Ski with a Ranger programs starting up at Lake Tahoe

Programs are open to all ages, so long as they are at least intermediate skiers or snowboarders.
Provided/Reanna Suela

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe is known for its beautifully inviting winter recreation, with options to ski at multiple resorts. This year, three different resorts — Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts — will be hosting a Ski with a Ranger program, which offers a unique look at the landscape of the basin while providing important information about the land where they are recreating. 

Heavenly, which is on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit land, will be offering the Ski with a Ranger program every Friday twice a day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for intermediate skiers/riders. The tour is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and is completely run by volunteers. 

The tour begins at the top of the Heavenly Gondola and takes guests from the California side of the mountain to the Nevada side, which is rated an intermediate run. 

USDA Forest Service Community Outreach Specialist Adilene Negrete, who is also in charge of conservation education, is excited to be offering something so special to the community while educating people on the important partnership between Heavenly and the forests. 

“I feel like a lot of folks that go up there don’t know that it’s national forest,” said Negrete. “It always seems like a lot of visitors are always super interested in learning more about where they’re visiting.” 

The tour mainly focuses only Tahoe ecology, tree species, animal ecology, the watershed, and the importance of keeping Lake Tahoe blue. 

“Being able to be up on that mountain, having that view, definitely helps provide a better understanding of the visitors to see why we want to be able to keep the forest healthy and our lake blue,” said Negrete. 

The program is still accepting volunteers to help lead tours. Volunteers should be at least at an intermediate level of skiing or snowboarding, should be comfortable speaking in public and leading a tour, and are ready to make a commitment to be available for tours. 

“We are always super grateful for all of the volunteers that we do have that commit their time and are passionate about helping connect others with the forest and nature and the outdoors,” said Negrete.

The USFS offers a number of conservation education programs, including Snowshoeing activities in the wintertime.
Provided/Reanna Suela

At Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood, the Eldorado National Forest is introducing the Ski/Snowshoe with a Ranger program to help spread conservation education and reach more visitors coming to the area. 

“[The program] is just a fun way to learn about the natural environment where we like to recreate,” said Eldorado National Forest Conservation Education Resource Assistant Reanna Suela. “It’s also an opportunity for folks to slow down a little bit and think about the natural environment around them, and remember that these are special places that we should take care of.” 

The tours for Ski with a Ranger at will begin at 10 a.m. at the base of Chair 1 on Friday, Feb. 24, Monday, Feb, 27, and Friday, March 10. Tours at Sierra-at-Tahoe will run at 1 p.m. at the top of Grandview on Sunday, Feb. 26, Wednesday, March 8, and Sunday, April 2. Participants must be intermediate skiers/snowboarders with their own lift ticket. Tours run on a first-come first-serve basis and group sizes are limited to 10. 

The Snowshoe with a Ranger program at Kirkwood will begin at 1 p.m. in front of the Cross Country Center on Friday, Feb. 24, Monday, Feb. 27, and Friday, March 10. Participants should be able to snowshoe without assistance and also need their own lift ticket. 

Group sizes are limited to 12 people and attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. All tours are led by the Forest Service conservation education staff and volunteers with the ski resorts. 

Tours will be given weather permitting.

“If weather is affecting safety and lift operations on the day of the tour then we would have to cancel for that day,” said Suela.

The tour is around one hour and will cover information about the winter ecology at Kirkwood. 

To learn more about the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest program visit

To learn about the El Dorado National Forest program visit

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