The Oakland Ski Club (OSC) is an outdoor-oriented club that owns and operates the OSC Donner Lodge on a non-profit basis for the exclusive use of its members and their guests. Its purpose is to make skiing and other outdoor activities both affordable and available. Located just below the Gondola at Sugar Bowl on Old Donner Summit Road, the family-friendly lodge is open to members winter and summer. During the ski season our resident caretaker prepares weekend meals. The rest of the year members use the fully equipped lodge kitchen to prepare their own meals.
Rich in history, OSC was founded in 1938 by Oakland residents, but membership is now open to people throughout the Bay Area. Originally, the only way to reach the OSC Donner Lodge in the winter was to hike in. Today members contribute financially towards plowing the county road for wintertime access, but the can-do, adventurous spirit of the founding members persists, and we enjoy carrying on the traditions of the club.
The Oakland Ski Club Experience
OSC is a cooperative with members ranging from four years of age to well into their 70s. The club embraces families, singles, and couples. There’s always someone available to share a meal, an evening game of cards, or a day on the slopes. Beyond the slopes and the lodge we get together at meetings and special events held throughout the year. Some members also organize group trips to ski resorts outside the Tahoe area.
OSC members share the responsibilities and expenses of running and maintaining the OSC Donner Lodge and are able to use the lodge all year round. While staying at the lodge, members are asked to keep and observe all lodge rules. Everyone is assigned a routine chore, and members are asked to leave the lodge as clean or cleaner than they found it. Members are also required to help get the lodge ready for the coming ski season by attending one of the summer work parties.
Activities and Special Events
The OSC social calendar and special events run throughout the year. Winter is the busiest season at the OSC Donner Lodge. During the holidays and over school winter breaks we usually have a full house. Our festive December Holiday Party is held in the Bay Area, but when there is a lot of snow, some members wish us well from the slopes rather than coming to the party.
One of the club’s most durable traditions, the Grudge Race, is held February or March. Race day features several races among the Donner Summit ski clubs, but the Grudge Race is just between OSC and the Alpineers. We’re always looking for members who can help us claim the trophy ski in that race.
Quite a few of our younger members are also members of the Sugar Bowl Racing Team, and some adults participate in Open League Racing.
We wrap up the ski season with a spring Installation Brunch in the Bay Area. We elect the OSC Board for the coming year, vote on important club business, and then kick back and enjoy good food and good company.
Summer is work party time at the OSC lodge, but plenty of members come up just to relax and enjoy the mountains. They organize hikes, bike rides, rafting excursions, and afternoons at Donner Lake. A trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail is not far from the lodge, and there are many other trails nearby.
OSC fees and lodging costs stay low because we do everything we can ourselves. All members are asked to participate in one of our summer work parties. These are well-organized, and the range of tasks that need to be accomplished each summer lets everyone contribute according to their skills and abilities.
Work parties are certainly not all work, there’s a lot of play involved. In the afternoons when the work is done members go on to hike, bike, or swim, and in the evenings everyone gathers to enjoy a meal together.