In March, we took our first XC ski trip at Royal Gorge, a XC ski resort in Tahoe that has a section of groomed trails that dogs are allowed out on from the Van Norden trailhead.
We went after there had been a couple of days of no fresh snow so that the roads would be clear, but were blown away by the towering snowbanks that showed all 496″ of snow that has fallen up there this season! You really couldn’t see any homes, just driveways and the front of garages, and all the street signs were completely covered in snow. In fact, signage was spray painted onto some snowbanks (which was very helpful to finding our way!)
Momma bought her day pass, and our pup passes at the main lodge and we went back to the trailhead where she nervously clipped into her skis. Nervously I tell you because she hasn’t XC skied in about 7 years and there she was, under the pressure of making sure we behave at the trailhead (which is always the busiest part of a trail) and making sure she didn’t face plant in front of everyone!
But she was fine and off we went. We went in and around the Snoops’ Loop and totally missed the turn momma wanted to take for Rover’s Run. So we started off from the Merrill Family Hut to try to find it and saw some people out that way so we were able to find the un-signed connector this time around! We went up Rover’s Run a ways, but momma didn’t think there was a way for us to get back to the trailhead from there so we turned around about halfway and headed back. It was on the way back to the hut junction that momma totally face planted. Lolo and I were very helpful in making sure she was OK.
From the hut (which let me point out dogs are not allowed in, but they are good trail markers when almost everything else is under snow!) we cut across the Sheep Pens to go back to the trailhead on Lincoln Highway. It was nice and shady out on the Lincoln Highway, which was nice after getting SUPER windburned and a bit sunburned on the way out that morning.
It was a Monday and the guy working the trailhead said it was a busy Monday, and the parking lot WAS surprisingly full both when we arrived and left. But given that there are so many kilometers of trails out there, we really only came across a handful of other people the whole time we were out!
This was one of my first activities back on my foot, so I was awfully tired after skiing so long! We made an easy drive back into Davis just ahead of Sacramento rush-hour, and got momma’s skis returned ahead of schedule.
Royal Gorge was a great way for us to get out on some ski trails and we really did have such a fun time! We hope we get to do more XC skiing in the future, although it may not be this season, this is the last week Royal Gorge is going to be open for skiing.