Checking Out The Cross-Country Resorts In Tahoe

This guest post is brought to you by Tim Hauserman, an outdoor enthusiast residing in North Lake Tahoe who quenches his thirst for the outdoors by exploring (and documenting) trail treks on soil and snow in the greater Tahoe region and beyond. He wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, and contributes to a number of different publications.

Skate Skiing North Lake Tahoe
Tim cruises along with good momentum from one skate ski to the next.

Winter recreation at Tahoe tends to divide itself into several worlds. Of course, there is that busy, crazy, big parking lot, fancy stores, and lots of people world of downhill skiing that everybody out of the area thinks is Tahoe skiing. I try to stay out of that world. Then there is the world of skinning, hiking and skiing in the beautiful backcountry where the lifts don’t run. That’s good stuff, although I don’t do it myself. There is the backcountry touring/snowshoe world which happens in mellow places like Tahoe Meadows and Page Meadows, and finally there is the cross-country ski world that happens at resorts like the place I work, Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area in Tahoe City. That’s my favorite Tahoe winter world.

Tahoe Cross Country Resort
All sorts of skiers find sources for joy at the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area.

Once you find yourself at Tahoe Cross-Country, Tahoe Donner Cross Country or Royal Gorge Cross Country, here is what you will find:

-Cross-country skiing at the resorts is divided into classic style or striding, which happens in the tracks, and skate skiing, which occurs in the skating lane next to the tracks. The styles necessitate different skis, boots and poles. The majority of season pass holders skate, while the majority of tourists who rarely get out on the snow stride. Many folks do both. The skating is best in older, faster snow and striding is best in new, cold snow.

-Skate skiing attracts the runner/bike-riding crowd that is looking for an aerobic workout. I am totally biased in my opinion that skate skiing is the greatest sport on earth.

-The learning curve for skate skiing can be a bit daunting. Having some downhill or classic skiing experience is certainly helpful, but for most people it takes a few times before frustration turns to rapture. Take a lesson. Most beginners are challenged in the same ways and your instructor will have some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

-A few quick skating tips: It is primarily about transferring your weight from ski to ski and always being on one ski. Keep your feet together but your tips out at a wide angle. It is okay if the tails cross. Work on your balance and getting a longer glide. Practice without poles. And take a lesson. Tahoe Cross-Country gives free skate skiing lessons on Wednesdays at 10 and 1, and Saturdays/Sundays at 9:15.

You can find cross country skis for both skate skiing and striding, along with boots and poles for each sport at Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach, about 10 minutes east of Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Resort in Tahoe City.

dog friendly cross country trails tahoe
Dog-friendly trails can be found at most XC resorts.
Kids at Tahoe Cross Country
Kids from the Tahoe Expedition Academy get an early start on their XC skills.

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