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Homeowners have their own ski resort

For those learning to ski or just wanting to avoid crowds, Tahoe Donner Ski Resort is the place to go.

Located off Interstate 80 near Truckee, the resort is owned and operated by the Tahoe Donner Association, a society of homeowners in the area.

With only two lifts, Tahoe Donner doesn’t try to compete with the large resorts nearby, but rather focuses its niche on the beginner skier and family experience.



“We don’t have the crowds that kids can get lost in and the price is good,” said Bob Bush, marketing director. “We are a feeder, breeder area and know that people aren’t going to ski here forever but will move on to the bigger resorts as they get better.”

Developed by Lakeworld Company, a division of Dart Industries in 1970, the ski area was used as a marketing tool to help sell the properties. The association was created as a nonprofit corporation to own, operate and regulate the use of the facilities by means of a board of directors who live or own property in the community.




“Because we are first and foremost an amenity to the homeowners we are not bottom-line driven,” Bush said. “The service was thought of first and when we first opened we lost money.”

As an amenity to purchasing or building a home in Tahoe Donner, homeowners receive certain perks. Out of 6,200 homesites available, 4,000 of those have been developed and get the use of a cross country area, golf course, equestrian facility, campground and restaurant. They are shared with the general public. The marina and tennis courts are exclusive to the association.

Although its downhill area may cater to beginners, Tahoe Donner’s cross country area is one of the best in the Sierra.

“We have a top-end cross country ski area that rivals any in the world,” Bush said. “We have challenging terrain and unparalleled grooming. On an advanced level, we are the best in cross country and on an entry level we are the best in skiing.”

With its low-key atmosphere, both residents and visitors enjoy the openness of the terrain and personal attention the ski school provides to its novices.

“I learned how to ski here,” said Jim Taylor of San Jose. “I thought it would be a great place to bring my kids and teach them as well. It may not have the steep terrain, but it’s perfect for the beginner.”


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