Grooming Trails Program Returns to Sugar Pine

Administrative Officer I, Lake Sector Park Operations, Elizabeth McMillan stops for a break while grooming to express gratitude for teamwork. Photo from Johnny Herlihy, volunteer.

Many of you may not know that Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in the Sierra District is the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics biathlon event. Biathlon is winter sport that involves cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Over the last few decades, there have been winter grooming programs that have come and gone for multiple reasons. This year, after the hard work and determination of the Lake Sector staff and partnership with its nonprofit partners, the Sierra State Parks Foundation (SSPF), the program is finally off the ground.

Together, we were able to purchase a grooming attachment for the trails. Then, Park Maintenance and heavy equipment mechanics staff welded, wired, and attached the groomer to Parks’ snowcat.

However, before the first test run could be done, Tahoe had several fresh feet of new snow with severe winds knocking many trees onto the trail. So, with the help of the forestry management crew and maintenance, Parks headed out to clear the trees, digging, and sawing their way around the trail.

Finally the fun part—grooming. Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park has almost 12 miles of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, and up to eight miles of those trails are groomed on the campground side of the park along General Creek and site of the 1960 Winter Olympic biathlon event.

The local community and visitors are thrilled to enjoy this amazing winter wonderland. Experience a moment in history as Parks and SSPF host a Free Ski Day – including beginner clinics, tours, and a biathlon event – Sunday, March 5, from 10 am – 2 pm. Come try your hand at the biathlon with two former Olympians!

Interpretive programs are available throughout the winter. Join us for our popular full moon snowshoe hikes or ski on your own to the 1960 Olympic Biathlon site following the interpretive panels along the route. For more information, visit Cross Country Skiing.

The Ginzugroomer doing its magic (left), and a skier enjoying the newly groomed trails. Photos from Elizabeth McMillan, California State Parks Sierra District.