Granlibakken Tahoe set to open for 95th year of winter fun |

Granlibakken Tahoe set to open for 95th year of winter fun

Granlibakken Tahoe will begin ski and sled operations on Dec. 15, making it 95 years that the area has been used for winter recreation.
Courtesy of Granlibakken Tahoe |

One of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s most historic ski hills is set to for its 95th year of winter recreation at the site, returning for another season as one of the oldest continuously operating ski resorts in the country.

Granlibakken Tahoe has announced Dec. 15 as its season opener, which will feature a season kickoff party with discounted sledding, prizes to the first 20 sledders/skiers, food specials and more.

The area was first reportedly used for winter recreation in 1922, according to Marketing Manager Annora McGarry, and then in 1926-27, the Tahoe Tavern remained opened for its first winter season. The following year, construction on the first ski jump would begin at the resort by Norwegian skier Lars Haugen.

Granlibakken would go on to famously place a bid for the 1932 Olympics, but was beaten out by Lake Placid. During that time, the area’s Ski Canyon was rebranded as Olympic Hill in hopes of landing the games. The hill is still used today as training grounds for the Olympic Valley Freestyle / Freeride Team. Granlibakken would go on to host the 1932 U.S. Ski Championships later in the year.

In 1947, the land was further developed when Kjell “Rusty” Rustad built a 450-foot rope tow to the top of the hill and christened the area “Granlibakken,” which means “hill sheltered by fir trees” in Norwegian. The area developed by Rustad is still the one used by skiers and snowboarders today.

To celebrate 95 years of winter recreation, and 70 years under the name Granlibakken, the resort is offering five months of giveaways — from Granlibakken Day Spa treatments to sledding parties. The five months of giveaways started in November, with a social media contest to win a sledding party for 4 people — a $70 value. Tag @granlibakken and use the hashtag #gran95 with a photo of your favorite winter memory to win. Giveaways will be held in January, February, March, and a grand prize drawing will be in April.

On Christmas Eve, Granlibakken will take guests on a journey to 1932, harkening back to its bid to host the Winter Olympics with the mountain’s annual torchlight parade. Skiers and snowboarders will take to the hill with an LED torch in hand, before enjoying food and drinks, and a visit from Santa Claus.

“After the ski hill closes at 4:30 or 5 (p.m.) people ski down with LED torches,” McGarry said. “And then Santa rides down on a snowmobile.”

The resort’s ski and board hill is one of the most affordable in the Tahoe area, and ideal for beginner through intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

The hill boasts one lift, taking riders to the top, and another smaller one, which services the bunny hill. Adult lift tickets cost $35 for a full day. Granlibakken’s sled hill costs guests $16.

For more information on upcoming events at Granlibakken, visit

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