Backyard Olympics: Cross country resorts
Not only are cross country resorts generally less expensive than downhill resorts, the low-key atmosphere is attractive for anyone interested in a peaceful day out on the snow.
• Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area – 40 miles of trails with numerous views of Lake Tahoe.
925 Country Club Drive, Tahoe City, CA 96145
Master Passes: Skiers 60-69 years old ski all day for $17; half-day tickets are $13.
Midweek Lunch Special: Folks with a flexible midweek schedule can take advantage of the midweek lunch special Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Get a full day trail pass plus a sandwich for $25 (all ages). Seniors (60-69) pay $20.
$12 Tuesday: Trail passes are just $12 every Tuesday.
Learn Free: Beginners can learn free. Classic/striding lessons taught at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursdays and skate lessons are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesdays and 9:15 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays (trail pass and rentals not included).
Ski Free: Skiers 70 years and older ski free every day all season.
• Tahoe Donner Cross Country – more than 62 miles over 4,800 acres featuring trails for all ability levels.
15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee, CA 96161
Master Passes: Skiers 60-69 years old ski all day for $18; from 1 to 5 p.m. for $15; and from 3 to 5 p.m. or night skiing 5 to 7 p.m. for $12.
Ski Free: Skiers 70 years and older ski free every day all season. Manager Jo Jo Toeppner says she gives away about 100 comp passes per month to Super Boomers.
• Northstar-at-Tahoe – 1,400 acres of groomed cross country and snowshoe trails adjacent to downhill ski resort.
Northstar Resort at the top of the Gondola next to Vista Express Lift
Northstar Drive, Truckee, CA 96161
Moonlight Tours: Offered Feb. 25-26 and March 26-27 starting at 5 p.m. Experience Northstar on a 2.5-hour, four-mile trek culminating with acoustic music and bonfire. Cost is $35 not including rental.
Master Passes: Skiers over 65 years old ski for $13.
• Squaw Creek Cross Country Ski Center – beginner course provides 18 kilometers of trails.
Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, Calif.
• Royal Gorge – North America’s largest cross country ski resort with 320 kilometers of trails.
9411 Hillside Drive, Soda Springs, CA 95728
Ski Free: Only skiers older than 75 can ski free at Royal Gorge.
California Gold Rush: 45K, 30K and 15K races to benefit Far West Nordic on March 28.
• Camp Richardson – 22 miles of groomed cross country trails near Lake Tahoe, moonlight skiing available.
1900 Jameson Beach Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
• Hope Valley Cross Country – 60 miles of marked trails
Picket’s Junction Highway 88/89, Hope Valley, CA 96129
Free Skiing: No trail passes any day all day, donations are accepted.
Full Moon Tours: Offered Feb. 27, full moon tours cost $20 per person and begin at 6 p.m.
Snowshoe Thompson Interpretive Tour: Learn about the legend of the Carson Pass 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 6. Tour is $20 including equipment; $10 without.
• Spooner Lake Cross Country – 50 miles of trails spread over 9,000 acres
Bring a Friend: Adults save big on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they bring a friend for $1. That’s $22 for two people.
Half-Day Wednesdays: Ski all day for half the price of a regular all-day adult ticket.
Master Pass: Skiers between 60 and 69 years old ski all day every day for the half-day price.
Ski Free: 70 years and older ski free every day.
• Kirkwood Cross Country – 50 miles of high elevation machine-groomed trails
1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, Kirkwood CA
Masters Pass: 65-69 ski all day for $17 and half-day for $22. Folks over 70 years old pay $12 for full and half-day tickets.
Compiled by Wendy Lautner