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Old 40 Bar

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Norden, CA

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Our History

Since 1937, Donner Ski Ranch has been a family-oriented, family-owned and operated Lake Tahoe area ski resort. Nearly 80 years ago, Donner Ski Ranch opened to the public with the help of the famed Jerry Ellis, who installed the area's first uphill lift, a rope tow.

Thanks to Ellis, Donner Ski Ranch was off to a booming start. But, World War II took its toll on all ski areas as men and women left in droves to fight for our country. Without workers and visitors, the resort was forced to temporarily halt operations. But when the war ended, long-time Donner Ski Ranch enthusiast Herstle Jones had a dream to bring back the one-time skiing hot spot, so he purchased the land. With their passion for skiing, Jones left the resort's leadership to his niece and her husband, Madeline & Stanley Walton, who named it Donner Ski Ranch.

In 1948, the operation expanded and the Walton's added a T-Bar and lodge.

In 1955, a new group entered the scene with a vision of expanding the resort's operations.

And so they purchased Donner Ski Ranch and built one of California's first chairlifts, which escorted skiers from the base of the mountain to its highest peak at over 8,000' elevation.

Fast forward to the 1970s, and Donner Ski Ranch was on the forefront of skiing innovation and culture when it became one of the first ski resorts in the country to allow snowboarding, telemark skiing and snow bobbing. As a result, Donner Ski Ranch became a hotbed for snowboarding and produced some of the greatest talents in the industry.

Today, Donner Ski Ranch is owned by Marshall and Janet Tuttle. Every dime Donner Ski Ranch makes goes directly to infrastructure improvement. With a focus on safety rather than glamour, Donner Ski Ranch has rebuilt all chairlifts, including new motors, drives, cables, and safeties, and added state of the art grooming and snow removal equipment, while maintaining its value-based model of making skiing accessible to all. 

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