Tahoe Donner Celebrates 50 Years of History and a Bright Future Ahead
Since 1971, Tahoe Donner has been a vision-rich association in North Lake Tahoe making family memories as one of the area’s most adventurous communities
Tahoe Donner kicks off its 50th anniversary and will be celebrating this historical milestone throughout 2021. This year, Tahoe Donner will highlight some of the unique individuals whose vision helped create Tahoe Donner and explore some of the area’s historical lore and novel events that support its motto of “Where Traditions Begin.”
In celebration, Tahoe Donner will offer special discounts, surprise giveaways at local amenities like Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort and Cross Country Ski Center, and other celebratory offers as COVID-19 safety restrictions allow throughout the year.
A RICH HISTORY
In the late sixties, a former Navy pilot and professional NFL football player Jack Kirby purchased 4,020 acres from a Christmas tree farmer in Truckee, California, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. As an entrepreneur and real estate developer, Kirby saw the potential to create a family-friendly, mountain community with endless recreational opportunities. After visiting the property and viewing an area badly burned by the Donner Ridge fire in 1960, Kirby believed the scorched area would be ideal for a downhill ski resort that appeals to beginners and intermediate skies. The downhill ski resort became Tahoe Donner’s first amenity when it opened in 1972.
In 1971, Tahoe Donner offered 1/3 acre lots starting at $8,000. The community was an immediate success, exceeding $20 million in home site sales before the golf course or ski hill even opened. Truckee’s convenient location on Interstate 80 made it accessible to visitors from Reno, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, and the wide range of accessible amenities inspired thousands of families to make Tahoe Donner their High Sierra home or home away from home.
A Swiss dairyman by the name of Sophary Euer and wife Marie Clara Lamblet arrived in America in 1855, and after stops in Yolo County (CA) and Walker River County (NV), came to what is now Euer Valley. By 1867 they purchased over 3,000 acres, one half located in the Truckee River basin, with 80 cows. By 1881, the Euer cows produced 17,000 pounds of butter, which were packed in 30-pound kegs and shipped by rail or traded locally with the lumber companies to grease the logging flumes so logs could slide faster to the mills.
The lumber business was booming at Coburn’s Station – what is now called Truckee – with 14 mills producing 66 million feet of lumber that year, some of which came from Tahoe Donner.
For 8 days the Donner Ridge Fire burned 44,812 acres, leaving a lasting impression on the future makeup of Tahoe Donner. The fire started from burning debris during the construction of Interstate 80. Logging operations began again, but this time to remove the dead and damaged trees that marred the landscape.
Dart Industries goes into escrow for Tahoe Donner land purchase.
Northwoods Clubhouse opens as the grand opening of Tahoe Donner Association.
Downhill Ski Area and the Donner Christy Inn day lodge opens.
Tahoe Donner Tennis Center opens.
Tahoe Donner Campground and Northwoods Restaurant opens.
Tahoe Donner operates a variety of restaurants, including Northwoods Restaurant, Golden Spike Saloon and Golf Course Roughhouse Restaurant.
Tahoe Donner hosts the PGA Tour at Tahoe Donner Golf Course.
The inaugural Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival takes place at Tahoe Donner.
Trout Creek Recreation Center is built.
Tahoe Donner turns 25 and celebrates its quarter-of-a-century birthday.
Snowplay opens for sledding and tubing at the Tahoe Donner Driving Range.
Tahoe Donner purchases 200 acres in Euer Valley.
The Lodge Restaurant & Pub opens.
240-acre Bucknam-Sinclair Tract purchased.
Tahoe Donner acquires the 160-acre McGlashan Springs parcel and 20 acres for the Forestry Department.
Tahoe Donner purchases an additional 482 acres in Euer Valley.
Completion of Maintenance Facility, Forestry Building and the construction of the Ski School Yurt at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort.
Grand opening of Alder Creek Adventure Center.
Snowmaking is installed at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort.
New Equestrian Center is built.
Tahoe Donner purchases 640-acre parcel, including Crabtree Canyon.
The new Snowbird Triple Chairlift is installed at Downhill Ski Resort.
The renovation of the Trout Creek Recreation Center, Golf Course and Nature Loop Trail is completed.
Tahoe Donner boasts an award-winning forestry department recognized nationally for its work in fire safety and responsible forest management. These conservation and defensible space efforts in addition to stewardship strategies, sustainable project planning and environmentally conscious practices offer a glimpse into the all-encompassing green scheme Tahoe Donner holds to preserve and protect this unforgettable mountain community.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Tahoe Donner continues to invest in capital projects and community amenity improvements. Recent examples include the new energy-efficient Alder Creek Adventure Center, completed in 2015, and the remodel of its Trout Creek Recreation Center, completed in early 2020. In honor of its 50th anniversary, Tahoe Donner completed exciting tee and fairway repairs as well as a greens replacement project at the Tahoe Donner Golf Course in summer and fall 2020. The golf course is scheduled to reopen in early summer 2021 for members and guests to enjoy.
In the fall of 2020, Tahoe Donner completed the recent construction on its Nature Loop Trail and the paving of the Bermgarten Trail parking lot. Looking forward, the association is in the process of building a new downhill ski lodge and adding snowmaking capabilities at its cross country ski center and Snowplay recreation area.
Tahoe Donner staff would like to thank its members, guests, and the town of Truckee for 50 years of support and great memories. The association looks forward to providing some of the best that North Lake Tahoe can offer for future generations to enjoy. Stay connected by visiting tahoedonner.com, picking up the monthly Tahoe Donner News magazine or by following Tahoe Donner on Facebook and Instagram.
DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMORY TO SHARE?
Over the year we will be honoring the many members and staff who make up Tahoe Donner. See 50 Years of Ski Memories. We invite you to email your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may share your story with the community in upcoming communications.
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