Where to sled, snow play in the Sierra Nevada

Yana Barance of San Francisco and daughter Karina take a snowy ride at Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe in 2014.
Yana Barance of San Francisco and daughter Karina take a snowy ride at Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe in 2014. Sacramento Bee file

We in Northern California are lucky enough to live in one of the top skiing and snowboarding areas in the country, and those eager to hit the slopes have plenty of fancy resorts to choose from. But what about those looking for gentler fun, like taking the kids out with a sled or saucer?

Families don’t have to pull off the sides of mountain roads anymore to play in the snow. Several parks and recreation areas cater to children and their families eager for some more leisurely, and more organized, fun.

Off Highway 50 at Echo Summit, there’s Adventure Mountain (just south of South Lake Tahoe, 530-659-7217) and its groomed sled runs, snow play area and snowshoe trails. The park has set a tentative opening for Dec. 9, but call or check online for updates. Sleds, inner tubes, helmets and other equipment are available for rent.

Several ski resorts also offer snow play and sledding. Tahoe Donner (12790 Northwoods Blvd., Truckee, 530-587-9437) is one of the more family-friendly of the bunch, with snow play passes going for a fraction of ski lift ticket prices. This season heralds the opening of a new $6 million lodge at the resort. By Friday, the resort planned to welcome sledders, and stay open Fridays through Sundays, weather permitting.

Finally, snow lovers can visit the state-run Donner Summit Sno-Park off Interstate 80 at the Boreal resort exit ramp. Donner is just one of several state sno-parks that serve families and other casual sporting types. Passes must be purchased beforehand online or at ski resorts and other vending spots.

As always, check snow and road conditions before heading up the mountain, and make sure children have all the right equipment. Happy sledding.

Wine Walk

What: The Noe Valley Holiday Wine Walk will include wine tastings and treats throughout this San Francisco neighborhood.

When: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1

Where: 24th Street, from Diamond to Castro streets

Cost: The sampling program costs $20 online, $25 on-site.


Historic Christmas

What: Christmas on the Comstock is a Victorian-style Christmas celebration that returns Virginia City to its 19th-century splendor. Catch a holiday parade and shop at unique boutiques.

When: The parade starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, followed by a concert by David John & the Comstock Cowboys.

Where: Downtown historic Virginia City

Cost: The parade is free. Concert tickets cost $25.


Christmas at the Waterfront

What: Find your holiday gifts at the Christmas at the Waterfront where there also will be a bonfire and boat parade.

When: 2-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3

Where: Main and Solano streets

Cost: Free


- Jessica Hice

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