Granlibakken Through the Years: From Ski Field to Wedding and Wellness Destination 

Granlibakken Tahoe today is a bustling conference center, lodge, and resort just outside of Tahoe City – with historic roots that run deep. The story begins when Kjell “Rusty” Rustad first leased the land that Granlibakken’s ski slope is now situated on. In the beginning, there were no structures onsite and the slope was best known for the ski jump that had been built for the 1932 Olympic Ski Jumping Trials and the 1932 National Ski Association Ski Jumping Tournament. Rusty, together with his wife Marion, developed Granlibakken and gave it its name, which means “hill sheltered by fir trees.”

Rusty built a log Ski Hut out of the trees that were cleared for the ski hill. He also built a house to live in and a duplex for visitors that slept 6 on each side. To further develop the ski area, he built 2 rope tows, expanded the terrain, groomed the slopes, and taught lessons to beginners and aspiring ski jumpers alike. As the mountain increased in popularity, the Ski Hut also acted as the center of activity for the ski hill. A Jukebox was even installed so that music could be played over the slopes, and Rusty and Marion sometimes entertained in the Ski Hut after-hours.

Marion (pictured above), worked hard to keep Granlibakken operating. In the fall, she would calculate how much food, paper products, and essentials would be needed for the ski hut during the winter. Rusty and Marion would make the 2+ hour trek to Reno to pick up food and supplies for the winter–going to the butcher to purchase ground beef that Marion made into patties and froze for hungry skiers, and also purchasing enough plates, cutlery, and provisions to last the winter. Marion managed the ski hut–even acting as the cook and cleaner in the early days. The Ski Hut was known for its Toas-Tites, a sort of sealed hot sandwich–perfect after a day of skiing. Binth (Rusty and Marion’s daughter) described the Toas-Tite machine, “The top flipped up–two pieces of white bread filled with cheese and or chili placed on the bottom rounded bowl shape. Bring the top down, plug it in, and the heat toasts and seals it all around like around pocket sandwich.” How satisfying does that sound after a day of skiing?

Granlibakken has come a long ways since the days of Toas-Tietes and now is a bustling retreat center specializing in disconnecting from distractions. From wedding celebrations to wellness weekends, they really do it all, still with a family-operated feel. The resort is located on 74 acres of beautiful forestland only a short distance from Lake Tahoe, making it a unique and ideal wedding venue. With a variety of indoor and outdoor venues that complement Tahoe’s natural beauty, Granlibakken offers the services, space, and rustic setting to make your day truly unforgettable.

The resort’s flexible lodging options allow your guests to choose from a variety of room types, from five bedroom townhomes to suites, studios, or standard rooms. With venue space for up to 350 guests, Granlibakken is well equipped to handle anything from intimate ceremonies to large celebrations. Being environmentally sustainable to protect the beautiful area that they are set in is also a priority here. and they have made a number of updates to their conference center, kitchen, and lodging rooms as a part of this initiative.

Granlibakken also offers a 50% reduction in the venue fee for winter weddings so if you are imagining skiing down the aisle, this is the venue for you! A rich history and gorgeous woodland setting really gives Granlibakken that “Old Tahoe” feel that is truly special. To find out more about what they offer click here and to read more about their fascinating history you can visit their blog here.