Tahoe Nordic adventures await

A skier glides along the trail system at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, which became the first cross-country ski area in the region to install a snow-making system this season. Read Tahoe Weekly’s 16th annual Nordic Ski Guide in this edition to learn more about the region’s 20 private and public cross-country ski areas. | Photography courtesy Tahoe Donner, tahoedonner.com

Tahoe Nordic adventures await
If you haven’t ever tried cross-country skiing or at least gone snowshoeing, I highly recommend giving both a try. A serene outing into the forests and across mountain trails with sweeping views of the Tahoe Sierra should be a must-do on everyone’s winter bucket list.

I spend my winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and try to explore as many of our local ski areas as I can each season, while mixing in many days of snowshoeing the region’s trails.

Snowshoeing is one of the easiest winter sports to pick up and it’s also one of the most inexpensive ones to enjoy. Strap on a pair of snowshoes, grab a set of poles and you’re ready to explore. If you’re new to snowshoeing and unsure where to go, start out at one of our local Nordic ski areas or local parks. This edition features our 16th Annual Nordic Ski Guide, which highlights 20 local private and public ski areas that offer groomed or marked trails for Nordic skiers and snowshoers to enjoy.

Cross-country skiing is also relatively easy to pick up. I highly recommend taking a lesson at one of the local ski areas and purchasing your own set up – also relatively inexpensive. And, then it’s just a matter of getting out on a trail.

Some great spots for beginners include the free trails at Sugar Pine and Donner Memorial state parks, Nevada Nordic (Mt. Rose and Spooner), Plumas-Eureka State Park and North Tahoe Regional Park; along with the inexpensive options at Clair Tappaan, Tahoe City Winter Sports Park and LTCC Nordic. But you’ll find day passes to any of the local Nordic ski areas to be reasonably priced.

I also highly recommend taking a clinic to improve your skiing if you’re already a cross-country skier. I took Tahoe Donner’s downhill clinic for cross-country skiers last year and it was life changing. And, yes, you can make turns on cross-country skis (once you learn the tricks).

A few of the highlights of this year’s Nordic guide: Royal Gorge celebrates its 50th season; Tahoe Donner Cross Country has debuted the region’s first snowmaking at a cross-country center; Sugar Pine and Donner Memorial state parks will both be grooming cross-country trails for the first time in years; Tahoe XC’s new lodge is getting closer to breaking ground; and ASC’s new night skiing trails are open for the season. You’ll find a list of Snow Trails to enjoy in the guide, as well.

State of Donner Lake
Lake Tahoe’s clarity and the impacts of invasive species on Big Blue are common topics of discussion among locals and visitors. But what isn’t often discussed or even know about is the state of one of Tahoe’s sister lakes – Donner Lake. A recreational paradise itself, Donner Lake doesn’t get much attention or coverage so Priya Hutner and I decided last summer to ask local officials – what is the State of Donner Lake?

Priya spent months talking to various agencies before learning of the relatively new Donner Lake Inter-Agency Partnership for Stewardship, which released its first State of Donner Lake report in early December. Read Priya’s story in this edition to learn about the threats to Donner Lake.