Tackling winter litter at Spooner Summit

League to Save Lake Tahoe
November 11, 2022

There’s snow on the ground in Tahoe, and it is a glorious sight to behold. Lifts are spinning at all 13 Tahoe-area resorts, and the sled hills, snowshoe tracks and cross-country trails are getting lots of love.

While you’re enjoying Tahoe this winter, be extra mindful to not leave anything behind. Our data shows that litter is a serious problem in the winter, just as it is in the summer.

For instance, the unofficial sled hill at Spooner Summit is an annual hotbed of winter-time pollution. During the winter of 2020-21, approximately 3,000 pounds of trash were removed – almost 2,000 pounds of which was collected by one of our dedicated Tahoe Blue Crews, Team Uppaway.

A father and child sledding

Watch the video.

Winter litter at the Spooner Summit sled hill has been an issue for years. At the urging of Keep Tahoe Blue, local news stations have brought attention to the issue. The video above is from February 2023. Video: KOLO 8 News Reno

Based on those shocking numbers, we knew something needed to change. Last winter, 2021-22, the League paid to place a dumpster and two portable restrooms at the site from January 15, 2021  to April 7, 2022. During that time, Team Uppaway only collected 126 pounds of trash, and the dumpster intercepted 2,000 pounds of would-be litter.

Without another solution in sight, the League again paid to have a dumpster and two portable toilets placed at the Spooner Sled Hill this winter. The facilities are serviced regularly and fitted with signs to encourage recreators to do the right thing.

Clearly, Spooner Summit needs better facilities. For the past two and a half years, the League has been doggedly lobbying the site’s managers – the Nevada Department of Transportation and USDA Forest Service – to take steps to fight litter. Despite our efforts, they have not.

Our team will continue to advocate and create solutions until sled litter is no more.

Learn how you can help Keep Tahoe Blue during the winter. Visit

A winter day at the Spooner Summit sled hill. Note the pile of broken plastic sleds. Photo: Tahoe Fund.

Bagged trash

The typical results of a weekly Tahoe Blue Crew cleanup at Spooner Summit before the League installed dumpsters and portable toilets.

Cleanup at Spooner Summit sled hill

Volunteers clean up trash at Spooner Summit sled hill in the spring of 2021. Photo: Tahoe Daily Tribune

Dumpsters at portable toilets at the Spooner Summit sled hill.

Dumpsters and portable toilets at the Spooner Summit sled hill in the winter of 2021-22.

A dumpster and two portable toilets in the snow.

Facilities like these at Spooner Summit help prevent litter at popular winter recreation sites.

Close up of signs on a dumpster

Signs on a League-funded dumpster encourage sledders to dispose of their trash responsibly.

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