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X-Country Skiing in Lake Tahoe

December 28, 2010

Growing up in a downhill skiing family, I always preferred the slow, meandering, green slopes without their steep, fear-of-heights inducing hills.  Because of that I always thought I’d prefer cross-country skiing, but had never been able to convince someone to go with me.  I finally got to try it out yesterday as a friend had been dying to go and I discovered they were planning on heading to Tahoe.  Four of us drove up to Tahoe yesterday, rented skis (we found a great deal at Tahoe Dave’s), and made our way down to Sugar Pine Point State Park. For $8 we were able to park and ski on trails that took us along the lake and through the sugar pines along the trail from the 1960 Olympic games.

Melissa and Lisa along the lake trail

Tanya was already up in Tahoe and snowshoed along with us, which gives you an idea of how slow we were...

While I’m sure that the Nordic parks are great, and there are times when a warming hut would have been nice, we payed $15 each for the day of skiing (rental and parking included) verses the $50 a person we’d have payed to rent and ski at an official Nordic park.  We brought snacks and drinks with us and ended up having lunch and post-ski snacks at the house my friend’s family was staying at (on the lake).

Sunset from my friend's family friend's lakeside house. Amazing.

So how did x-c skiing compare to downhill?  I like them both, but I think I prefer x-c for a few reasons.  I really liked that we could rent skis from a local shop and then just head out to a state park instead of having to pay the big bucks to go to a resort.  I feel like I can actually afford to go x-c skiing, while I feel like downhill skiing is a huge financial strain, especially in Tahoe where it costs at least $100/day to ski with equipment rental.  It also felt more active than downhill skiing where a lot of time is spent riding lifts and waiting in lines.  I’m always sore after skiing, but I felt like this gave me more of a full-body workout.  And comparatively, there were so few people around.  We stayed on main trails and even then, we only saw people occasionally.

At the end of a pier in the park.


I’m a pretty decent downhill skier, so it was a little frustrating to feel like I didn’t know what I was doing on x-c skis, but it was also pretty easy to pick up the basics.  Falling is about 100 times less stressful on x-c skis, so although I did fall quite a bit, I didn’t feel like it took away from the experience.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2010 2:37 am

    I am so glad you had fun at Sugar Pine on x/c skis. I live .5 miles from the State Park and work at Tahoe Dave’s but have yet to rent some x/c skis. You are an inspiration and I will head out this week. Thanks.

    • inoakpark permalink*
      December 29, 2010 3:06 am

      Molly-The skis from Dave’s were great! Our boots seemed brand new and were amazingly comfortable after years of wearing downhill boots.

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