This will be the final weekend of skiing and snowboarding at Donner Ski Ranch near Lake Tahoe, which closes Sunday, May 14.
While Tahoe’s other smaller, family-friendly ski resorts have all shut down for the 2016-17 season, iconic Donner Ski Ranch remains open, one of four Lake Tahoe ski resorts that’s still running its lifts.
Donner Ski Ranch has a Mother’s Day promotion on Sunday – all moms ski for free.
It’s been quite the season for snowfall at Donner Ski Ranch, which has received 762 inches. The enormous snow total is the primary reason owners Marshall and Janet Tuttle decided to keep operating.
The Tuttles anticipate running three lifts this Saturday and Sunday (the resort is closed weekdays) – two on the front and one on the back side of Donner Summit. The moving carpet for beginners is also open, and so will the resort’s tubing hill, conditions permitting.
Being open this late in the season is not unprecedented at Donner Ski Ranch, which is located off Interstate 80 at the Norden exit, along historic Highway 40.
“In 2011, our last day spinning a lift was on July 10. We had Chair 2 on the backside of the mountain open and we transported skiers back there so they had easy access,” Janet Tuttle said. “With all the snow we got, and the challenges it brought – from road closures and power outages, to running out of places to stack snow – this was a season for the books.”
Donner Ski Ranch has a long history, dating back to 1937 when it began operation. The resort shut down for several years during World War II, but reopened for the public after the war years. Jerry Ellis, the original owner, installed one of the area’s first lifts, a tow rope.
In the 1970s, Donner Ski Ranch also made news by being one of the first ski resorts in the U.S. to open its hill to snowboarders. Snowboarders weren’t welcome at other Tahoe resorts until the 1980s.
Lift prices are a bargain at Donner Ski Ranch. Adults can ski this weekend for $69, teens 13-17 will be charged $59, children 6-12 are $29, and its $15 for kids 6-under.
Also closing Sunday will be Alpine Meadows, which is only open this week on May 13-14.
Following Sunday, only two Lake Tahoe ski resorts will remain open – Mt. Rose and Squaw Valley.
Mt. Rose remains open for most of May, closing for good on Memorial Day (May 29). Located on Mount Rose Highway in Nevada, Mt. Rose is operating on a reduced schedule. The resort will be open Thursday through Sunday and close the other three days until Memorial Day.
In March, Squaw Valley announced it would offer skiing and riding on July 4 for the fourth time ever. Now the famed Lake Tahoe ski resort is venturing beyond Independence Day for the first time in its history.
Beyond the Fourth of July, Squaw Valley is planning to operate the Shirley Lake Express chair on Saturdays for 2017-18 Tahoe Super Passholders. Discounted daily lift tickets will also be available.
Closing dates for Lake Tahoe resorts
Homewood: April 16
Kirkwood Mountain: April 16
Tahoe Donner: April 16
Granlibakken: April 17
Soda Springs: April 23
Sierra-at-Tahoe: April 23
Diamond Peak: April 23
Northstar: April 23
Boreal Mountain: April 23
Heavenly Mountain: April 30
Sugar Bowl: May 7
Donner Ski Ranch: May 14
Alpine Meadows: May 14
Mount Rose: May 29
Squaw Valley: TBA