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With the makings of a snowy winter underway, the hidden little gem that is the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park is set to shine this winter. Set on the summer grounds of the Tahoe City Golf Course, the Sports Park provides about four kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails, a walking trail to take your dog for a snowy stroll, and a sledding hill, all within a snowball toss of the shops and restaurants of downtown Tahoe City.
Operated by the folks who manage Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area on Tahoe City Public Utility District land, the park provides terrain for beginning cross country skiers in an easily accessible location downtown. Stronger skiers can get a few quick skate skiing laps in before going shopping or hitting the movie at the Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema.
Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area season pass holders ski the Sports Park for free, and the regular charge is just $10 to use the trails Friday-Sunday. Ski rentals are available and saucers for the sledding hill are included in the price. From Monday through Thursday the trails are open for use without charge, although a donation is requested to pay for the grooming.
On December 6, I discovered the best time to hit the Sports Park is on Saturday night when the doors are open until 8 pm. The lighting of the ball fields at Tahoe Lake Elementary and the soft light from the businesses in town, gave off just enough light to see where I was skiing. But it was still dark enough to enjoy the stars and the shadows in the snow I created as I skated around the loops. With the trails just groomed and setting up in the chill air, the snow was butter perfect and a joy to ski through. And I had the trails to myself. Come on out and join me.