Skiers pursue powdery passions: William O’Donnell


For many seniors, the college application season coincides with and hampers many of their favorite pastimes—skiing, in William O’Donnell’s case. O’Donnell hasn’t been able to partake as much in this ski season but found time to visit Tahoe and ski at Northstar during the entirety of winter break. Although he hasn’t traveled to many other ski destinations, O’Donnell believes that Tahoe reigns supreme. “Tahoe is my favorite place to ski by far. However, my frame of reference is fairly small,” he said. “Outside of Tahoe, I have only skied on the East Coast while I went to boarding school in New Hampshire where I raced.”

As his family home is located conveniently just outside of the village at Northstar, O’Donnell has found himself skiing at Northstar every time he goes to Tahoe. “It’s easier [to ski at Northstar] for my family as we live so close to it and have direct shuttle access to the resort,” he said. “After a long day of skiing, we can even ski down the mountain to our home.”

Although at a young age O’Donnell found himself resenting skiing, as he grew older and improved his abilities, his feelings toward the sport eventually shifted to enjoyment. “I believe that people who say they don’t enjoy skiing or boarding haven’t spent enough time to get to the point where they can ski or board proficiently enough to fully enjoy it,” he said

When he skied for the Northstar competitive team, O’Donnell chronicled his drive up to Tahoe every weekend as incredibly long and grueling. “Traveling to Tahoe was always an arduous drive. However, my mom and I would usually take the train up to Sacramento and meet my grandmother, who would pick us up from the train station, and we would drive to Tahoe in our land cruiser we kept at her house,” he said. “Doing this allowed us to relax a majority of the way up the hill and gave me time to work on homework and classwork I missed due to skiing.”

According to O’Donnell, for most people, the drive up to Tahoe takes roughly four to six hours depending on the time of year, whether it be a holiday, the snow conditions, or time of day. Ski season is still in full swing, and O’Donnell describes it as one of the best he’s seen in several years. “Skiers are celebrating the El Nino season this year, which simply means lots of snow and fantastic skiing,” he said.