Ski Tahoe Donner with Kids - 510 Families
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Ski Tahoe Donner with Kids

If you’re staying in and around Truckee with kids, Tahoe Donner is an affordable resort that’s great for beginners including children.

I hadn’t been on a snowboard or skis in twelve years when my family visited Tahoe Donner, and, consequently, my children had never even been to a ski resort when we arrived.

What we liked about Tahoe Donner with kids

We signed our two children up for full-day beginner child ski lessons and the price included group instruction, lunch, cocoa, lift ticket, and equipment rental. The children were occupied with trained ski teachers from morning to 3:45 pm (with a lunch break). Though I could hear some mid-day whining when I spied on them, both left the slopes feeling triumphant that they could stay up and glide and that they had gone from the (completely arbitrary) level one to level three.

The complex is great for newbies with the magic carpet area in two different places and a wide green run accessible to the lodge for those new to the lift.

Tahoe Donner with kids
Tahoe Donner with kids, new skiers can ride the “magic carpet” up the green slope | Photo Heather Flett

What’s tricky about skiing with kids

Renting skis and arriving for the lesson is a confusing labyrinth of things to do and queues to visit. I have heard from other parents that other resorts make it a LOT easier (but they cost more, too).


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My sons both said that they didn’t like their morning lessons as much as the afternoon sessions. It’s hard for me to say which factor weighs heavier: that the mornings are way more crowded (yes!); they finally found their footing (yes!); or they simply preferred the second instructor (yes!).

My children, age 7 and 5, had lessons that started the exact same TIME at two different places. Same thing for pick up. Confusing for all of us.

Tahoe Donner with kids gear rental
Tahoe Donner with kids, allow extra time for gear rental, like a lot!  Allow a least 1 hour before your lesson to be fitted with your rental equipment on most days. Arrive up to 2 hours before your lesson on weekends and holiday Peak dates (or right at 8:00am for a 9:00am/9:15am lesson), so you can make your lesson on time.

Plan your visit to Tahoe Donner

Nuts and bolts (as of Dec 2019)

  • Open from 9am to 4pm. Rental shop opens at 8am (and is crazy).
  • Ski lessons begin at age 3 for children potty-trained and willing to ski in either half-day or full-day lessons.
  • Snowboard lessons start at age 5.
  • Full day packages include lunch.
  • Private, small groups, and adult lessons also available.
  • Helmets are required for kids under age 13 (included in basic equipment rental package).
  • No on-site childcare.
  • Youth Programs >>


Tahoe Donner downhill ski lessons for kids
Tahoe Donner downhill ski lessons for kids | Photo by Tahoe Donner

Bottom line: Tahoe Donner is a super place if you’re staying in Truckee, priced right for beginners. If I was looking for affirmation that we made the right choice, I certainly found it when I ran into four different families we knew from back home.


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11603 Snowpeak Way
Truckee, CA 96161

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2 thoughts on “Ski Tahoe Donner with Kids”

  1. We stay/ski at Tahoe Donner every Super Bowl weekend. The other great thing about Tahoe Donner downhill ski area is that it is right “next door” to Tahoe Donner Cross Country, which has extensive and well groomed X-country trails. So if you are like me and hate downhill skiing/snowboarding, you can drop the husband and kiddos off for their day of fun and head to the X-country trails. And if you don’t like X-country skiing, you can rent snow shoes and just call it a hike.
    Totally agree with you about the rental madness. This year we finally figured out how to do it — we rented at Any Mountain here in Berkeley and just brought it all up with us. It was reasonably priced to do it that way, and we skipped the nightmarish equipment rental process at Tahoe Donner.

  2. Pingback: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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