[All photos courtesy of Soda Springs Mountain Resort]
Every winter weekend, tens of thousands of skiers travel Interstate 80 bound for Tahoe’s North Shore and Truckee. Popular destinations like Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Sugar Bowl get much of the recognition as these droves of skiers skirt along the freeway.
unbeknownst to most, there’s a modest ski area called Soda Springs just to the south of Interstate 80 on the west side of Donner Summit. This modest mountain has operated continually since the mid-1930s and continues to serve as a learning ground for beginners as well as a playground for experts.
Although it’s owned by Powdr Corporation, this bald little mountain has a unique and intimate atmosphere that gargantuan corporate resorts tend to lack. For beginners, families can spend a Saturday to give the whole skiing thing a try for without taking out a second mortgage. We appreciate that.
Soda Springs isn’t going to overwhelm you with its limitless terrain. Every trail is quite visible from the base area and the goods are mostly self-explanatory. The whole mountain can be accessed off of the Crystal Bowl lift that carries you to the summit 7,300′ summit where you can enjoy spectacular views.
Skiers and snowboarders will find steeper terrain to skiers left of the lift on Upper Mad Dog and Nose Dive. To skiers right of the lift, snap off some turns down Upper Crystal Bowl.
What makes this mountain really shine is its welcoming atmosphere. It has a very un-intimidating feel and doesn’t draw the “I’m the best skier on the mountain” crowd #GNARPOINTS.
On lookers left of the mountain, the Lions Head double chair accesses some excellent terrain for new skiers such as Creampuff and Sunshine. Beginners can enjoy making turns in the sunshine with zero worry of some rad bro straightlining it to the lift line.
2018/2019 lift ticket prices are not yet available but in 2017-2018, lift ticket were $30 for children ( less than 12 years old) $35 for juniors (*13-17), and $40 (18+). This sort of value is critical for skiers who want to try the sport for a day without paying over $100 for a single day of skiing or riding at a large resort.
“In June 2015, DSPUD completed a $24 million project converting its treatment process from an older chlorination/de-chlorination system to a state of the art, UV distillation process, resulting in highly treated, pathogen-free, crystal clear water outcome that is cleaner than surface water. The snow that is made is effective water storage in the winter and will be released back into the ground and surface water flows as the snow melts.” – Soda Springs
In addition to its great terrain and friendly atmosphere, Soda Springs is also leading a new initiative to use recycled water for its snowmaking. This eliminates the need to pull water from lakes and streams and is a sustainable plan for the future. We hope to see more resorts investing in this sort of program.
- Average Snowfall: 400″ (1,016 cm)
- Average Days of Sunshine: 240
- Top Elevation: 7,300′ (2,212 m)
- Base Elevation: 6,750′ (2,045 m)
- Vertical Rise: 550′ (167 m)
- Lifts: 1 double, 1 triple, 2 moving carpets + 1 moving carpet at our tubing park
- Trails: 15
- Terrain: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced
About The Ski Hill Shoutout
As skiers, our daydreams are filled with images of ripping open bowls in Utah or bouncing down tree lines in Vermont. That said, many of us fell in love with the spectacular sport of skiing at smaller, local, hills that offered a more modest and affordable entry into the sport. These small mountains are the backbone of our sport. Without those cost-effective and convenient ski hills, many people would have not been able to experience our wonderful winter sport. Unfortunately, 2018 is a difficult time for smaller ski areas and many are being forced to shut down. Our Ski Hill Shoutout feature is designed to raise awareness for these noble little mountains and hopefully drive some traffic their way. Long live the local hill.