Welcome to your first cross country skiing adventure!

Cross country skiing is perfect for all ages. This timeless winter sport is fun to learn, family-friendly, affordable and a great workout in the fresh mountain air and beautiful Tahoe surroundings.


When skiing on cross country skis, you rely on your own propulsion. There are no chairlifts at a cross country ski area. Cross country skis tend to be longer and narrower than downhill skis, and the heels on cross country boots are free to lift from the ski, meaning you can move more freely along the flats and up and down hills.

There are two styles of cross country skiing, each requiring different equipment:

  • The traditional “classic” style of skiing is easier to learn when it comes to the basics. Often used with machine-made “tracks” set in the snow that fit your skis, you can jump right in as a beginner by easily walking on the skis in the track grooves. Once you have learned how to glide on each stride, climb and control your speed on the hills, you can head out to explore the trails.
  • The faster style of “skate” skiing is popular among more athletic folks but takes longer to master the basics. Instead of using tracks made to fit your skis, you skate across a wide and smooth groomed trail. With the right lessons and patience, though, you can be skating in no time.


No matter the style you choose, we encourage everyone to invest in a lesson to get you started the right way. An hour spent with a professional instructor at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center will give you the skills needed for a lifetime of fun! During your lesson, you will be taught how to efficiently move along on the flats, climb hills and control your speed and turns on downhill sections.

Some of our regulars might make it look easy, but there are key tricks of the trade to perfect that glide across the snow. Even if you are an expert downhill skier, the skiing styles and techniques vary. Let us help you get used to the lighter equipment and that free heel.

Whether it’s your first time or you’re in need of a refresh, check out basic tips from the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) by clicking here.