Tahoe History

The Tucker Snowcat used to groom the slopes in front of the old residence at the base of the ski hill.

Granlibakken Tahoe’s ski and sled area has been making memories for generations. From kids who learned to ski on its approachable slopes to families that have been involved in the operations, Granlibakken is a special place for many people.

Kyle Rogers, whose dad was the manager of the ski hill in the late 70s, remembers spending his early childhood on the slopes and in the lodge at Granlibakken. The family would wake up at 4AM so that Kyle’s father could groom the ski hill in the old Tucker Snowcat. The kids, four in total, would take a nap in the attic of the ski lodge, on the hardwood floors. Kyle remembers that the attic was always pretty chilly, and of course, sleeping on the floor is never comfortable, but it built bonds and memories that he still shares with his siblings to this day. His parents would fuel up the woodstove below to get the lodge warm and comfortable for the day.

Tahoe ski history

Kyle, on the far right, skiing with his family at Squaw.

Sometimes, Kyle’s dad would let him ride along in the old Tucker Snowcat, a machine with four tracks towing a corrugated barrel behind it to groom the hill. He remembers flying so fast in the machine, the snow flying up and over the hood, making it feel like he and his dad were in a white room-a bit disorienting, but very exciting. Some of his fondest memories are of riding that Snowcat, making quick laps up and down the ski hill to get it prepared for the day.

Kyle has fond memories of skiing at Granlibakken too. He talks about riding the rope tow on looker’s left of the hill, which has since been taken down. The rope tow was that—just a rope. To get on and ride to the top, you would have to just hold on to the thick cable. Kyle recalls a number of times where he got rope burn on his hands, and holding on to the rope tow also took a lot of arm strength. He says “I would start out not being able to make it to the top, but by the end of the season, I was strong enough to be able to hang on until the very top.”

Tucker Snowcat

Grooming the ski hill in the 70s and 80s with the Tucker Snowcat.

Flying down the ski hill as fast as he could go was one of Kyle’s favorite pastimes during those days, when he was about 7 or 8 years old. “The hill is small, but it’s steep,” he says. Kyle and his siblings would strap on their skis, and lap the hill all day while their parents worked. Later, Kyle would race on Granlibakken’s hill as part of the Lake Tahoe Ski Club, which sometimes held meets at Granlibakken.

Today, Kyle has followed his passion for winter sports as a ski coach at Squaw Valley. He also works on a ranch in the summer. Like many skiers and riders in this region, he has many great memories of Granlibakken, ripping the slopes with his family.

Join us in celebrating 95 years of family fun at Granlibakken Tahoe. Click here for details.

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This blog is part of a series that looks back on skiing at Granlibakken Tahoe through the years, commemorating 95 years of winter fun at Granlibakken, which has been used as a winter recreation area since 1922. These blogs are based on interviews with people who have memories of skiing at Granlibakken. 

Do you have memories about Granlibakken Tahoe? We would love to hear them, you can share your memories by commenting below.

Here are links to other blogs that may interest you: 

Read: Growing Up Granlibakken

Read: Learning to Ski with Rusty at Granlibakken Tahoe

Read: Granlibakken: The West Shore's Playground

Read: Kjell "Rusty" Rustad, a Sailor on Skis

Read: Olympic History at Granlibakken Tahoe


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