Road trips from SoCal: Sierra Nevada
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( Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times )
Donner Ski Ranch, Truckee
Distance: 488 miles one-way
The sign on the shoulder of U.S. 40, west of Truckee, says it's "Old School Thursday" at Donner Ski Ranch, lift tickets $10 a day. They must be pretty desperate to offer tickets that cheap, I think as I pull into the rutted parking lot that is only a quarter full. It's late January, the mountains are covered with snow, and ski season is well underway.
Talk about old school. The main lift to the summit is manned by a middle-aged guy in a thick flannel jacket, jeans and hiking boots. His long gray hair sticks out from under a baseball cap. The lift is a renovated three-seat chair that moves as if it's being pulled by a team of mules.
Read more: At Donner Ski Ranch, ski into the sport's rustic past