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Family-friendly Tahoe Donner ski resort offers great beginner terrain

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The lure of small ski resorts like Tahoe Donner ski resort is its uncrowded slopes, great beginner terrain, groomed runs, and areas for sledding and pure family fun.

Tahoe Donner is certainly not one of the first places people think of when they consider skiing or snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.

Located off Interstate 80 and five miles from Donner Lake, Tahoe Donner has a modest downhill terrain of 120 skiable acres, accessed by two lifts and 14 trails. Its base elevation rests at 6,200 feet and its Summit rises to an elevation of 8,000.

Tahoe Donner not only has a downhill area, it also features a cross country center that is popular for locals and visitors to the Lake Tahoe region.

Tahoe Donner ski resort’s opened Dec. 14. It was the last of Lake Tahoe’s 14 ski resorts to open for the 2013-14 ski season.

Tahoe Donner is old school resort for sure. Where else could one find an opening-day price of $15 for adults (ages 13-74) and $5 for kids (ages 7-12). And one day later (Dec. 15) on Customer Appreciation Day, a lift ticket cost a mere $5 for everyone!

With limited terrain right now, the adult lift tickets remain at $15 and kids ski or ride for $5 a day.

Tahoe Donner remains committed to being a family resort that offers a great place to learn to ski or snowboard. It offers skiing to anyone age 3 or older. The resort definitely caters to beginners.

New for the 2013-14 ski season is a 700 square-foot yurt, which will allow the resort to provide a slopeside warm area for lessons with a large sundeck.

Tahoe Donner terrain
Besides its two chairlifts (one quad and one double chair), Tahoe Donner also has a terrain park and three surface lifts, which is a great option for those looking for a more intimate and laid-back experience.

Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center
The cross country center opened for the season Dec. 8 and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with half-day rates of $22 ($14 for homeowners) for an all-day trail pass.

After 1 p.m., twilight rates of $17 ($12 for homeowners) are offered. Rental equipment is available. Alder Creek Café is open on a limited basis with coffee, tea, soup and muffins. Dog trails are not currently open. Check the website for the conditions report.

Both Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center and Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area offer great programs – including a newly announced Junior Biathlon program. Sign-ups for season-long programs are still available.

For more information on Tahoe Donner recreation facilities and events, visit or call (530) 587-9400.