ASC Training Center set to light up the night

ASC is in the process of installing 26 light poles.
Courtesy ASC Training Center

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — The ASC Training Center at Donner Summit has long been called home by many of the area’s top Nordic skiers.

Founded in 1928, the center has fostered the careers of World Cup and Olympic athletes, and now with it newest project to bring in permanent stadium lighting, is positioning itself to host more events each year while allowing for expanded training hours for its skiers.

“I’m super excited for the trail lighting project at ASC,” said ASC alumnus, Olympian and U.S. Ski Team member JC Schoonmaker, in a news release. “This is the next step in growing our ski community by giving more people access to skiing up at the club. The next generation of Far West skiers will be stronger than ever.”

The A Place to Shine project will create a 2.1-kilometer lighted loop at ASC, allowing for night races and extending operations until 7:30 p.m. during winter months.

“We think it’s going to be a really important thing for the community to expand opportunities for kids who can’t normally get out after school or after work to ski,” said ASC Nordic Director Gus Johnson. “We would like to host more events, and just to try get more people out to ski.”

Last year, ASC placed temporary lights on a one-kilometer trail, bringing out around 100 skiers for a New Year’s Eve night race. Now work is being done to install permanent lighting.

“We’re most excited about expanding the availability of skiing to those who live further afield. We have some major untapped population centers in Reno and Sacramento (and even as far away as San Francisco) we’d like to make inroads with,” said Johnson in a news release. “We’re right next to a major interstate (I-80), and want to make it easy to get to snow.”

Another consideration in tackling the project was access to snow for working families and school kids: “It’s hard to get out on snow if you’re working a 9-5, and State Bill 328, which mandates later school start times in some communities, is affecting after-school programming among our community.”

Johnson said ground was broke in late August and this fall trenches will be dug to provide power to the LED lights. Plans are to finish work by winter, but Johnson added that ASC might have to wait until next spring to finish work on the loop.

ASC is planning on bringing its New Year’s Eve night race back, and according to Johnson, are in discussions to possibly bring the Truckee High School Nordic team’s home race to the center as another night race.

ASC Training Center is still raising funds for the project and is offering different levels of sponsorship, including selling plaques that will be attached to the light poles. The $3,000 sponsorship equals the price for one year’s tuition on ASC’s Nordic competition team.

“It’s something that’s going to create a lasting legacy for future generation,” added Johnson.

ASC Training Center would eventually like to add more lights to create a five-kilometer loop.

For more information or to donate toward the completion of the project visit

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