Old Tannenbaum Ski Area


Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 1.1 miles one-way (1.7 miles one-way to alternate end point)
7150 feet
-900 one-way
Navigation Map and compass
Time Short
Season Late December through March
Snowmobiles Low use
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Washoe City
Start On the west side of Highway 431 and across the highway from the Tannenbaum Event Center, 10.3 miles west of I-395 North exit and 9.3 miles west of I-395 South exit. During events you may not be able to park at the Center and very little other parking is available.
End South entrance to Galena Creek Regional Park on Highway 431, 7.3 miles west of I-395 North exit and 6.3 miles west of I-395 South exit. There are 4 or 5 parking spaces near the entrance, which is located adjacent to the NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) Maintenance Station.

An alternate end point is the north entrance to Galena Creek Regional Park on Highway 431, 0.3 miles north of the south entrance. Drive in the north entrance and park in the designated parking loop..


This is a short, completely downhill tour for skiers looking to carve some turns. It is best skied during or immediately after a cold storm because of its low elevation — it ends at only 6250 feet. Fortunately the route is entirely on north-facing slopes so the first sun doesn't turn the powder to mush.

Image of Tannenbaum Ski Area sign
Tannenbaum Ski Area sign. Courtesy of The Western Lost Ski Area Project.

Fresh powder on ski run

About 1/3 of the tour coincides with the now defunct one-lift Tannenbaum Ski Area. Closed in 1981 or thereabouts, the original summit lift house and assorted machinery are still standing as are several lodges.

Also gone is the once nearby Christmas Tree restaurant that was destroyed by fire. In days gone by skiers could climb up the Old Mount Rose Highway, have lunch at the restaurant, and then retrace their tracks or ski down the old ski run. Although you have to bring your own lunch now, you can still make the loop as described in the Old Mount Rose Highway tour.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change: -100 feet

From the trailhead (1) on the west side of the highway, ski north and parallel to the highway for 0.2 mile until you reach the top of an obvious ski run (2) where a ski lift ran straight up and down the slope to the north. Be very careful if you are crossing the highway to reach the trailhead.

Miles: 0.2 - 0.5
Elevation change: -350 feet

Descend the old ski run north for 0.3 mile until you reach a water tank (3).

Miles: 0.5 - 1.1
Elevation change: -450 feet

Pass the water tank on its east (right) side and descend northeast for 0.6 mile until you reach the NDOT Maintenance Station at the south entrance to Galena Creek Regional Park (4). In this section you should stay above the houses and the road to the houses that you will encounter. Once you reach the park facilities you can also walk down the plowed road to the end point.

Alternate Ending

Finding the alternate end point may well be the most difficult part of the trip because the route to it is not well defined.

To reach the alternate end point begin by locating the entrance kiosk (5) approximately 0.1 mile before the south entrance to Galena Creek Regional Park.

Miles: 1.1 - 1.15
Elevation change: Nil

From the entrance kiosk (5) ski northwest for 0.05 mile until you reach the bridge across Galena Creek (6).

Miles:1.15 - 1.7
Elevation change: -50 feet

Cross the bridge and ski generally north for 0.55 mile until you reach the north entrance parking loop (7). The route follows the Bitterbrush Trail that is poorly marked at best, however, the route is often well trampled by snow-players. The restroom facility at the north entrance parking loop is visible from a distance.

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
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