by: martylane - 28th November 2006

  • 3
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 3All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 2Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value

Full review

Donner Ski Ranch is the last of the blue collar ski areas in Tahoe. You will not share a lift with wealthy people from far away places at Donner Ski Ranch. Instead, you're more likely to meet some young first-timer from California's Central Valley, or a weathered local old-timer on $199 season pass. Donner is the polar opposite of Heavenly. Apres ski? How a bout a six-pack of PBR in the parking lot? The hill is small, and all but one lift is slow double, but there are plenty of ungroomed tree runs. I went on a powder day weekend last year and there were no lift lines ever! They say Donner Ski Ranch got its start in 1936 -- the lodge looks like it hasn't been renovated since then. There's a creaky old wooden floor, and the fire place hearth appears to have burned a million fires it is so black from soot. Here's a good indicator of what kind of place Donner is: last season's final "Old School Thursday" featured a $10 lift ticket, $1 hot dogs, and $1 cans of Bud served at the top of the hill. That's a lift ticket and a 12-pack of Bud for less than a regular ticket from across the street at Sugar Bowl! All you need for complete happiness is a Chevrolet Camaro, a collection of Ted Nugent cassette tapes and a season pass to Donner Ski Ranch.
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