Among the oldest and most iconic ski areas in the Western U.S., Donner Ski Ranch is a family-friendly resort that features a wide variety of terrain, inviting skiers and riders of all abilities to enjoy the fully-featured mountain oasis. With one of the highest base elevations in the Sierras, Donner Ski Ranch boasts some of the best powder in the Lake Tahoe region, along with aggressive high-mountain and backside terrain, making it ideal for advanced skiers and riders who want to escape the crowds and enjoy untouched lines. 

For beginner and intermediate skiers, Donner Ski Ranch offers easy access to novice runs, group and private ski/snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, retail shop, and a tubing park that’s great for kids of all ages. And, the new Lytton Lake Lodge, nestled on the backside of the mountain in a serene wilderness, the offers dining and drink options for those who want to get away from it all. With daily ticket and package pricing up to 75% less than other resorts, Donner Ski Ranch is the #1 destination for family fun.


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. 



The population of Norden, California is 146 people.  Along with locals, some of Donner Ski Ranch employees are from South America, participating in the U.S. State Department sponsored J-1 work experience program. To be considered for the J-1 program they must be enrolled in a 4-year university and be in the top 25% of their class, so these students are some of South America’s best. Many of the students are medical, engineering, economics, and marketing majors. 

Each Fall, we travel to South America to interview more than 120 students to fill some of our seasonal positions. We conduct face-to-face interviews to ensure we hire only the best. The students we hire are friendly, speak English, and are hard workers who choose to give up their 3-month university summer break to work in the snow, which most have never seen before.

Donner Ski Ranch provides housing, transportation, job training and guidance. Throughout the three months they're with us, we do our best to be stellar employers and ambassadors of the United States, giving these students the best experience possible. It's our hope that you can help enrich their experience by sharing a friendly conversation with them, and perhaps learning about their country and culture.  

And, we love our locals. We're always looking for positive people with great attitudes to join the Donner Ski Ranch team for part-time, full-time seasonal, and year-round positions. So, if you want to join a team where you'll feel like family, apply today!