Truckee, CA 96162You don't have to be an extreme skier to enjoy some of the best snow in the West. While Truckee is surrounded by some of the nation's best ski resorts, a handful of quaint and colorful resorts full of character continue to thrive. These low-key resorts, which selectively shied away from corporate takeovers and developers, keep families and old-school skiers coming back for the basics – the simple love of snow.
While larger resorts tend to put distance between families, the smaller set brings them together – without the necessary use of cell phones and radios. Those daring to wander from the corporate condos and cookie-cutter coffee shops will be rewarded with small-town charm, limited lift lines and shockingly low ticket prices.
The terrain at Soda Springs accommodates beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders with two lifts accessing 200 acres. All runs filter back down to the lodge, where guests can easily find each other to regroup and relax. The westernmost ski area on Highway 80, Soda Springs puts an emphasis on family fun with a new tubing center and Planet Snow Kids, which expands this year with a second tubing carousel for kids under ten. Children ages 6-12 can also get a taste for snowmobiling by riding individual "pint-sized" snowmobiles on a circular track. The tubing center, which gives non-skiers a thrilling ride down the slopes, opens this season with a new moving carpet and expanded tubing lanes.
Tahoe Donner, located minutes from downtown Truckee, boasts 120 skiable acres and is touted as "the best place to begin". Nearly half of the terrain is suitable for beginners while 60 percent is classified as intermediate. The mountain, which prides itself as being a family-oriented resort, offers wide open bowls and un-crowded slopes while nurturing a fun, friendly, environment. With 14 exhilarating runs and four lifts, the resort is ideal for families who want their own freedom but still keep tabs on each other.
Donner Ski Ranch sits upon Donner Summit just outside of Truckee and is one of the oldest ski resorts in the West. Though the resort encompasses 460 acres, skiers and riders are still likely to run into owners Marshal and Janice Tuttle, who own the intimate mountain. The Tuttles bought the resort four years ago and though the couple owns two small lodging properties in North Lake Tahoe and a furniture business in the Bay Area, the two are immersed in the day-to-day operations of the cozy ski hill. More than 40 runs meet back at the lodge patio, which has been likened to a "roadside diner" and six lifts (five doubles) access terrain suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders.
Truckee is just 40 miles from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento, and three hours from San Francisco with easy access off of Interstate-80. Contact the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce at 530-587-2757 or visit www.truckee.com for further information.
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Truckee is just 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, California; 100 miles east of Sacramento, California; 40 miles west of Reno, Nevada; and 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe, California.
Downtown Truckee: 5,980 ft.
Donner Summit: 7,239 ft.
Donner Peak: 8,019 ft.
Mt. Judah: 8,243 ft.
Town of Truckee: 15,781
(source: 2000 census; includes Norden and Donner Lake)
Average Summer Temperature:
40-79 degrees Fahrenheit
Average Winter Temperature:
17-42 degrees Fahrenheit
Average Total Snowfall:
Average Total Precipitation:
32 inches (source: Western Regional Climate Center)
Coldest Spot in the Nation?
Truckee has often been recognized as the coldest spot in the nation, but not during the winter ski season as one might expect. These nippy temperatures are noteworthy because they occur from June through early October. While it may be true, it really doesn't give a true picture of Truckee's pristine California weather pattern. Official temperatures are taken at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, located in Martis Valley. On clear nights, cool air from the high mountains sink downslope into the valley, a high-elevation basin. The dense air mass settles into the basin, creating a chilled microclimate contributing to the chilly readings. As the sun begins to rise, so does the temperature, creating enviable summer and fall temperatures.
The Truckee Donner area has expansive granite mountain, vista, meadow, and lake terrain.
34 square miles of largely developed land in the eastern portion of Nevada County.
Residential Land: 35.3%
Commercial Land: 0.11%
Industrial Land: 0.90%
Parks, Public/Quasi Public: 17.2%
Truckee was first established in 1863 and incorporated in 1993. The Town of Truckee is one of three incorporated cities in Nevada County (Grass Valley and Nevada City are the other two). The Town is governed by five council members, elected at large for four-year terms. Elections are held every other year, and terms are staggered.
The Town of truckee employs 125 people (125 full time, 22 part time)
Sales Tax (State and Local): 7.875%
(7.25% State of California, .125% Library Tax;
.50% Truckee Measure A - Roads)
For more information about the Town of Truckee's General Plan, visit www.truckee2025.org
Information courtesy Truckee Chamber of Commerce