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Lake Donner Snowshoe Hiking

Winter for the Non-Skier. More than a dozen winter activities.

The Ultimate Winter Escape Guide for the Non-Skier

When the days grow short, thermostats drop, and mountains slip into four months of winter bliss, skiers at Martis Camp find themselves with a front row seat to a stage full of alpine adventure options. Fortunately, those who don’t strap on the skis and boards are just as capable of getting their fixes of wintertime thrills.
Here are some of those escapes that are never more than a short drive away.
Story by Scott Mortimore Photography by Paul Hamill
1: Ice Skating
If you enjoy skating, then prepare to lace ‘em up. For those who like their rink tucked into an alpine village and lined with intimate tables, overstuffed chairs, overhead heaters, cafes and bars that serve up warm, delicious pleasures, then check out our neighbor at Northstar California™. Squaw Valley High Camp’s rink sits at 8,200 feet and features views of the lake. To get into the fabric of the Truckee scene, make a Thermos of hot chocolate and head a few minutes down the road to the rink at Truckee Parks and Rec’s regional park.
2: Snowshoeing
If you’re feeling the need for speed, this might not be your game. If, on the other hand, you’re after a little winter wonderland quiet time, then head for the Family Barn, load up on ‘shoes (free and available between 10 am – 3 pm daily), grab your gloves and camera and head off to the forests, meadows and trails of Martis Camp for a classic stroll through the snow. Care to add a jaw-dropping memory to your winter? Join us for a full moon snowshoe tour March 3rd, departing 7:30 from the Family Barn. Inquire at the Family Barn about the countless other snowshoeing spots that are only a short drive away – from Donner Summit to Lake Tahoe.
3: Sledding
There are places not far from your front door whose hills are ideal for sledding. On the outskirts of Tahoe City is Granlibakken’s classic sledding hill. Same goes for Soda Springs Ski Resort, Tahoe Donner, and Northstar California™. Closer yet to that front door of yours is The Camp’s own sledding hill on the 10th hole behind the Family Barn. Sleds and tubes are available at the Family Barn.
4: Go Fat
If you thought biking ended the moment the snows fall and the paths freeze, it’s time to think again. On January 2nd and 4th from 10 am-noon, you’re invited to head for the Family Barn and saddle up for our Fat Tire Bike Tours. These oversized bikes are made to tackle the snow-packed trails at Martis Camp.
Lake Tahoe Paul Hamill Photography
5: Photo Ops
The days are shorter but the shadows reach further, creating great opportunities for those looking to photograph the Truckee/Lake Tahoe area. For starters, if you’re heading for the slopes, bring your cell phone/camera along. If you take your skill more seriously, capture the contrast of snowy boulders against Tahoe’s endless blues, especially on the north and east shores of the Lake. Donner Lake and Donner Summit make for fine models as does the Truckee River canyon between Tahoe City and Truckee. Better yet, sling your camera over your shoulder and capture winter’s magic in The Camp.
6: Get Lost
Martis Camp’s Lost Library is an ideal afternoon getaway where you can escape to this forested enclave of fireplace, coffees, overstuffed chairs and an abundant selection of books, games and newspapers. It makes for one amazing decompression chamber.
7: A midwinter mudpack & massage
While the kids are huffing and puffing their way down this hill and that slope, treat yourself to a more calming scene at The Spa at Martis Camp. You’ll find body treatments, massages, skin care, nail therapy, waxings, blowouts and other forms of indulgent pampering. Wrap all that up in a calm, world-class environment under the care of some of the industry’s best and you have a place where your physical, mental and spiritual needs are fulfilled. In addition, you’ll find spa specials popping up all winter long.
8: Après
For great après scenes, you can hop in your car and find your way to the villages at Northstar California™ or Squaw or the sun-splashed deck at Sugar Bowl. Truckee and Tahoe City also have lively post-skiing après scenes. But if you prefer to keep it close, just head up the street to the Lookout Lodge every Saturday afternoon or holiday weekend for some rousing mountain music.
9: Snowman Construction
Like snowshoeing, building a snowman is an undertaking that can be held just about anywhere within shouting distance — from your front yard to a remote pocket of powder and trees. Once you’ve mastered your “man,” be sure to team up with the kids at our Snowman Building Contest, noon at the Family Barn on Tuesday, December 26th.
10: Alpine Events
On March 3rd, head for the Lookout Lodge, pull up a seat and enjoy kids of all ages and all levels in the 10th annual Martis Camp Downhill Cup Championship. Late that month (March 21-25), Squaw Valley hosts the NASTAR National Champions races, along with concerts, clinics and a chance to meet U.S. Ski Team athletes and alumni.
11: Shopping
It’s not Rodeo Drive, but the main street of Truckee certainly qualifies as a black diamond experience. You’ll find top of the line art galleries, furniture stores, clothing stores, home décor, jewelry stores, kids stores and more. A stroll down its old street front reveals plenty of pleasant distractions. Our neighbor by the name of Northstar California™ lights up the winter chill with a brilliant European village scene with plenty of shops to dive into. Tahoe City’s another charming option while the 40-minute drive to Reno opens you to even more choices.
12: Snowmobiling
Around Truckee, nobody is more advanced at the art of getting people into 3,000 acres of snowy outback on snowmobiles than Coldstream Adventures [530-582-9090], near Donner Lake. For Martis Campers, we make the adventure even easier by meeting up at the Family Barn on select days over the holidays for shuttles to the launch site. Contact the Martis Camp Family Barn for tour dates and reservations at 530.550.6070.
13: Fitness
Winter is prime time for hibernating under a duvet, but one can be sedate for only so long. Martis Camp’s Fitness Center has activities and programs for members and guests 16 and older. You’ll find aquatics classes, personal trainers, fitness consultations, yoga sessions and even classes geared specifically toward your holiday fitness goals and for those New Years resolutions that you’ve put in place. Contact the Martis Camp Fitness Center at  530.550.6061 or check the online calendar for class information.
14: Folk School
Throughout the year, Martis Camp’s Folk School is alive with creativity. When winter rolls around, however, this colorful loft in the Family Barn becomes a pleasant place to hibernate for the day while discovering new skills and creating interesting gifts. You’ll find classes in making greeting cards, tooling leather belts, carving wooden spoons, wood working, learning to spin wool, master oil painting or a variety of other arts and crafts. Check in with Meredith Solin at, visit or call (530) 550-6075 for upcoming events that run all year long.