Today people travel swiftly along I-80 to their destinations in the Sierra, many times not even staying overnight. When they do stay overnight it is most likely in hotels or rental houses.
It was not always that way. Before I-80 people traveled much more slowly along Old Highway 40. They stopped at the many lodges, stores, and service stations along the two lane road to rest, stock up or buy souvenirs. They stayed in lodges with communal eating facilities and dormitory sleeping. Many hotels of the time had dormitory sleeping arrangements as well, such as the Soda Springs Hotel and the Lodge at Sugar Bowl. The Cal Lodge was, and still is, one of those lodges offering a communal dining and lodging experience.
Cal Lodge has a rich history housing academic programs and student organizations such as the Cal Ski Team, has provided summer camp facilities for underprivileged children and has even been the site for the making of a movie about the Donner Party.
The original one room lodge, built in 1937 to help train the Cal ski team (below right in the 1930's) , paid its $1,000 cost in just two years. That encouraged the building of a larger facility (original architect's drawing above right) in 1939, this time for $7,000. The lodge has served as the main stopping place in the northern Sierra for thousands of students who have come to the mountains for physical adventure, greater cultural awareness, social enjoyment, and spiritual development.
The Cal Lodge is owned by the Associated Students of the Univ. of California (ASUC).
A Good Story ASUC Builds Ski Lodge Aid Needed in Construction; Work Rushed
ASUS... now constructing a new... ski lodge in the heart of the Sierra winter sports area at Norden... When completed... the three-story building will have sleeping accommodations for 25 men and 25 women... Reports from crew... indicate... construction is being rapidly pushed forward... George Gester '40, president of the Winter Sports club, issued a call for volunteers yesterday to help carry wood, pound nails, and do other odd jobs. "We can use at least 50 or 60 men at a time up there," he said. "Food, transportation, lodging, and a good time will be furnished..."
The Cal Lodge was built by student volunteers, Daily Californian November 3, 1939
Things to do right here
Donner Summit is a paradise for outdoor recreation. At 7,000 ft. this four-season location has every winter and summer sport imaginable nearby. In the winter it is close to cross-country and downhill skiing or you can try snow-shoeing or sledding just outside the door. In the summer the Pacific Crest Trail is only a mile away. Other activities include rock climbing, hiking and bicycling. Cal Lodge has accommodations for 50+ and large groups of 30 or more may rent the whole lodge for their special events. Upon request, appointments can be made to see the California Golden bear (right). Go Bears!
Contact the Cal Lodge at www.callodge.org, 530-426-9900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.