mountain regulations

Donner Ski Ranch wants you to have fun while you’re skiing and snowboarding. To make your day both enjoyable and as safe as possible, please read the following Mountain Regulations and follow them when you are skiing or snowboarding. 

All users of the ski area are expected to abide by “Your Responsibility Code,” American National Standard for Passenger Ropeways, Donner Ski Ranch Regulations, California State Law and Nevada County Law. Donner Ski Ranch reserves the right to cancel a ticket or pass for failure to comply with regulations and/or disregard for the safe use of lifts, slopes, or other facilities at the ski area.


This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Excessive Speed
  • Skiing in Closed Areas
  • Skiing under or through Closure Lines
  • Reckless Skiing
  • Skiing Fast in Slow Areas
  • Chair Lift Violations
  • Failure to Use Retention Devices
  • Use of Drones, Flying Devices
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Abusive Profanity
  • Intoxication
  • Vandalism
  • Failure to present ticket or pass
  • Crossing the Ski Area Boundary
  • Theft of Goods, Services or Equipment
  • Parking Violation


Certain areas on the mountain, indicated with SLOW signs, are designated Slow Skiing Areas. Please ski or snowboard slowly in these areas at all times.


All skis, snowboards, snow skates, ski bikes and snow blades must be equipped with appropriate retention devices to prevent runaway equipment, as required by State Law.  

For more information contact the Ski Patrol.  Retention devices are available in the Donner Ski Ranch Retail Shop.

Snow safety

Ski Patrol

The Donner Ski Ranch Ski Patrol and National Ski Patrol teams are an essential part of Donner Ski Ranch’s commitment to safety.  You are always welcome to visit our Ski Patrol headquarters in the lower level of the Lodge to the left of the tunnel as you walk in the main entrance.  For additional information about joining the National Ski Patrol at Donner Ski Ranch, visit their website at

Tips from the Ski Patrol

  • Always wear eye protection such as snow goggles or sunglasses.  This includes your children!
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Dress in layers for warmth to allow movement and blood circulation.  Only one layer of socks is recommended.
  • Don’t wear scarves.
  • Leave your backpack in your car or locker.
  • If you're a first-timer, take a lesson to get started in the right direction!
  • Exercise and stretch in advance.
  • Rent proper equipment—don’t borrow equipment from your friends.
  • Ski or ride with a friend.
  • If you are feeling tired, take a break, stay hydrated, get a snack.
  • Stay safe.  Ski in control.  Know your limits.  Follow the rules.
  • If you encounter an injured guest, contact the nearest lift attendant to notify Ski Patrol.
  • Snow skates and ski bikes are allowed with proper leashes and metal edges.
  • Equipment must have safety braking devices.  Skis or snowboards without metal edges are prohibited.
  • Please read our entire Mountain Safety section.

Drones, Dogs, Uphill Use, Sledding and Tubing policy

  • Donner Ski Ranch is private property. For the safety of all, drones , dogs, uphill Skiing, sledding and tubing are not allowed within the ski area boundary.  Tubing is allowed on our Tubing Hill only.
  • Helmet Use: Donner Ski Ranch encourages the combination of helmet use and skiing/snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner. It is your responsibility to decide if you and your children wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding.

A Helmet--It’s a Smart Idea: We especially urge parents to read carefully the information provided at

Know The Code

Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross-country and other specialized ski equipment. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

  • People ahead of you have the right of way.  It is your responsibility to avoid them.

  • Stop in a safe place for you and others.  You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.

  • Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield to others.

  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

  • Observe all posted signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails and closed areas.

  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.


  • If you’re unfamiliar with using the chairlift, ask the operator for assistance.

  • Obey all posted signs and placards.

  • Have your lift ticket or season pass out and ready to be checked every time you load.

  • Remove poles strapped to wrists before loading. 

  • Remove backpacks before loading.  Children in backpacks are prohibited. 

  • When loading, turn outward and grab the bale pole of the chair or back of chair.

  • If riding alone, always load on the seat nearest the operator.

  • Skiers keep your tips up while approaching the unloading ramp.

  • Only load and unload at designated ramps. 

  • Move quickly away from the unloading area after you have unloaded the chair. 

  • Swinging or bouncing the chair can be dangerous to yourself and others, and is prohibited.

  • Jumping from the chairlift is expressly forbidden and extremely dangerous!  A sudden jump could cause deropement of the chairlift resulting in potential injury or death.  Jumping from the chair carries a minimum $500 fine and mandatory court appearance. 


Participants assume the risk of death or any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent risks of the activities. These risks include, but are not limited to, variations in snow and terrain, variable snow conditions, avalanches, cliffs, failure or misuse of rental equipment, loss of control, encounters or collisions with trees, rocks, fences, terrain features (natural or man-made), other participants in the activities, spectators, snowmaking or snow grooming equipment and their components, snowmobiles and other vehicles, all manmade or natural obstacles (padded or not) whether they are obvious or not.

Avalanche Safety

While snow safety and avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at Donner Ski Ranch, both inside and outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and its accumulation on steep, mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness. Visit the Sierra Avalanche Center or contact the Donner Ski Ranch Ski Patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

Taking these steps may help reduce the risk:

  • Always ski with a partner and keep them within your sight at all times
  • Obey all signs and closures
  • Carry avalanche equipment such as beacons or transceivers, reflectors, probes and shovels when skiing or riding in areas where avalanches may occur. Consider wearing a helmet.
  • Visit the Sierra Avalanche Center or contact the Donner Ski Ranch Ski Patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death. 

Snow Immersion Suffocation

A tree well/snow immersion suffocation accident can happen when a skier or snowboarder falls into a tree well or deep loose snow and becomes immobilized. Without immediate help from your partner, you may suffocate.

Prevention of falling into a tree well or areas of deep snow is all-important.  A tree well is a void or depression that forms around the base of a tree, that can be hidden from view by the tree's low hanging branches. However, you can easily identify and avoid these areas.

Deep snow tree well/SIS accidents occur in areas of deep snow, deep snow pockets or terrain that concentrates deep snow such as steep drops, and creek beds.

The risk of a tree well/ SIS accident is greatly reduced just by staying on groomed runs.