Take a Trip to Squallywood

Tahoe is home to the rich and famous – rich scenery and famous trails, that is.

One of the legendary areas that offer both the rich and famous is Squaw Valley, which is often referred to as Squallywood due to its abundance of impressive lines (and also because of this book). Squaw Valley is renowned as the host of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games during which women’s speed skating and the biathlon first debuted. It is this event that put Squaw Valley on the map and helped build the resort that so many visitors enjoy today.

All smiles riding the Siberia Express lift at Squaw Valley. Courtesy: Squaw Valley

Between Squaw and its neighbor Alpine Meadows, this resort area sees an average of 450 inches of snow per year on six mountain peaks. The epic conditions alone would certainly earn Squaw Valley a star on the ski resort walk of fame, but the resort goes above and beyond when it comes to offering exclusive activities. One such exclusive is Dawn Patrol, which is offered every Saturday from the end of December through March. This exclusive feature provides access to the freshest of the fresh powder for intermediate and advanced riders. You can beat the lines and ride the finest corduroy without the wait – and you will not want to wait for turns at Squaw!

However, if you do find yourself wandering off the slopes and through the village, which still has remnants of the Olympics, you’ll discover many modern flairs including contemporary dining, shopping accommodations and entertainment. One of the attractions that history buffs will naturally gravitate toward is the Olympic Museum, recently renovated and chock full of information about the storied past of Squallywood. Among its many artifacts are authentic Team USA uniforms and memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Games, which will make you appreciate the strides we’ve made in safety and padding!

Squaw Valley also hosts WinterWonderGrass, a 3-day music festival that brings together those who love music, mountains and a good time. Performances include world-class Bluegrass/Acoustic Roots music on three stages and California craft breweries offering up their tasty brews. The lineup includes Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival, Duo De Twang with Les Claypool, Travelin’ McCoury’s, Brothers Comatose, Dustbowl Revival, Shook Twins, Fruition, Scott Law & Ross James’ Cosmic Twang and Mandolin Orange.

Take a trip to Squallywood – you won’t regret it.

Mt. Rose: Just as Sweet to Ski

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet – and so would Mt. Rose, Tahoe’s not so delicate flower in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. With a base elevation of 8,260 feet, Mt. Rose boasts lodges at the highest base elevation for a ski resort in the Tahoe Basin, which means riders are privy to some of the best conditions in the area!

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It’s been smooth sailing at Mt. Rose during the 15-16 season! Courtesy: Mt. Rose

Summiting just shy of 10,000 feet, Mt. Rose has 1,200 acres of terrain just waiting to be explored. You could easily lose the day on one of 60 trails – which isn’t such a bad thing to us! The resort has two terrain parks and a number of accessible trails for beginners, but the real star of the resort are the Chutes, which includes over 200 acres of some of the “longest vert in North America.” According to Mt. Rose’s website, there are more than 1,000 feet of north facing slopes pitches range from 40 to 55 degrees. You’ll get your heart pounding as you experience some of the steepest terrain in the Basin.

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A blanket of white is what we like to see! Courtesy: Mt. Rose

Mt. Rose is a favorite among locals for a reason: the resort is situated perfectly between Tahoe and Reno (it’s only 11 miles from the North Shore of Tahoe and 25 from downtown Reno). Plus Mt. Rose offers killer deals that not only get you on the mountain quicker, but for less! The resort offers Two ‘Fer Tuesdays, which gets you two all-day lift tickets for the price of one. On Thursdays, grab the ladies and enjoy $29 lift tickets or bring your boarding pass the day you fly to get on the slopes one last time for $37.

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The view of Mt. Rose from Reno. Courtesy: Mt. Rose

Another reason to visit? Mt. Rose will host the McKinney Cup – Far West Masters Race the first weekend of March and Bobo’s Pink Fest 2016, a specialized women’s ski day, on March 10.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day Above the Crowd

Valentine’s Day is the poet’s holiday and it’s your turn to play the bard. You can dazzle your significant other with sonnets, but we suggest you compose an ode in the form of a dreamy distraction at the Ridge Tahoe. Your sweetie will be swooning when you reveal a romantic retreat at the top of Tahoe just for the two of you!

Play the bard this Valentine's Day at the Ridge Tahoe.

Play the bard this Valentine’s Day at the Ridge Tahoe.

