Escape the endless Indian summer and set out on a quest for adrenaline-pumping adventure and surreal vistas. A quick guide to ski resorts in Lake Tahoe – where California and Nevada meet
Living in a country that doesn’t see a lot of snow, an all-white landscape is bound to give you a singular feeling. And when at Lake Tahoe, it’s difficult to even find words that do justice to its jaw-dropping vistas and scenery. The best way to soak in the beauty is to put on a pair of skis or strap a board to your feet and hurtle down a snow-covered mountain, shredding powder along the slopes. But wait — there’s more to this ski heaven.
You aren’t just skiing and bundling up by the fire – with s’mores and hot cocoa – to relax those tired legs. There’s plenty to keep you awake and active all night. Try your luck at one of South shore’s hip casinos, let your inner star shine with karaoke at a quaint bar or indulge in high-end shopping and dining along the lake’s north shore. Whether you spend your day hiking through the Sierra Nevada mountains, kayaking in mirror-like waters of Emerald Bay, skiing at one of the top-notch ski resorts or getting the bird’s-eye view of the lake from the Heavenly gondola, be prepared to wrap up your long day amid nature with a night on the town.
Here are a few alpine mountains that are bound to take your breath away – and not just because of their vastness, altitude or snowfall
With layers of fresh snow and delightfully sunny weather, Lake Tahoe makes for a quintessential destination for your skiing or snowboarding trip. Up for your first chair lift? Start strong at Heavenly Mountain located on the California-Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe. With 4,800 acres of off-the-grid terrain and the most incredible views of the turquoise lake surrounded by snow-capped Sierra peaks, all you want to do is find your own view point, set your phone’s camera on panoramic, and start panning. The best part? It offers a run for every kind of skier. And even if you don’t wish to ski, you’re welcome to enjoy the views. Post sunset, unbuckle those booths and get ready to party at 9,150 feet.
Here’s your chance to witness expert skiers whooping down the mountain’s famed steeps – what else do you expect when you’re at a resort that was host to 1960 Winter Olympics! Sprawling across six peaks on Lake Tahoe’s western shore and boasting of a wide range of beginner and intermediate exciting runs along with advanced lift systems, Squaw Valley can be easily dubbed as one of the world’s finest ski resorts. But top-notch powder is not all it offers. Vibrant ski culture, unlimited mountain energy and dramatic scenery define this vast white playground.
Alternatively, you can hop on a cable car and head to High Camp for an hour of ice skating at the Olympic Ice Pavilion (open year-round) or, indulge in a relaxing spa treatment amid snowy mountains.
At Squaw village – right where adventure ends – entertainment begins. Sway to a live band performance, sip on a cup of hot chocolate at a classic American coffee shop, peruse the shops selling everything from chocolates to sporting gear or simply appreciate the architecture of its Bavarian stone-and-timber buildings. Even if you’re a non-skier who favours snowball fights over skiing, you won’t regret visiting this winter wonderland.
TIP: Due south, you’ll see its sister resort – Alpine Meadows – tucked between Truckee and Tahoe City, and a quick 15 minute shuttle ride from Squaw Valley. With more than 100 trails spread over 2,400 acres, you can expect a bump and jump around every corner.
Authentic Californian skiing experience
Skiing at Sierra-at Tahoe is like discovering a hidden treasure – many medal-winning snowboarders and freestyle skiers call the mountain home yet it stays surprisingly under the radar for the locals and tourists alike. With 480 inches of average annual snowfall, well-spaced red fir trees, and 320 acres of backcountry terrain out the Huckleberry Gates, the resort has everything you need for a perfect ski vacation. What makes it unique is the fact that even a beginner can access the mountain’s summit and sunny backside. Long runs like Sugar N Spice are a cinch for a novice, and exploring a snowy mountain can’t get any better than this. But what makes it a winner is its terrain parks, pipes and features. Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, you can spend an entire day watching world-class athletes shredding powder. Cap off the day with souvenir shopping at the store followed by on-mountain dining and a few drinks at their ‘bar with a view’.
TIP: Free shuttle services, availability of up-to-date ski and snowboard equipment and gear, and easy rental process makes the experience effortless and unforgettable.
GET A BANG FOR YOUR BUCK AT LAKE TAHOE
– While North is a lot more serene, South Lake Tahoe is jam-packed with budget-friendly hotels, inns and restaurants. Stay south to save big on accommodation and dining. Also, South Lake Tahoe offers free shuttles between casinos and ski resorts.
– Visit during the week to score good deals on hotels and lift tickets and avoid the weekend crowds.
– Take advantage of the Lake Tahoe Six-Pack, available each year for less than $300. It consists of 6 vouchers for all-day lift tickets; each voucher is good for 2 or 3 of Lake Tahoe’s resorts. Yes, these passes are transferable.
GETTING AROUND LAKE TAHOE
The best way to get around Lake Tahoe is by car. Hire your own set of four wheels; this makes it convenient for you to stop at a location of your choice.