around the Yurt. Trails are skier packed and easily accessed, along with limited grooming for classic cross-country skiing.

Enjoy moonlight tours through February featuring the stunning beauty of moonlight in Hope Valley, Star Light Star Bright Winter Tours on Jan. 5 and Feb. 2, Winter Photography on snowshoes on March 5, and learn about Animals in Hope Valley in winter during a snowshoe tour on Feb. 23. Look for avalanche awareness classes to be offered this season, as well. Services provided by check or cash only, and trail passes are by donation. |


Courtesy Kirkwood

Kirkwood Cross-Country & Snowshoe Center

Kirkwood Cross Country offers 60km of machine-groomed trails with skating and snowshoe lanes over three interconnected trail systems. Many trails feature interpretive signs providing for a more enlightening and meaningful visit. The Kiddy Kilometer loop is sure to keep the youngest skiers engaged with life-sized animal cutouts and flip up signs along the trail.

Dogs are allowed on the High Trail located behind the Kirkwood Inn and the Outer Loop on the meadow.

Sip on hot chocolate beside the wood-burning stove in the day lodge or warm up in one of three trailside warming huts. Finish the day with a scrumptious meal at the historic Kirkwood Inn, opened in 1864.

January is Learn to Ski month, a national event with the goal to expose the public to cross-country skiing. Kirkwood will be offering ski rentals, instructions and trail passes at half price (participants must pre-register).

Enjoy a Moon Light Snowshoe Trek on Jan. 19 and 20 and Feb. 16 and 17, or the Sunset Snowshoe Treks on March 2 and 9. |


Courtesy LTCC

LTCC Nordic Center

The Nordic Center on the campus of Lake Tahoe Community College provides up to 7km of trails for classic and skate skiing. The trails provide views of Freel Peak and Job’s Sister.

The center is operated by volunteers, and trails are groomed several times a week. Dogs are welcome; dogs must be leashed at trailheads and in parking lots.

The center offers a variety of day and season passes, including interchangeable passes to South Lake Tahoe businesses and a student pass. |


Courtesy Tim Hauserman

Nevada Nordic

Nevada Nordic is a nonprofit organization attempting to bring a groomed cross-country ski presence back to the state of Nevada. Trails are offered at several locations in the region and are groomed and open depending on conditions.

Trails are operated at the Incline Village Mountain Golf Course (skate and classic), on Tahoe Meadows near the Mount Rose summit with 2km of groomed skate trails (plans are in the works for classic trails), and at Spooner State Park on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe. Future plans are for a trail to be offered in the Incline Meadows area. Check for updates and grooming reports at |


Courtesy Northstar California

Northstar Cross Country, Telemark & Snowshoe Center

Northstar provides 30 km of groomed trails through a trail network that includes views of Lake Tahoe and a variety of terrain. Its mid-mountain location makes it the perfect spot for a family with divided interests — all can go their own way and meet up later for lunch at the lodge. Enjoy snowshoeing and fat tire biking, as well.

Join a Stargazing Snowshoe Tours this winter for a unique experience on Dec. 29, Jan. 5 and 26, and Feb. 9 and 23, or a guided Twilight or Family Snowshoe Tour this season. |


Daphne Hougard | NTPUD

North Tahoe Regional Park

The North Tahoe Regional Park offers a variety of activities for the whole family including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, a sled hill, ropes course and snowmobiling on a loop track. The park also offers an all-weather soccer field cleared of snow in the winter and guided snowshoe tours through Tahoe Adventure Company. Bring your own equipment for the sled hill.

The park is operated by the North Tahoe Public Utility District, which grooms trails three times a week (there is no set schedule). Check every Friday for updates on conditions. Trail access is free; parking is $5.|


Resort at Squaw Creek

Venture onto the 18 km of groomed trails at Resort at Squaw Creek for a quiet refuge from the crowds of Olympic Valley where the views of the mountains are spectacular. The trails are just outside the door of the resort to enjoy between spa appointments, a visit to the skating rink and dining at one of the restaurants.

