Related Regions: Sierra Nevada, Northern California, California, North America, United States, Lake Tahoe

Donner Ski Ranch Resort Reviews

by: smills - 30th December 2009

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 1Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Short lines, friendly staff, family friendly, beautiful drive, CHEAP
Small, low tech, lift ticket line purch line gets long

Full review

We went at peak season after Christmas. We went on the first day to Alpine Meadows. Alpine is nice, but the lines to puchase tickets were 40+ minutes long. The rental process took 30+ minutes for a family of 4. The cafeteria was like a war zone with parents fighting over chicken nuggets. But, this is not a review of Alpine Meadows. DSR the next day (29th) was wide open at the same arrival time of 9am. We parked in the parking lot 200 feet from the entrance. Happy people greeted us quickly. We were on the slopes in 20 minutes for a family of 4 with full ski rentals. There are so many extra fees that get you at a larger resort. Parking far away means a locker rental ($5 at Alpine Meadows). Free unlocked lockers at DSR. $20 parking at AM, free at DSR. Total for a family of 4 to ski at DSR $200 for kid lift tickets and full rentals with full mountain access. At AM, it was twice that. The terrain will limit you at DSR. But by late afternoon, there was still untracked powder on the back side. Most of the people at DSR are beginners. So, the backside blacks remained largely open even while the front lift lines grew. They maxed out that day and I never waited on a front lift line more than 5 minutes. Every chair, even the black diamond service chairs have a green route route. Again, a boon for families allowing varied skill levels to ski together. My 8 year old took chair 1 and solo much of the day. Despite the small size, I would argue the almost no one would get bored in 1 to 2 days at DSR. So, why not try it and save some money? The cafeteria had the $5 bad burger, good fries and ample seating if you arrive well before noon. But it was so simple and easy. Whereas AM staff argued with a patron that requested an extra 'free' paper cup, DSR staff let you leave the cafeteria, sit down and tell you "it's the honor system to pay. Just swing by the bar and tell them what you ordered." They don't double check it or even watch for cheaters. It is the old style of skiing. DSR is a haven for families and beginners. It is a cheaper alternative for experts just starting their ski week. The staff, imported from Brazil and Argentina on work programs, are a pleasant twist. I do not work for DSR. I wrote this review because all the other reviews guideded me so well. I alsowanted to help out other families doing the same I was doing.

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