Cross country skiing in June Lake


In the wake of what could have been a devastating blow to the small community of June Lake, creativity spurred of necessity could be an unexpected boon.

With June Mountain closed this year, the owners of Double Eagle Resort and Spa decided to groom cross country ski track on their ranch property across the street from the spa—adding one more reason to visit June Lake.

I have lived many places on the Eastside for the past several years, but this year I decided to move to June Lake, mainly for the winter recreation opportunities.

June Mountain may not have the most steep and exciting terrain, but that’s only talking about in-bounds.

With the appropriate experience, equipment, and partners, you can ride the lift to the top, drop down out of bounds, and access some of the best lift-served backcountry skiing around.

Like many, I was depressed when I found out the resort would not open. I had grand visions of all the skiing I would do—short ski sessions before work in the morning. Big backcountry days made smaller because I could cheat by riding the lifts. Sidecountry laps right back to my doorstep. Idyllic.

Alas, no.

When I stumbled upon a green sign pointing toward cross country skiing near the end of the road, I banked hard and thanked my new tires for keeping my excited self on the road.

Sure enough, there was a groomed cross country ski track, complete with grooves for diagonal stride, and looking in great condition for skating.

I quickly returned with my skate skis.

The track was a delightful two kilometers, with several fun tight turns and a couple short steep sections to keep my interest. Otherwise, it was relatively flat and conducive to skating fast and without stopping—perfect for fitness and honing technique.

The track wound through spindly willows toward Silver Lake, with stunning vistas of Carson Peak and the dramatic canyon that cradles June Lake.

Add the endorphins that come with any aerobic exercise, and it was pure bliss.

Ralph Lockhart, owner and Executive Vice President of the Double Eagle Resort and Spa, explained that the land is partially on the Double Eagle’s own property and partially on Forest Service land, for which they acquired a permit.

They also got a permit to groom at the Rodeo Grounds across from June Mountain, as well as at June Lake Junction, where they will be setting track for the June Lake Winter Festival and Triple Threat Triathlon on Feb. 1-3.

If you head out to the ranch for some skiing, just look for the big green sign across the street and just a little further down the road from the Double Eagle Resort and Spa.

Be sure to follow the obvious green signs to the parking lot in order to keep traffic on Double Eagle ranch property instead of disturbing the residents of Nevada Street.

“We’re just hoping to add one more thing that people can do in June Lake without having to go a long distance,” Lockhart said.

That is, of course, unless you want to.