Valentine’s Day at the Ridge is unique –  not only are you privy to vibrant views but also an intimate dinner at The Hungry Bear Restaurant. The special Valentine’s Day Menu will remind you of the early days of your romance with each course named after different stages of courtship; you’ll begin with “The First Impression,” which consists of a lobster salad, blood orange segments, shaved fennel and lemon vinaigrette before moving onto the main course, “The Longing.” This course includes your choice of grilled filet of beef with blue cheese bacon-topped cognac demi-glaze, seared halibut with red pepper harissa or honey glazed half rack of lamb with pomegranate relish all served with market seasonal medley and white bean, sweet garlic pancetta ragu. Finish off this culinary journey with “The Forever Remembering,” a chocolate espresso panna cotta with raspberry coulis. As Charles Schulz once said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Make your reservations for Valentine’s Day at The Hungry Bear Restaurant now. Dinner is $60 per person, 6-8:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. Call 775-588-3553, ext. 3150 for reservations.

Pamper yourself and your sweetheart with Valentine's Day spa specials.

Pamper yourself and your sweetheart with Valentine’s Day spa specials.

Valentine’s Day is made even more spectacular with February specials for Elevation Spa at the Ridge Tahoe! Elevation Spa offers in-rooms couple massages. These custom designed massages are conducted in the privacy of your room for complete relaxation. Choose from Swedish, deep tissue, sports and aroma-bliss massages to make your night even more special. When you book any 60-minute or longer spa appointment, the spa guest will have all-day use of our amenities including: Indoor/Outdoor Heated Pool (open year round), Eucalyptus Steam Room, Roman Soaking Tub and Fitness Facility. Talk about pampering!

Purchase a $150 gift certificate for any Spa Treatment and receive a Dermalogica “Rescue Me!” Skin Care Kit valued at $41.00 absolutely free. Gift certificates may be purchased over the phone and instantly emailed directly to you for your convenience. Please Reference Special #ValFeb150.

For more information, contact Elevation Spa at 775-588-3553 ext. 6000.

Northstar California Resort: Family Fun at 8,610 Feet

A tour of the great Tahoe ski resorts is incomplete without a visit to Northstar California Resort in Truckee, Calif. Tahoe’s northerly sister may not have the benefit of the blue lake as its backdrop, but it does not lack in breathtaking scenery, epic runs and serious fun for the modern family.

Reach new heights at Northstar. Courtesy: Northstar California Resort

Reach new heights at Northstar. Courtesy: Northstar California Resort

Formerly known as the “Timber Farm,” the resort was acquired by Georgia Pacific and opened for operations in December 1972. Since its opening, it has grown to offer 3,170 skiable acres for riders of all experience levels. Northstar has offered high quality winter activities at 8,610 feet for 40 years and continues to innovate with new events, amenities and activities. The 2015-2016 season is no exception with new features such as the Family Après Snow Play and Terrain Based Learning 2.0.

96% of all available terrain is currently open as of late January and the resort has seen 268” of total snowfall so far this season. With that much snow, you’re sure to find make some memorable lines in any of the 100 runs. And if the dozens of open runs aren’t enough to satiate your need for outdoor adventure, try cross country skiing, showshoeing, telemark skiing and fat biking at the same resort!

Like its counterparts to the south, it should come as no surprise that Northstar is home to an Olympian in David Wise, a freestyle skier whom won the gold in SuperPipe in 2014. If you have your own burgeoning Olympian in your midst, consider checking out the Progression Snow Park for Families and Kids. Designed specifically for children and families, this park offers more refined transitions between beginner, intermediate and advanced riding abilities with smaller features than the larger parks. Your future Olympian will learn how to handle the curves without sacrificing safety.

Smiles abound at Northstar! Courtesy: Northstar California Resort

Smiles abound at Northstar! Courtesy: Northstar California Resort

Regardless of the activity you’ve chosen at Northstar, you will end up famished after a day on the mountain. Take off your ski boots and put on some heels for the Mountain Table Dinner Series, a one-of-a-kind family style dining experience in the Zephyr Lodge at Northstar. This dinner series features locally and regionally sourced ingredients complimented by a winery or brewery, such as the Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Feb. 19) and Goose Island Brewery (March 11). Prepared by Executive Chef Aramis Torres, guests will take a culinary journey that is only rivaled by their expedition on the mountain. Other dining options are available in the The Village at Northstar, as well as shopping and nightlife.

Discover Rare Earth at Kirkwood Mountain

There is no shortage of epic runs in the South Shore this winter and with nearly 84 inches of snow as its base, Kirkwood Mountain is really serving up the goods this season.

Kirkwood offers big mountain riding for visitors of the Sierra Nevada.

Kirkwood offers big mountain riding for visitors of the Sierra Nevada.

Located 35 miles from South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood benefits from the “K-Factor,” which relates to the resort’s fortuitous placement along the Sierra Crest. This position delivers plenty of dry and light snow – or what the kids like to call “pow” – to the resort. Catch their epic terrain on a powder day and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear!

