Norden in Nevada County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Hwy 40 Scenic Bypass
“new addition… modern design… large new ski hut… semi-rustic design… oiled pine walls … ideally suited to skiers’ requirements… central heating… Norden awaits the opening of the winter sports season.” So advertised the Southern Pacific in December, 1939, its Snowball Express.
Sugar Bowl opened in December, 1939 and the Southern Pacific wanted to take advantage of the growing popularity of skiing and winter sports. It put $26,000 into a new station at Norden - inside a snowshed (right).
The train left the Ferry Building every evening and made an overnight trip to Donner Summit for the round trip cost of $4.50 (Pullman berths $1.35 extra). Dinner was 75 cents. When the train arrived in the morning passengers awoke refreshed and ready for a day’s skiing at Norden, only fifteen minutes from Sugar Bowl. They were taken “by sleighs of the latest design pulled by tractors operating on a punctual and regular schedule.” One Snowball Express car sold and rented ski equipment and toboggans at “city prices.” Equipment could also be rented at the Norden Station.
Since there were not enough rooms on Donner Summit for all the people wanting to come, Southern Pacific parked some Pullman cars in Truckee where winter travelers could rent weekend berths.
A Good Story
Peter Picard was a long time ski instructor at Sugar Bowl after WW II. One of his early jobs was to meet the Snowball Express skiers and get them situated. He remembers so many novices coming off the trains excited about skiing, but almost totally unprepared. He sometimes spent the entire day fitting equipment. The Snowball Express did not last too long. The liability of skiers wandering the snowsheds was too much for S.P.
Erected by Donner Summit Historical Society. (Marker Number 14.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the 20-Mile Museum - Hwy 40 Scenic Bypass, and the Donner Summit Historical Society marker series.
Location. 39° 19.036′ N, 120° 21.196′ W. Marker is in Norden, California, in Nevada County. Marker is on Donner Pass Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20075 Donner Pass Road, Norden CA 95724, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Summit Valley (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cal Lodge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tri Lodges (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mt. Judah (approx. ¾ mile away); Sugar Bowl (approx. 0.8 miles away); Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Magic Carpet (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Lodge at Sugar Bowl (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Norden.
Regarding Norden Station. This marker is removed every Fall for the winter months and replaced every Spring for the summer season.
Also see . . . The 20-Mile Museum Brochure. Information and the listing of all the markers within this series. (Submitted on March 28, 2015.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 24, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 217 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 24, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.