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National Winter Trails Day

Free Winter Family Event at Tahoe Area Ski Resorts

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Snowshoeing at Tahoe Meadows, near Lake Tahoe

Snowshoeing at Tahoe Meadows, near Lake Tahoe.

Photo © Stan White

What is Winter Trails Day?

Winter Trails Day is a great opportunity to learn more about safe and fun family recreation in the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains. There are numerous free organized events from which to choose, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, educational hikes, and winter safety activities. This is a family-friendly event with snacks and hot drinks.

Winter Trails Day 2014 is on Saturday, January 11. National sponsors include Atlas Snow-Shoe Company, Tubbs Snowshoes, MSR, Rossignol, Snowsports Industries America, and several other winter sports outfits. Local sponsors include the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA), other area outdoor organizations and retailers like REI, and Lake Tahoe area ski resorts. If you've ever wanted to try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or learn more about safely enjoying the outdoors during winter, this event is a great opportunity.

The Winter Trails Day 2014 should be a great event. There has been plenty of snowfall so far during the winter of 2013 - 2014 and the storms keep coming. To be on the safe side, be sure to check the weather forecast and highway conditions before heading into the Sierra Nevada for your day of winter snow activities.

Winter Trails Day at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Resort

Winter Trails Day at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Resort is brought to you in cooperation with the REI store in Sacramento. Kids and adults can try snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free, along with free lessons and product demos. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tahoe Donner Cross Country is west of Reno on I80 at 15275 Alder Creek Road in Truckee, CA. Parking is limited and carpooling is recommended. Shuttles to the ski area from an overflow parking area will be available if the main lot fills up. A $5 donation is asked to help support the Truckee High Nordic Ski Team. To participate, registration is required through REI. For more information, call (530) 587-9484.

Winter Trails Day at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area

Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area is at 925 Country Club Drive in Tahoe City, CA, on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe. Winter Trails Day, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., is a great opportunity to get started cross country skiing or snowshoeing. First-time participants will receive a free trail pass and snowshoe or cross country ski rental. Free beginning cross country ski lessons available at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Advanced registration required. For more information, call (530) 583-5475.

Winter Trails Day at Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center

Winter Trails Day at Kirkwood is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free snowshoe demos will be available through out the day, along with free mini beginning ski lessons from Kirkwood Cross Country. The free package includes lesson and equipment rental. Discounted trail passes will be available to those wanting to keep skiing after the lesson. Lessons will be on the hour every hour, from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. and reservations are required. Check in at the front desk or call (209) 258-7248 for more information and to make a required reservation.

Kirkwood Cross Country is on Highway 88, half a mile east of the Kirkwood downhill ski area. I've skied here and it's a nice place, but parking is limited - carpool if you can.

Winter Trails Day at Carson Pass Sno-Park

Carson Pass Sno-Park is part of the California SNO-PARKS system. On Winter Trails Day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Eldorado Nordic Ski Patrol will be on hand to point you toward great winter trails and update you on safety issues before venturing out. The Patrol will have informtaion on the area, hot drinks and cookies. You can even just come in and warm up by the fire for a while. The Patrol will be at both the Carson Pass Information Center and on the trails to assist visitors. Carson Pass is on Highway 88, east of Kirkwood and Caples Lake. Note: You must bring your own snowshoes and/or skiing equipment. For more information, call (530) 647-1825.

Winter Trails Day at Bear Valley Cross Country

On Winter Trails Day, Bear Valley Cross Country will offer first-time, never before cross country skiers (ages 9 and up) a one - time - only free introductory cross country ski package, including beginner lesson, equipment rental and trail pass. After the lesson, skiers will receive a discount coupon good for savings on future visits. Demo snowshoes will also be available for registered participants to try out. A $5 pre-registration fee is required to participate. Pre-register for Winter Trails Day no later than Wednesday, January 8, 2014, by calling (209) 753-2834. Participants must sign-in at Bear Valley Cross Country at 9:00 a.m. to take part in their free 9:30 a.m. lesson. Space is limited. It's a long way to Bear Valley from Reno in the winter because Ebbetts Pass is closed by snow. Get driving directions from the Bear Valley Cross Country website.

Get Your Own Snowshoes

You can rent snowshoes at REI and Reno Mountain Sports in Reno. However, if you want to trek the snowy mountains on a regular basis, owning your own snowshoes is the way to go. I strongly recommend getting quality, name brand snowshoes and poles. You may pay a little more than for the cheapo stuff from the discount big box stores, but you will be a lot less likely to have a bad day with uncomfortable and / or broken equipment. Click the link to see what's available for both children and adults in your family.

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