Ponderosa Ridge Run set for next weekend

Staff report
In this 2016 file photo, Austin Angell, race director of the Ponderosa Ridge Run, is decked out in Fourth of July colors as he prepares to send off a field of 29 runners from Spooner Summit.
Anthony Davis / Special to The Record Courier |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — One of Lake Tahoe’s endurance running traditions – and one of its oldest races – is set to return  next weekend.

The 49th annual Ponderosa Ridge Run is scheduled for Saturday, July 1, and will be held across the mountain top ridges from Spooner Summit toward Kingsbury.

Runners are challenged to a 9.5-mile course from the Spooner Summit Maintenance Station on U.S. Highway 50. The race starts at 10 a.m., and covers a mountainous course along mostly unpaved fire roads with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain over the first 4.5 miles. The finish line is located at the end of North Benjamin Drive near the top of Kingsbury Grade.

Participants, runners and walkers alike, will face the added challenge of snow left over from a historic winter, according to Ridge Run founder and organizer Austin Angell.

“I don’t expect it to be too bad, but there is chance of snow banks up there in the trees,” said Angell. “One year we ran it and had about an eighth-of-a-mile of some running water and snow.”

Participants are asked for a $2 donation and receive a green survivor ribbon and a beverage at the finish. No pre-registration is taken.

The Ridge Run, held annually on the first Saturday of July, could be described as a “fun get-together” for local runners and hikers. Some have participated for years, even decades.

“It is interesting as to how many really good runners have made the 9.5 look easy and then how many locals just enjoy the run together,” said Angell.

Angell also emphasized the need for runners and walkers to carry their own fluids and provisions, since no aid stations are available along the course. The race has been held under a variety of weather and course conditions, including snow banks at upper elevations after a heavy winter, he added.

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