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The Great Ski Race

Competition or Sporting Event

To celebrate Tahoe's Nordic cultural heritage and a favorite winter pastime, the Great Ski Race takes skiers from the shores of North Lake Tahoe on an 18.43 mile course up and over, and through the woods to historic Truckee on a long downhill run. Yes, you can run or walk the course, but snowshoes are required (skis are highly recommended, however - this is a ski race!)

The Great Ski Race covers 30 km beginning at the Tahoe Cross Country Center in Tahoe City to the Cottonwood Restaurant in Truckee. The Great Ski Race has grown from 60 racers being manually timed in 1977, to more than 600 racers with electronic timing in 1985, to more than 800 racers in 2001. In 2005 all records were broken, with 1109 registered racers, 1029 finishers, and the fastest men’s and women’s times yet!

The Great Ski Race is the main fund-raising event for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, a non-profit all volunteer organization. Conceived in 1976, the Team has more than 100 members who fulfill many different functions in the organization such as rescuing lost alpine and cross-country skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers, locating downed aircraft, rescuing stranded hikers and climbers, educating the public about mountain safety, and many other support functions.

Team members, along with community supporters, organize The Great Ski Race, which continues to be one of the largest Nordic ski races west of the Mississippi. Race proceeds are used primarily to purchase equipment for the Team and to support winter survival and avalanche education programs sponsored and conducted by the Team.

Participation Requirements (if any)

The fastest time is 1:07, and the slowest is around 7 hours. This race is a test of endurance and skill; be sure you are in good shape so you can enjoy the course. Due to the length (30 kilometers, ~18.43 miles) and remoteness of the course beginners are not advised to enter; but skiers of all abilities and ages do enter this fun and challenging race.

Pet Friendly Notes

No pets allowed on the race course.


Admission Fee (if any)

The cost of the race is $45, $65 if registering on race day. Entry fee buys a pre-race package, a 5-color T-shirt, refreshments and hot lunch at the finish, a chance to win one of numerous prizes - plus live music and dancing at the finish!