Donner ridge offers a plethora of skiing options within a few miles of Truckee, making it a great location for a quick tour or a place to link up multiple descents for a longer day tour.
A short skin to the north from a parking lot situated atop the Tahoe Donner subdivision will put you on top of the broad and often wind-scoured Donner ridge. An alternative parking option is to park on the north side of I-80 at the Donner Lake exit. Park in the large turnout and skin north into Negro Canyon to your desired ascent route.
Most ski descents off of Donner ridge are short; however, it offers a tremendous amount of descent options on every aspect. Low angle terrain dominates the landscape, making it a good place to explore during storms. Cornices do form on top of the east-facing Sunrise Bowl; however, the low angle terrain below them keeps debris close to the ridge. West-facing descents into Negro Canyon can be made at any place along the ridge. If more challenging terrain is on the menu, checkout the far north end of Negro Canyon near the power lines for cliffs and chutes. Following the ridge to the north leads you out into the Euer Valley, where numerous north-facing aspects can be explored. Small subalpine fir dominate the landscape with a few stands of gnarled old-growth ponderosa pine scatter below the ridge top. The sparsely treed landscape gives a bit of an alpine feel while touring in the area, making navigation a breeze in clear weather.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.