The resort prides itself on a variety of runs for all experience levels. Cruise over 30 kilometers of groomed trails or take it to the next level with runs littered with cornices and cliffs. Run into any of the friendly employees and they’ll happily share their tips and tricks for a great day on the slopes. (A pro tip from Kirkwood staff is to check out Dick’s Drop located off Chair 10, The Wall, for the best kept secret stash on the mountain.)

Make your own way at Kirkwood Moutain. Courtesy: Vail Resorts

Make your own path at Kirkwood. Courtesy: Vail Resorts

In addition to a number of amazing runs Kirkwood encourages riders to discover rare earth on their own as they regularly suggest the “best spots may not always be marked on the map.” However, if you are apprehensive charting your own course, Kirkwood offers a fun and safe way to explore the great unknown with Expedition: Kirkwood courses. A sampling of E:K courses include avalanche certification, cat tours and private guides. With the latter, riders are privy to the best runs and tips from individuals that ride Kirkwood over 100 days each year. Better yet – with private guides, you’re able to ride Kirkwood on any day and you won’t have to wait in a lift line. We’d say that’s a win. Call 209-258-7360 to reserve your E:K tour.

If you’re just starting out and consider yourself more of a newbie, the Kirkwood Ski & Ride School will have you making turns in no time. In fact, Timber Creek is considered some of the best terrain to learn on in the Sierras. Compassionate and patient instructors will raise your confidence and inspire you to find you to make your own path.

Kirkwood also offers hiking, mountain biking and disc golf in the summer. Visit Kirkwood.com for more information.

Your Three-Day Weekend in Tahoe South

Imagine having a whole extra day to explore the South Shore of Lake Tahoe… It’s possible this weekend as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day arrives on Monday, Jan. 18. We are firm believers that nothing’s better than a three-day weekend – except when it’s a three-day weekend in Tahoe South.

What should you do with your extra time? We have a few ideas for you.

Go snowshoeing

While you could hit the slopes for another day, consider trying out a different snow sport like snowshoeing. This family-friendly activity is for truly fun for all ages and only requires a pair of snowshoes to begin. Several trails in Tahoe South are easily accessible and offer breathtaking views, but we suggest checking out Camp Richardson’s trail at their on-site Mountain Sports Center. Located on the shores of the lake, Camp Richardson has some of the best snowshoeing in the area, and if you’re there on Saturday, Jan. 16, you can watch individuals participate in the Snowshoe Cocktail Race at Camp Richardson’s Beacon Bar and Grill. You could even participate if you feel so inclined – just make sure you have a steady hand!

Get it on the fun at the Snowshoe Cocktail Races this weekend. Credit: Jonah Kessel

Get it on the fun at the Snowshoe Cocktail Races this weekend. Credit: Jonah Kessel

The Ridge Tahoe also offers the Valley View Snowshoe adventure that offers amazing panoramas of the Carson Valley. This moderate hike covers approximately 2.5 miles and gains nearly 500 feet in elevation. Check the Ridge Guide for the most up-to-date information and times.

Get to shopping

The holiday weekend brings sales, which creates the perfect situation to if you’re itching to find that perfect souvenir, Tahoe South has a number of places to not only purchase name brands like Patagonia and North Face, but also discover unique gifts from local talent. The Shops at Heavenly Village houses the aforementioned brands, as well as a Quiksilver, several ski shops and boutiques. Sprinkled throughout the South Shore are locally owned stores that offer a variety of handmade products that are uniquely Tahoe. Wildwood DIY Boutique and Gaia-Licious are two local favorites that stock local goods ranging from soap and homewares to jewelry and clothing. You can do some serious damage to your credit cards. You’ll find the perfect gift for a friend or family member (or several gifts for yourself).

Work out the kinks of a successful weekend at The Ridge Tahoe's Elevation Spa.

Work out the kinks of a successful weekend at The Ridge Tahoe’s Elevation Spa.

Relax at the Ridge

Nothing says rest and relaxation like a couples’ massage. Send the kids to one of several indoor areas, including the indoor pool, the ping pong and billiards room and video arcade, then enjoy up to 90 minutes of absolute indulgence. Elevation Spa at The Ridge Tahoe offers $10 off any 90-minute treatments on Sundays and $10 off one-hour or longer treatment on Mondays. You don’t even have to leave your room if you so desire – Elevation Spa will come to you for an in-room treatment.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Winter’s heating up in Tahoe South

Brr, do you feel that chill? Temperatures continue to dip and Tahoe is blanketed in snow with more forecasted for this weekend. Despite the chilly temps, Tahoe South’s starting to heat up this weekend with a plethora of great entertainment options in the month of January!

