Some Are Skiing On Donner Summit, Auburn Ski Club Installs Glacier for Summer Skiing

FasterSkierJune 28, 20113
Summer Skiing

Some are skiing. Get it? Sum…R…Skiing…Oh, never mind…

This past winter; Auburn Ski Club, installed a large glacier on their property just south of I-80, on Donner Summit. The massive installation has allowed them to groom XC ski trails for their Nordic Teams all of June, with planned operations into July. “The late season storms we received were an insulating blanket for the glacier and almost no melting has occurred until recently,” says Auburn Ski Club Training Center Director, Bill Clark.

Training and tanning

“The skiing has been phenomenal,” says Auburn Ski Club Coach, Ben Grasseschi. “I can’t tell the difference between February 24 and June 24 out here. The tracks are holding up well and the athletes who are taking advantage of this on-snow training are really making technique progress and will have a head start going into next winter. Installing the glacier was one of the best things we have done for developing our skiers.”

In addition to having great skiing, Auburn Ski Club and Far West Nordic are hosting an Athlete Residency Program for skiers in college, on their summer break, to come out and train in the amazing environment that is Lake Tahoe. To be able to ski on snow while they are here is just icing on the cake.

Bates College coach, Martin Benes, a former Far West Nordic Junior and coach, says of the conditions, “We cooked up this residency program idea in January this year. I told the prospective athletes, all from East coast colleges, that we might be running in snow up on the high peaks around Lake Tahoe and that there is a slight chance we will ski into May. Obviously, the huge winter and spring has allowed us to exceed that forecast by leaps and bounds. It is so good for these athletes to be out here skiing. Many of them have never been to California or Lake Tahoe. They are also really good role models and inspiration for the junior skiers. We try to combine workouts with the Juniors whenever possible.”

One of the ways the coaches plan to combine the Juniors and the older skiers is with a Nordic ‘Team Sprint’ Sunday, July 3 at Auburn Ski Club. Each Junior skier will be paired with a Senior and they will take alternate laps on a predetermined Sprint course.

“I hope the glacier holds up throughout the summer,” says Coach Grasseschi, “We would have a nice base for this coming winter and beyond. And, I hope we can do it again next Summer.”


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  • Train Wreck

    June 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Tahoe is ridiculous for late skiing. They ski way more than we do in Alaska, and while getting tons of energy from the sun. And at altitude. And swimming. And…


  • Lauren Jacobs

    July 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Could someone please explain to me what it means to “install a large glacier?” I know I’m from the East, but that one has to have stumped some other people, too…

  • imnxcguy

    July 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Hi Lauren,

    We completely understand how folks back in the east wouldn’t quite comprehend the ingredients necessary to install a glacier at our local ski resort. Let me try to help with the recipe…
    1) Start the precipitation cycle in early November. It’s important to get a nice early start on these things.
    2) Experience a ridiculous (record or near record) amount of snowfall before the end of the year (over 300 inches on Donner Summit).
    3) Just for good measure, put about 5 or 6 weeks of near-record NO precipitation for January and February, nicely consolidating said snowpack into a rock-hard, solid rock of snow (and enjoy the incredibly beautiful days and great skiing while it’s condensing).
    4) Begin snowing again in mid-February. Rinse, repeat, over and over. Keep snowing until you’re up to, say, more than 60 feet (that’s feet. not inches. not centimeters) of snow.
    5) Keep snowing until the beginning of June. Even if it doesn’t accumulate that much more snow, day after day of cool, pissy weather does wonders to keep said snowpack hanging around. There was more snow on the ground on April 30 than there was on January 30th.

    Hope this helps you in your planning to install one at your local ski area. I’ve got to head off this morning for the Sprint races up at Auburn Ski Club.

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