The History Of Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Trail Names

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Standing at the top of the mountain, snowflakes slowly dance their way down to the ground. In front of you stands a large billboard-sized trail map. Surveying the guide, your mind begins to wander and curiosity strikes. “Where the heck did the names of these runs come from?” For the first chapter in our new series Legacy: The Origins of Trail Names, we delve deep into the most famous runs at the Lake Tahoe resort: Sierra at Tahoe.

Sierra at Tahoe - Trail Map Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort
Sierra at Tahoe – Trail Map Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort

Getting a Trail named after you – Preacher’s Passion

What is the biggest honor you could ever get as a skier or snowboarder? How about getting a trail named after you? Preacher’s Passion is an example of this as it’s named after a preacher who loved this mostly gladed tree run. So, who was this preacher? John Rice, the General Manager at Sierra, got the opportunity to meet the widow of this trail’s namesake Reverend Bruce Crawford. Her husband was a Presbyterian preacher in Placerville, CA located not too far from the resort in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Bruce absolutely adored skiing and was friends with Vern Sprock, who owned Sierra at Tahoe from 1953 to 1993.

Powder slash at Sierra at Tahoe - Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe
Powder slash at Sierra at Tahoe – Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe

Described as a tree run filled with boulders and a very steep slope, Bruce didn’t have the most up to date gear but that never mattered. He loved that run especially on a powder day. They couldn’t call it by his name since EVERYONE would want a trail named after them, so they decided on Preacher’s Passion. Next time you drop in, just imagine a minister on a pair of skinny skis hooting and hollering his way through the glades with a big grin on his face. And at the end of the day after you’ve made a few laps, head over to Coldwater Brewery for a beer also named after this route, the Preachers Pale Ale.

Kaboom!!! That’s the sound of Dynamite

The terrain at Sierra at Tahoe can be considered “Boulder-tastic” to say the least. With an absence of dirt and an abundance of rock, the trail Dynamite required quite a bit of explosives. And that is how it got its name… the large amount of blasting that was required to create it.

Eastabout – A little bit of Sierra Ski Ranch History

The original name of Sierra at Tahoe was the Sierra Ski Ranch. And when it was first built, Eastabout was the original eastern-most trail you could ski.

Brian airing it out on Eastabout - Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe
Brian airing it out on Eastabout – Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe

Sugar n’ Spice and Everything Nice

Sugar n’ Spice comes from a line in the popular nursery rhyme called “What are little boys made of.” Being the easiest way down the mountain from the top, it fits perfectly. The nursery rhyme might say that little girls are made of Sugar n’ Spice and everything nice, but this run does too.

Perfect Groomers at Sierra - Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe
Perfect Groomers at Sierra – Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe

Marmots, Beavers, and Coyotes – oh my!

Several of the resorts’ trails got their names from the furry creatures running around the resort like Jackrabbit, Beaver, Marmot, Coyote and Marten. Keep your eyes peeled on the chairlift. You might see these native critters hanging out and enjoying snow in their own way.

Powder Day at SIerra at Tahoe - Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe
Powder Day at Sierra at Tahoe – Image Courtesy: Sierra at Tahoe

Broadway isn’t just in New York

In New York, Broadway is one of the most central roads in the entire city, crossing nearly the entire length of Manhattan. In a small town, Main Street is the central road that everything goes through. So, what would you call the most visible and highly used routes? Main Street and Broadway of course! Both of these can be seen from the base looking up the mountain.

The Alley – Sunshine and Snowboarders

Originally, The Alley was called Sunshine Alley due to the Southern facing exposure to winter sun. The name then changed to Snowboard Alley in 1994 because it was where the first snowboard park was built. As skiers were allowed into the park, the name simply became The Alley.

Landscape inspired names

Mare of the Granite Kingdom
Horsetail Falls in the Desolation Wilderness – Image Taken by: Bryan Swan

In Desolation Wilderness to the west of the ski area, there is a breathtaking massive waterfall called Horsetail. Horsetail got its name from the view of these falls in the West Bowl, as did Pyramid for its view of Pyramid Peak. The front side of the resort also has an abundance of Hemlock trees and therefore the named run Hemlock. Finally, Escape earned its name since it is the primary way to get from the West Bowl back to the base area.

As you can see, there is a lot of history that surrounds the naming of the runs. The inspiration can come from the landscape, geography, or even the people of the region. Huge thanks to Thea Hardy and the Sierra at Tahoe staff for helping Local Freshies® get the facts straight so we could share with all of you.

Be sure to comment on which ski resort we should write about next.

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