It North Lake Tahoe it seems that downhill ski and board resorts rule, especially with more than a dozen to choose from. What locals know is that cross country resorts are nearly as numerous as their steeper counterparts, and just as legendary.
Did you know that the region boasts the largest cross country resort in the country – Royal Gorge? Just minutes off Interstate 80 and atop of the world on snowy Donner Summit, Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort has 320km (that’s approximately 200 miles) of groomed tracks and trails along with two rustic, Old Tahoe lodging properties, the ski-in, ski-out Ice Lakes Lodge and the quaint Rainbow Lodge.
Looking for something a little more, well, competitive? Squaw Valley may have hosted the majority of the 1960 Winter Olympic events, but the cross-country races, including the popular biathlon, were actually held on Tahoe’s West Shore at Sugar Pine Point State Park. There Nordic enthusiasts choose from four distinct, well-marked trails, making up 15km of terrain. The park is also home to historic Ehrman Mansion.
Another great spot to check out, and a locals’ favorite, is Tahoe XC which is just behind Tahoe City’s commercial core with 65km of groomed trails, a day lodge and café. A great all-around resort, well-mannered dogs can join their humans on either of two dog-friendly trails, and there’s more than eight km of beginner and intermediate terrain. Dog day passes are $4 and season passes are just $49. Tahoe XC is also the start of the prestigious Great Ski Race, now in its 36th year. Slated for March 4, 2012, competitors race 30 km from the resort to Truckee.
Still looking for more? Here are some other great places to check out:
North Tahoe Regional Park, Tahoe Vista: Great for beginners with 5km of groomed trails and family play area with pay parking
Northstar California, Tahoe Donner Ski Resort and Granlibakken Resort: All paired up with downhill resorts if you’re traveling in “mixed company”. Northstar’s Cross Country Ski and Snowboard Center, located at the base of the resort’s alpine area, has 40km of carefully groomed, picturesque trails. Tahoe Donner Downhill and Cross Country Ski Area in Truckee has 115km of skiable cross-country terrain. Granlibakken Lodge, just outside of Tahoe City on the West Shore and located in a serene valley, has lift access to several miles of Nordic skiing terrain, including charming Page Meadows and access to the famed Tahoe Rim Trail, in addition to its beginner downhill slope.
Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley: Adjacent to Squaw Valley’s massive downhill area, this luxurious AAA four-diamond resort has 18km of meticulously groomed trails winding through a stunning meadow and hillside. A cool 70% percent of the terrain is geared specifically for beginners.