Lower Carpenter Valley on Skis

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Meet at the junction of Carpenter Valley Road and Alder Creek Road

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Event description


Truckee Donner Land Trust proudly announces the inaugural season of docent-led ski tours to Lower Carpenter Valley!

The Carpenter Valley ski tour starts at the junction of the Carpenter Valley Road and Alder Creek Road north of Truckee. It follows the snow-covered Carpenter Valley Road for the first 2.5 miles, then explores the Valley floor under winter conditions. The total distance to be covered depends on snow and weather conditions and the abilities and interests of the participants; it will not exceed 10 miles. You may be asked to help break trail. Four tours are scheduled at approximately one month intervals; expect some to be canceled (possibly with late notice) because of unfavorable conditions. Each tour is scheduled for six hours, so bring lunch, liquids, and appropriate gear for winter backcountry travel.

Participation is limited to 10 skiers on each trip. Please do NOT register unless you are confident you will attend.


What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Drive north on Hwy 89 2.4 miles from I-80 in Truckee, turn left on Alder Creek Road and follow it 2.8 miles to the junction with Carpenter Valley Road. The Carpenter Valley turn is unsigned, but it is easily recognized at a sweeping 90° bend to the left in Alder Creek Road; it is the only right turn between Highway 89 and Tahoe Donner. A hundred feet of Carpenter Valley Road should be plowed and can be used for parking. Park on the sides in case emergency vehicles need to get through. If parking is not available because of recent snowfall, we will cancel since the Alder-Carpenter junction is not suitable for drop-off.

What should I bring?

Skis: You will need backcountry touring skis, poles, and flexible boots for this trip. Depending on your height and weight, skis that are 75 mm wide under the foot and 185 cm long should be about right. Sturdy three-pin or cable bindings will allow your foot to move forward and back while providing sideways control. Snowshoes are not acceptable. Skating or striding skis are not suitable since the trail is not groomed. Telemark and/or backcountry alpine skis, climbing skins, and plastic boots are not recommended since there is almost no elevation change during the tour. Expect long, but gentle, uphill and downhill terrain.

Supplies: Bring clothing that can be added or removed in layers to adjust to changing conditions, which may range from light snow, sleet, and wind to bright sun. Wool and synthetics are best for retaining warmth and shedding moisture. Your waterproof jacket is imperative! A moderately large day pack is recommended to carry your lunch, water and your surplus clothes as you shed layers.

Tell me about the experience:

Starting from the intersection of Carpenter Valley Road with Alder Creek Road, we will ski around or over the US Forest Service gate which is locked in winter to exclude wheeled vehicles. If you have joined the Land Trust for a docent-led summer hike to Carpenter Valley, you drove this first 2+ miles. In winter the road is very popular with snowmobilers, dog walkers, and snowshoers, all of whom leave tracks that can make the snow surface rough and irregular. After a recent storm there may not be many tracks, but the snow may be soft and deep, meaning progress is slow. Several days after a storm, the old tracks can be icy and rutted meaning that progress is slow. On warmer days or when snow cover is thin we may need to take skis off occasionally to cross running water.

When we reach the valley at 2.5 miles, the view-scape and terrain open to the spectacular. The valley floor, which is off limits in summer, is covered with wind-groomed snow. We’ll spend as much or as little time in the valley as we have to make it back to the cars by 3, definitely leaving the valley by 1 PM.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

-> For cancellations and date changes: Please use self-service to cancel and rebook on the Eventbrite registration site. For administrative questions, contact linda@tdlandtrust.org

-> Please consult these FAQs for equipment and terrain questions. For further questions, please email linda@tdlandtrust.org who will connect you to one of our ski docents.

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?

No. Only the person who has registered may participate. If you find that you cannot attend, please contact us since we may have a waiting list and can give your spot to someone else.

Are restrooms available?

No. Please come prepared to use the woods as necessary.

May I bring my dog?

No. Pets are not allowed in Carpenter Valley or on any group outing. We kindly ask that you leave your pets at home. Your canine companion is welcome at every Land Trust property that is currently open to the public. Please visit tdlandtrust.org for recommendations.

May I explore Carpenter Valley on skis on my own?

Unfortunately not. Lower Carpenter Valley is open to the public via docent-supervised access while Truckee Donner Land Trust implements improvements necessary to protect the rich natural resources and the privacy of our neighbor landowners. The first 2.25 miles of the Carpenter Valley Road are on United States Forest Service property and are open for public recreation. Please do not go beyond the locked gate (which may be covered with snow) outside a Land Trust event. We are targeting 2020 for open access to Carpenter Valley.


I, the Undersigned, for myself and on behalf of my spouse, heirs, beneficiaries, successors and assigns, acknowledge and agree to all of the following:

In consideration of my participation in Truckee Donner Land Trust trail building, maintenance days, guided tours, docent led hikes and/or volunteer events, I hereby waive, release and discharge any and all claims for damages or injury arising as a result of my participation in these activities, and further agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Truckee Trails Foundation, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and the U.S. Forest Service on whose property the above activities may occur (collectively “Releasees”), and their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents from and against any loss, liability, damage, causes of action, cost or expense for or on account of bodily injury or property damage arising from or in any way related to my participation in the above activities or as may be related thereto. This Release and Hold Harmless Agreement shall apply regardless of any negligence or carelessness on the part of Releasees.

I acknowledge that there are natural conditions which are or may be inherently dangerous and that I may suffer serious bodily injury or death, or which may cause injury to property. I hereby agree to and assume all risks of harm, including but not limited to property damage, bodily injury, or death, as may result from engagement in the above activities or resulting from the acts, omissions or conduct of Releasees.

I give the Truckee Trails Foundation and Truckee Donner Land Trust permission to use for publicity purposes any photographs or video footage including my likeness that may be taken during the above activities.

I have carefully read this agreement and fully understand its contents. I have freely and voluntarily executed this agreement.

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Meet at the junction of Carpenter Valley Road and Alder Creek Road

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Refund Policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.

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