Great Ski Race returns March 4 |

Great Ski Race returns March 4

Decades ago, when heavy snow cut Tahoe City off from the rest of the world, Tahoe City resident Jack Starrett delivered the mail on skis by climbing out of the Tahoe Basin over a 7,990 foot pass that lead to a long downhill run along Sawtooth Ridge to Truckee 18 miles away. Today, the route Starrett pioneered is commemorated each Snowfest by Nordic skiers competing in The Great Race.

In its 25th year, The Great Race has grown into the largest cross country ski race in the West. Sponsored by Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, the 30-km event attracts 900 skiers, including some of the top racers in North America. This year’s race will be held Sunday, March 4.

However, any cross country skier in good shape and of intermediate ability can enter. The race course covers scenic terrain and spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. Discovered from the top of Starrett Pass, 7,800 feet, are views of Mount Watson, Mount Pluto, Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley. Near the end, the favorite view is from the “Holy Smokes” ridge and the race’s last downhill stretch to Hilltop Lodge that signals the finish of the race.

Proceeds from the race help support the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization. Race funds generated are used primarily to purchase equipment and to support winter survival and avalanche education programs conducted by the team.

Registration forms can be downloaded from or picked up at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area. Entry fee includes T-shirt, party and raffle.

For more information call 583-5475.

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