Loon Lake is in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area, a short drive into the El Dorado National Forest. It is very popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers in winter.
This weekend the El Dorado Nordic Ski Patrol and the US Forest Service will host an open house at the Loon Lake Chalet. This annual event is a great way for cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts to get acquainted with the Loon Lake area, the Chalet, and the El Dorado Nordic Ski Patrol.
The open house is from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, Jan. 28, and from 9am to 1pm on Sunday, Jan. 29. Both days will be tailored to the public’s winter use of the trails around Loon Lake. Recreation guides, information about the various trails, and what it takes to rent the Chalet will be offered.
John Erikson, the lead Wilderness Ranger for the area, will be on hand to answer questions, as will Peggy Westphal, the Off Highway Vehicle Ranger for the district. The area around Loon Lake is a recreational bonanza that Erikson and Westphal are extremely familiar with.
Inside the Chalet, Ski Patrol members will offer tips on proper winter clothing choices, information on avalanche awareness, and mini talks regarding winter safety to small groups.
A ski-tuning bench will be set up and the patrol members will demonstrate how to get your skis ready for a day on the snow. The best tuned skis offer the best days of skiing.
The Ski Patrol will have handouts available that cover the trails in the area, XC ski tips, and what it takes to rent the Chalet. Coffee, cookies, hot chocolate and tea will also be available inside the Chalet.
Monte Hendricks of the ski patrol says that the information presented during this open house will be valuable to all levels of skiers and back country travelers. Along with Rich Platt, Julie Hendricks, and Nancy Platt, and other members of the patrol and USFS, almost anything pertaining to back country skiing and snowshoeing will be covered.
It is a good time to get acquainted with the patrol members. These are the people most likely to come looking for you if you have problems while in the snowy back country.
Ice House road is plowed by SMUD during winter to allow access to the various recreation possibilities in the Crystal Basin. Drivers must exercise caution while driving here in winter and be on the look out for ice and packed snow on the roads. It is up to the individual drivers to know when it’s time to put chains on. It is about 28 miles from US Hwy 50 to the Loon Lake Chalet.
Take your skis and snowshoes and enjoy a day on the snow and in the Chalet, learning about a spectacular winter playground.