During the winter of 1941-1942, sixteen members traveled as a group to Rainbow Tavern, on the west side of Donner Pass, to try out the rope tow they had set up on their property. The ski trip was so successful that members began to make regular excursions to Sugar Bowl, a trip that could take as many as eleven hours over two lane roads.
World War II put a halt to any regular ski outings to the Sierra Nevada. During the war, the ice rink burned down and in 1946, the club members reconvened with a focus solely on skiing. The club name was changed to Santa Rosa Ski Club. For many years, meetings were held at Mailer-Frey Hardware on Fourth Street.
Those long drives, combined with the cost of overnight accommodations, prompted discussion of acquiring a lodge for the club. In 1952, the decision was made to lease a small cabin near Rainbow Tavern for $75 per month. The quarter mile walk up to the cabin often required breaking a trail through two or three feet of freshly fallen snow. When more than eight or ten people were using the cabin, the bathtub and dining room table became beds. In these crude quarters, members began to talk about having their own lodge. A debate on the pros and cons of purchasing a lodge versus building a lodge became a regular dinner conversation.
With a solvent treasury and income accumulated from the dues of $1.00 coming in from about 100 members and party profits, the club decided to officially incorporate as a non-profit in 1954 as the Santa Rosa Ski Chalet Club Inc. At the same time, the town of Truckee was promoting the sale of $450 lots with the additional incentive of a rebate of 50% of the utility bills for the first six years of ownership.
In 1955, the club purchased the lot on Valley Road in Truckee for $450 and also bought a surplus military Quonset hut in Sebastopol for $360. The hut was dismantled and transported in pieces to Truckee, where weekend work parties began the reconstruction job.
In October 1956, the hut was fully enclosed but a few key support pieces were not yet installed. After a very severe, wet, early-season snowstorm hit the Sierras, members of that fall’s final work party arrived in Truckee only to find their new lodge caved in by heavy snow.