Dog sledding is also a popular activity on the Resort at Squaw Creek trails. You can join in the fun behind the huskies or watch them fly by when you are skiing. |


Courtesy Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

The largest cross-country ski area in North America, Royal Gorge is known for its sweeping views of the Northern Sierra and eight distinct trail systems. Featuring 92 trails with more than 140km of groomed, tracked trails for human-powered outdoor recreation spread across 6,000 acres, guests of all ages and ability levels are invited to try classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing.

The resort offers 11.7km of dog trails and the popular Dress-Up-Your Dog Contest on Feb. 3, with the Dog Races on March 30. Enjoy a Full Moon Snowshoe Tour on Jan. 21 and Feb. 19, or try your skills at Ski Orienteering on Feb. 10.

Nine warming huts offer respite from the elements and a chance to take a break and soak in the peaceful tranquility of the mountains. Royal Gorge has a lot of offer from towering pines and expansive meadows to stunning vistas and majestic peaks, but one of the most breathtaking experiences in the Tahoe Sierra is skiing to The Royal Gorge. The Gorge is one of the natural wonders of the Sierra – a 4,417-foot deep gorge that is the namesake for the ski area.


Courtesy California State Parks

Sugar Pine Point State Park

The Ed Z’berg/Sugar Pine Point State Park is a spectacular spot to cross-country ski and snowshoe along the dense forests of the West Shore or along Lake Tahoe’s shores. The park offers more than 20km of marked cross-country ski trails for all levels.

Follow the path of the Nordic events of the 1960 Winter Olympics in what is now Sugar Pine Point State Park. Starting at the Blue Trailhead, visitors will come across a series of interpretive panels that share the region’s Olympic and Nordic skiing history found at the park.

Sugar Pine Point also is one of the only winter campgrounds that is open year-round in the Tahoe region, offering 16 campsites on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rangers offer a variety of programs from January to March, including guided Full Moon Snowshoe Tours on Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and March 16. Use of the trails is free; it is $5 to park. No dogs are allowed. For trail conditions, call the snow phone at (530) 525-9528. |


Courtesy TCPUD

Tahoe City Winters Sports Park

The Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and is a great spot for family fun. Enjoy the on-site restaurant Café Zenon for a bite to eat or a warm drink. The park provides 4km for both skating and striding, as well as a snowshoe loop/walking trail.

The Sports Park is operated by the Tahoe City Public Utility District and offers youth hockey clinics and an adult Broomball League. The park is an inexpensive way to entertain the kids and enjoy family time together. Spring for all-access season passes for the entire family; it’s inexpensive and great fun. |


Courtesy Tahoe Cross Country

Tahoe Cross Country

Stunning lake views along the trails at Tahoe Cross Country make it one of the area’s best spots for cross-country skiing. The ski area offers lessons and equipment rentals for cross-country, skate skis and demos. And, if you’re new to Nordic skiing, try the free cross-county lessons on Mondays with free skate skiing lessons every Wednesday.

Tahoe Cross Country hosts some of the region’s premier cross-country events including the start of the Tahoe Rim Tour on Jan. 27, the Alpenglow 20km on Feb. 24 and the 42nd Annual Great Ski Race on March 3. And, don’t miss the fun New Year’s Day Pancake Breakfast on Jan. 1.

The ski center also offers 8km of dog trails. Leashes are required in the parking lot and at trailheads. |


Daphne Hougard | Tahoe Donner Cross Country

Tahoe Donner Cross Country

Tahoe Donner Cross Country is committed to providing the best cross-country ski conditions in Tahoe, and a new PistenBully 100 snowcat further enhances its grooming abilities. The smaller and lighter grooming machine will allow for more precise grooming in challenging conditions, as well as help open trails more efficiently after snow storms.

Enjoy a guided Full Moon Snowshoe Tour on Jan. 19. As well, special Learn to Ski packages will be offered from Jan. 14 to 17 and Jan. 21 to 24 as part of National Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month.

Cross-country skiers, fat tire bikers and snowshoers will find new wayfinding signage throughout the ski center’s 100+ kilometers of skiable trails, including improved directional signs and trail names to better assist skiing passholders and visitors in exploring the ski center’s vast and diverse trail system. |