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.

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1865

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.

Newspaper photo by John Euer of the Euer family courtesy of Ellie Huggins

1868

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.

Vintage picture of logging in Truckee

1960

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.

Photo of 1960 Donner Ridge Fire scarring from Donner Summit, courtesy of Truckee-Donner Historical Society and Sierra College

1970

Dart Industries goes into escrow for Tahoe Donner land purchase.

Dart Tahoe Donner sales meeting

1971

Northwoods Clubhouse opens as the grand opening of Tahoe Donner Association.

Northwoods Clubhouse

1972

Downhill Ski Area and the Donner Christy Inn day lodge opens.

Vintage Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Image

1972

Tahoe Donner Tennis Center opens.

Vintage picture of a tennis player at Tahoe Donner Tennis Center

1973

Tahoe Donner Campground and Northwoods Restaurant opens.

Tahoe Donner Campground

1975

Tahoe Donner operates a variety of restaurants, including Northwoods Restaurant, Golden Spike Saloon and Golf Course Roughhouse Restaurant.

Vintage picture of Northwoods Clubhouse restaurant

1980

Tahoe Donner hosts the PGA Tour at Tahoe Donner Golf Course.

PGA Tour Event at Tahoe Donner Golf Course

1989

The inaugural Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival takes place at Tahoe Donner.

Vintage photo of Tahoe Donner Summer Concert

1993

Trout Creek Recreation Center is built.

Vintage Trout Creek Recreation Center sign

1996

Tahoe Donner turns 25 and celebrates its quarter-of-a-century birthday.

Fireworks at Tahoe Donner Downhill

1997

Snowplay opens for sledding and tubing at the Tahoe Donner Driving Range.

Vintage photo of children sledding at Snowplay

2003

Tahoe Donner purchases 200 acres in Euer Valley.

Aerial photo of Euer Valley

2005

The Lodge Restaurant & Pub opens.

Construction of the bridge at The Lodge Restaurant & Pub

2010

240-acre Bucknam-Sinclair Tract purchased.

Scenic of Donner Lake from Donner Ridge

2011

Tahoe Donner acquires the 160-acre McGlashan Springs parcel and 20 acres for the Forestry Department.

McGlashan Springs trail

2012

Tahoe Donner purchases an additional 482 acres in Euer Valley.

Aerial photo of Euer Valley

2013

Completion of Maintenance Facility, Forestry Building and the construction of the Ski School Yurt at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort.

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort Ski School Yurt

2015

Grand opening of Alder Creek Adventure Center.

Alder Creek Adventure Center Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting

2015

Snowmaking is installed at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort.

Snowmaking installation at Downhill Ski Resort

2016

New Equestrian Center is built.

New Equestrian Center horse boarding facilities

2016

Tahoe Donner purchases 640-acre parcel, including Crabtree Canyon.

Aerial photo of Euer Valley, Crabtree Canyon, and Carpenter Valley

2018

The new Snowbird Triple Chairlift is installed at Downhill Ski Resort.

New Snowbird Chairlift at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort

2020

The renovation of the Trout Creek Recreation Center, Golf Course and Nature Loop Trail is completed.

Trout Creek Recreation Center Renovation

PRESENT-DAY TAHOE DONNER
Tahoe Donner is Northern California’s largest resort community and one of the largest homeowners association in the United States. The community includes nearly 6,500 homes on 7,300 acres, with more than 25,000 member homeowners invested in its ongoing success. Members and guests today enjoy a recently renovated 18-hole championship golf course, world-class cross country ski center, family-friendly downhill ski area, beach club marina, tennis center, equestrian center, campground, a 60-plus mile multi-use trail system, a newly renovated recreation center, and multiple year-round restaurants such as The Lodge Restaurant & Pub and Alder Creek Cafe.

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 50years@tahoedonner.com. We may share your story with the community in upcoming communications.

50TH ANNIVERSARY ONLINE SHOP
Celebrate 50 years with timeless gifts in our gear shop! Framed limited-edition posters, coffee mugs, shirts, water bottles and more are available online. These won’t last forever, so buy your favorites while you can! Shop now.