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Cross-country skiing, snow play, pioneer history at Donner Lake.

The deep snow at Donner Memorial State Park somehow seems different from snow at nearby Lake Tahoe resorts--perhaps because it calls to mind the winter of 1846-47, when 22-foot snows stranded a company of California-bound pioneers called the Donner Party.

Park visitors, needn't fear sharing the Donner Party's fate, but they can learn about the group's tragic story. A small museum, open space for family snow play, and easy nordic ski trails make this a good stop off Interstate 80, 2 miles west of Truckee on Donner Pass Road.

The museum presents the life of indigenous Indians, chronicles mining in the area, and--through a display of relics and a 25-minute slide show--explains the ordeal that claimed the lives of 42 of the 89 Donner Party members. Hours are 10 to noon and 1 to 4 daily; admission is 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for children.

Snow-booted winter visitors can follow a short trail past sites where some Donner Party families built crude cabins. And nordic skiers can take a marked, level 2-1/2-mile loop to within view of Donner Lake. Ranger-led ski tours and programs start at 10 on the mornings of February 9 (you ski 6 miles; difficult), February 24 (3 miles; some hills), March 17 (6 miles; moderate), April 6 (railroading program), and April 13 (easy walk). For details, call (916) 587-3841 or write to the park, Box 9210, Truckee 95737.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1985
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