Great Ski Race canceled; party, fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue set for Sunday |

Great Ski Race canceled; party, fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue set for Sunday

Athletes await the signal to start of last year's The Great Ski Race. This year's event was canceled due to a lack of snow.
Courtesy of Troy Corliss
Know & Go
  • What: The Great Party: Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue fundraiser
  • Where: Tahoe City Cross-Country Ski Area
  • When: Noon - 3 p.m., Sunday, March 1
  • Cost: $20 suggested donation

One of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s most popular Nordic races has been canceled due to a lack of snow.

The Great Ski Race attracted more than 350 skiers last year, but this year, conditions won’t allow for the field of racers to compete across the 30 kilometers of trails, which run from Tahoe City to Truckee.

“As hard as The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team tried to find a way to put on The Great Ski Race for 2020, Mother Nature worked just as hard to prevent any such thing from happening,” organizers posted to the event’s Facebook page.

The Great Ski Race has been held (when conditions allow) since 1977, and was inspired by the route Jack Starratt, of Tahoe City, took to deliver mail in the 1930s.

The race is the main fundraising event for Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, which has served the area since 1976, and consists of a variety of volunteers, including emergency medical technicians, emergency room doctors and nurses, firefighters, professional ski patrollers and paramedics.

Despite a lack of snow this season, organizers attempted to reroute the course in hopes of holding the race, but warm, spring-like weather in the past couple weeks has dashed those plans.

“Another unfortunate weather related cancellation,” said Race Director Dirk Schoonmaker in an email to the Sun.

Due to conditions, organizers have only been able to hold the race six times since 2010. During the 2000s, the race was able to contested every year, and attracted more than 1,000 competitors in 2005.

While The Great Ski Race won’t be held this year, organizers have shifted gears into hosting a new event, The Great Party, on Sunday at Tahoe City Cross-Country Ski Area.

The party, which will benefit Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Blues Monsters will perform live music, Men Wielding Fire will be cooking food, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co will be pouring beer.

There is a $20 suggested donation to the general public for tickets or free to registered racers, who donate their entry fee to Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue. All other registered racers, according to organizers, will roll over to next year’s race.

Donations can also be made to Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue by clicking on the donate tab on the group’s website at

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