Accessing Tahoe’s back country

Michelle Parker enjoys back-country skiing in January on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe above Emerald Bay with views of the South Shore in the distance. Photography by Ming Poon |, @Ming.T.Poon

Recreation from back-country skiing and snowmobiling, to trail access for hiking, climbing and mountain biking, among many other pursuits, remain an important part of visiting and living in the Tahoe Sierra. While the interest in access to public trails for both winter and summer continues to grow each year, access has not.

The need for more parking or alternative transportation to access public lands has not kept up with demand in some areas, and in the case of winter parking access, it’s actually shrunk in recent years for a myriad of reasons. The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance has stepped in this winter to try out a microtransit shuttle to transport back-country enthusiasts from Tahoe City to Emerald Bay, an area at the epicenter of the problem.

Writer Sean McAlindin has been covering public access issues for the last few years and tried out the new back-country shuttle during its inaugural run in January for his story “Get on the Back-Country Bus: Alliance pilots microtransit on West Shore.” The Alliance hopes the shuttle could help address the parking issue to access winter trails in Emerald Bay and could provide a model in the future for possible expansion to areas like Castle Peak, Mount Tallac and Donner Summit.

Sky Tavern’s dedication to kids

We continue our ongoing series on local, independent downhill ski areas in this edition profiling Sky Tavern along the Mount Rose Highway. While the City of Reno owns the land, the nonprofit Sky Tavern Junior Ski Program has been operating the ski hill since 1991 for the benefit of local kids and has taught more than 100,000 children to ski and ride. Kayla Anderson recently spent the day at the ski area for her feature on this unique program: “Sky Tavern: Dedicated to teaching kids to ski.”