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A wintry look at the Ridge Tahoe. Source: Prism Cam

Undoubtedly one of the greatest entertainment options afforded to us is the mountain; but when you’re not enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty (and oh, what a bounty it is!), visitors and locals alike can enjoy a range of entertainment options that include magic, music and food. And even better – you can combine the mountain and entertainment! Sierra-at-Tahoe will host events this weekend that include the USASA Slopestyle – South Lake Tahoe Series, Jan. 10, and autograph signing by Sochi Olympic Halfpipe Gold Medalist Maddie Bowman. Bowman will visit her home mountain on Jan. 9 to greet fans, give away killer prizes and show off the gold.

Feel the magic in the air quite literally at Magic Fusion, the interactive and family-friendly magic show based at the South Shore’s only live performance theatre, The Loft. In addition to offering a full array of exquisite homemade Italian cuisine from award-winning Chef Lisa Devincenzi-Miller, The Loft features the captivating Tony Clark (named Magician of the Year) in Magic Fusion,  as well as magicians that will visit you at your table to perform tricks that you won’t be able to believe. The Loft hosts Magic Fusion seven days a week.

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Magic Fusion at The Loft features world-renowned magician Tony Clark. Source: The Loft

January’s shaping up to be quite magical, but it’ll also be musical month (and not just because our ears are still ringing from SnowGlobe). Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa will play host to a number of nationally renowned bands and musicians:

Jan. 16: Tainted Love at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe; Morris Day & The Time at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa

Jan. 27: The Devil Makes Three at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa

Jan. 28: Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Jan. 30: G. Love & Special Sauce at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe; Kenny Wayne Shepherd at MontBleu Casino & Spa

Other entertainment options include Pints & Paddles on Jan. 13, which features live music from Ike & Martin aboard the M.S. Dixie II; the third annual Restaurant Week, Jan. 8-15, which boasts a full week of curated menus and delectable deals; and the Snowshoe Cocktail Races at the Beacon Bar & Grill at Camp Richardson Resort.

The Ridge Tahoe also offers a number of entertainment options if you prefer your entertainment close to your basecamp during your visit. Stay toasty with a number of complimentary activities like wine tasting every Thursday at the Bear Trap Lounge, glass painting classes and a movie theatre with daily showings, as well as cooking demonstrations, scarf making classes and even dance off challenges!

Find Your Fresh Lines at Sierra-at-Tahoe

Tahoe is covered in white after several heavy storms over the past few weeks delivered the goods as low as 3,000 feet. As you can imagine, the local mountain resorts are in heaven – and soon you will be, too.

With more fresh snow than the Basin has seen in years, you have ample opportunities to find fresh lines. And one of the best places to find them is at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Hit the trees when you visit Sierra-at-Tahoe. Photo Credit: Brian Walker

Hit the trees when you visit Sierra-at-Tahoe.
Photo Credit: Brian Walker

Nestled 12 miles away from South Lake Tahoe in Twin Bridges, Ca., Sierra-at-Tahoe offers an oasis for winter enthusiasts. Sierra offers 2,000 acres of terrain for all levels: 25% of terrain is suitable for beginners, 50% for intermediate riders and 25% for advanced riders.

Mother Nature delivered over 149” inches of snow to Sierra and with it comes the opening of several trails with more terrain anticipated to open shortly. Getting in a solid day of runs is easy at Sierra, as the resort is perfectly sized and situated for riders to access a variety of trails. You can even cap off a day on the mountain with tubing, snowshoeing or a well-deserved beer from the Golden Bear Terrace in the Main Lodge. (We won’t judge you if you choose the beer.)

Sierra also offers resort visitors the opportunity to get higher than ever at the Grandview Lodge. Situated at 8,852 elevation, the Lodge includes the 360° Smokehouse BBQ, which house Sierra’s famed BBQ. You can’t go wrong with any of their dishes (or the views!), but one of the fan favorites is the smoked brisket with a side of jalapeno maple cornbread and kale slaw. You’ll walk away with enough energy to take on Black Diamond runs like Castle and Jackrabbit.

Sierra offers something for everyone, whether it be long runs, terrain parks or backcountry. Photo: Matt Bombino Photography.

Sierra offers something for everyone, whether it be long runs, terrain parks or backcountry.
Photo: Matt Bombino Photography

Locals love Sierra for many of the reasons mentioned above, but also because the resort can help individuals build their confidence as riders with a number of mogul filled runs and boulder drops.

If you think you have what it takes to compete against other amateur snowboarders and skiers, you’ll have a chance to prove yourself! Sierra will host the USASA Slopestyle South Shore Series on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10. First time event participants can trial the competition atmosphere for only $35. The resort hosts a number of other events through the year like wine tasting and live music.

You might even run into one of three Olympians that call Sierra-at-Tahoe “home.” Jamie Anderson, Hannah Teter and Maddie Bowman are known to frequent the mountain. If one Olympian, let alone three, love Sierra, you will, too!

The Ridge Tahoe: Kn-Kn-Knockin’ on Heavenly’s Doors

There is no mountain in Tahoe more aptly named than Heavenly. Nestled in the bustling center of South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort offers world-class views of Lake Tahoe’s shockingly blue waters and glimpses of the Carson Valley all while cutting through glorious, glorious snow.

The abundance of snow in the late part of 2015 has set up Heavenly to have a stellar season of fresh powder and incredible trails for snow bunnies of all levels. No matter if you’re starting out on the beginners’ hill or pushing yourself in expert areas like Mott Canyon, you’re going to come down the mountain completely blissed out.

Ski to you heart's content at Heavenly.

Ski to you heart’s content at Heavenly.

But before you can start carving up one of Heavenly’s 97 available trails, you’ll need to gain some altitude via chairlifts at California Base or the gondola located in the Heavenly Village. Fortunately, you don’t have to fight the lines or worry about traffic when you stay at the Ridge Tahoe Resort. It’s almost too easy with the Hilltrac Skier Express, which provides resort guests with ski in/ski out access to Heavenly’s Stagecoach chairlift conveniently located near the resort on Kingsbury Grade. With immediate access you can hit the slopes quicker than ever, which is critical when it’s a powder day.

Hilltrac Skier Express

Next stop: Powder Town.

There’s no need to head down the grade to grab gear, either. The Resort Sports Ski Shop can serve all of your ski rentals needs. Simply head over to the Resort Center Building to pick up any equipment you need before hopping on the Hilltrac Skier Express to Stagecoach.  The shop also provides stone grind tune-ups, hot iron waxing, accessory rentals and demo ski and board rentals.

Once you’ve gotten a few runs in, try your hand – or rather, your feet – at one of Heavenly’s two terrain parks, Progression Park and Groove Park.  The park offers a number of features, including boxes, rollers and wedges, to test your abilities or admire the skill it takes to jump and cruise down rails.

As if the white stuff wasn’t enough, Heavenly also offers a number of entertainment options, including the Unbuckle Apres Party at Tamarack Lodge. This is a great way for adults to unwind after a long day of turns with food and drink specials, DJs and lots of dancing. If you’re too wiped out from a successful day at Heavenly we won’t blame you if you retire to one of the Ridge’s Jacuzzis for some rest and relaxation before you hit the mountain again tomorrow.

More snow means more fun at the Ridge Tahoe Resort.  Join us this winter.

Welcome the New Year at the Ridge Tahoe

The scene’s set for a wondrous welcome to 2016 with a slew of activities in Tahoe South, including a gourmet dinner and musical entertainment at The Ridge Tahoe.

The champagne will be flowing this New Year's Eve.

The champagne will be flowing this New Year’s Eve.

Via: TheVeenoCompany.com

Join us for the festivities on Dec. 31 to bid a fond farewell to 2015. Starting at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, The Hungry Bear Restaurant will host a three-course meal accompanied by live music. Come hungry to enjoy a mouthwatering three-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Stephen Moise. Chef Stephen’s unique pairings and marvelous flavors will surely leave you in high spirits for the night ahead of you.

An organic baby green salad topped with poached pears, candied pecans, brie cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette acts as a precursor to a fantastic duet of herb crusted filet of beef and butter poached Maine lobster tail. Chef Stephen concludes this symphony of flavors with a chocolate pavlova and champagne pastry cream.

After dinner, raise your complimentary glass of champagne as we celebrate the East Coast Ball Drop Celebration at 9 p.m.

Dinner is $70 per person. A children’s menu is available. Contact the Concierge at (775) 588-3553, extension 3105 for reservations and more information.

The night doesn’t have to end there: keep the party going at one of several celebrations, including an exclusive VIP celebration at The Loft that includes drinks, party favors and music from San Diego-based DJ Abe Lemus until 2 a.m. Experience the latest in electronica with the Sierra as your backdrop during the finale of SnowGlobe at Lake Tahoe Community College. Among SnowGlobe’s headliners are favorites Jack Ü, Kaskade, Chet Faker and Dillon Francis. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, head to the casinos for parties at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, Peek Nightclub and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Regardless of how you end the night, start yours at The Ridge Tahoe and The Hungry Bear Restaurant.