Owner Bill Wright is back with his top reasons why you should visit Lake Tahoe and stay at the Ridge Tahoe. For Bill’s previous article, click here.
Bill Wright has been an owner at the Ridge Tahoe for 32 years. And while he could give us more than 32 reasons why he continues to come back year after year, he distilled down his favorite reasons why Tahoe is his second home.
Sunrise at Eagle Falls. Photo credit: Brad Scott
1: The natural geological beauty of Lake Tahoe combined with the Ridge Tahoe Resort’s one of a kind Sierra Nevada scenic mountain ridge setting. Overlooking Carson Valley on the east and Lake Tahoe on the west, the resort offers year-round panoramic views and luxurious accommodations. Lake Tahoe’s deep blue waters, majestic pines, and giant granite boulders make up a landscape apart from anywhere else in the world.
2: The wonderful ski resorts. With seven wonderful ski resorts to choose from, there is no shortage of fresh powder and new views. The two largest and best known, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Squaw Valley, are easily accessible from the Ridge.
These views, only minutes from your accommodations. Photo credit: Brad Scott
3: Easy and fast access from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport to the Ridge and ski resorts. It’s almost four hours from the Boulder, Colorado airport to Aspen and three hours from the Albuquerque airport to the Taos ski resort. Even during snow storms – which normally come in from California in the west – Wright found access to the Ridge Tahoe easy and a joy to drive compared to other ski resort.
“Locals call us ‘Lucky Charms’ because we’ve never needed snow chains on all our trips up the mountain to Lake Tahoe,” Wright said. “I don’t even know how to put chains on tires.”
The access is especially beneficial for individuals who only want to ski Heavenly and want to avoid driving in snowy conditions. Individuals can also forego the cost of a rental car with the South Tahoe Airporter, which transports individuals from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport to Lake Tahoe. This combined with the Ridge Tahoe transportation to and from the South Lake Tahoe casinos provides guests with exceptional car-free experiences.
Mount Tallac reflects in Taylor Creek at Kiva Beach in the summer. Photo credit: Rachid Dahnoun
4: Lake Tahoe is a year-round vacation destination. Summer water sports, hiking and biking, and winter skiing. Toss in year-round entertainment and you have a non-stop entertainment destination that is ideal for a second home or timeshare at the Ridge Tahoe.
“Even in our youth, we knew the time would come when we wouldn’t be as dedicated winter skiers as we were [at the time],” Wright said. “We wanted to select a location that we could enjoy year-round without skiing.”
5: Lake Tahoe’s bluebird days. On average, there are 249 sunny days per year in South Lake Tahoe, California. The July high is around 80 degrees. The January low is 19. Having learned to ski in frigid night conditions in the Midwest, as well as skiing in freezing Quebec Mont Saint Anne, Canada, Wright and his family fell in love with Lake Tahoe’s mild spring skiing sunshine temperatures.
If this list has convinced you, book your reservation at the Ridge Tahoe to experiences these perks and more.
Skiing to Stagecoach lift at Heavenly Mountain one day in 1983, Bill Wright saw construction on the ridge above. Curious, he decided to check out what was happening above the slopes and what he discovered was the building of the Ridge Resort, of which he became a multi-unit owner within a year. Now a bluebird day skier, Wright has spent the past 32 years visiting the Ridge Tahoe as an owner with his family and enjoying the various amenities available on-site, including the clubhouse and exercise facility.
Bill Wright poses with The Ridge Tahoe sign, 1987
Wright was first drawn to Lake Tahoe when he was exploring the country’s various ski resorts as part of the Columbus Ohio Ski Club. Along with Diane, his wife, they traveled to Taos, New Mexico, Aspen, Colorado, and eventually made their way to the Tahoe region where they discovered the Ridge Tahoe.
“I was an avid skier for 25 years, but I knew the day would come when the daily sunshine report would be of more interest to me than the snow report,” said Wright. His ownership at the Ridge was a natural choice due to his love for spring visits to Tahoe with its incredible skiing conditions and the opportunity to explore the mountain with clear views of the lake.
Diane Wright takes in the sights at The Ridge Tower
The resort, which the Wrights consider to be a second home and also share with their children, Austin and Alyssa, drew them in with its location, conveniences and breathtaking views beyond the skiing conditions outside their front door. Over the decades, the Wright family has spent time at their units with other families and most recently celebrated their daughter’s graduation from college by purchasing bonus time for a family trip touring the Lake Tahoe area.
When they were younger, Bill and Diane enjoyed the exercise facility and racquetball courts, as well as steamy saunas after a day of chilly skiing. However, thirty years later, Wright claims the Clubhouse is truly his favorite place at the Ridge.
“Mostly we just enjoy a cozy place to sit and talk,” said Wright.
Diane and Alyssa Wright enjoy the warmth of a Ridge fire
As an owner for the past 32 years, Wright has seen the Ridge go through some major changes, including the new Bistro for casual dining and the addition of another fireplace sitting area with computer workstations.
“Tahoe now has some wonderful and much more expensive resorts, but none of them can duplicate the feeling of this mountain top location,” said Wright. “We like that the resort maintains a cozy traditional Tahoe decorative décor style in every remodeling project. “
Wright has also gathered a few tips over the years that are applicable to those looking to make the most of their time at the Ridge Tahoe. He recommends visitors and owners alike research Tahoe and the Ridge Tahoe before visiting to find the best activities and sights for them.
Bill Wright discovers the perfect selfie spot at The Ridge Tahoe
“You don’t want to waste time once you get to the Ridge Tahoe learning and debating about where, when and what you should do,” said Wright. He recommends throwing out the calendar in lieu of a flexible schedule that allows guests to experience their vast interests by checking the Ridge Tahoe website, the Tahoe South website and even venturing to Tahoe North if so inclined.
Wright had one final recommendation for all visitors to the area: “Take the time to take some great family photos. Twenty years later you’re never going to say, ‘I wish I’d taken fewer family photos in Tahoe.’”
For most of the country, spring is signaled by budding flowers and warmer temperatures, but for Lake Tahoe, it is heralded by some of the year’s best skiing. With over 500+ inches of snow this season alone, springtime is one of the best times to book your next trip to The Ridge Tahoe, then hit the slopes!
Get pumped for amazing spring skiing! Credit: Ski Lake Tahoe / Lauren Lindley
This winter has been marked by several atmospheric rivers delivering more snow than in the region’s recent history and the ski resorts are truly swimming in powder. Due to the amount of snow that’s fallen in the 2016/2017 season, many resorts are opting to stay open until mid-April and later, which gives you more time to visit the area and experience the historic conditions. South and North Shore ski resorts are prepared to welcome skiers and snowboarders with all lifts fully operational and plenty of terrains open and accessible to explore. In addition to endless terrain options, the weather will also warm up a bit in the spring. Bask in the sun and enjoy bluebird days that don’t leave you freezing after a few runs.
Views for days at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Credit: Ski Lake Tahoe / Kyle McCoy
As well as warmer days and great conditions, spring also does not include any holidays, except for St. Patrick’s Day. No major holidays mean fewer crowds to contend with for all the best lines. All your other favorite winter activities and sports are available during springtime, including ice skating at Heavenly Village, snowmobiling at Zephyr Cove Resort and snowshoeing on the various trails.
This way to spring skiing heaven! Courtesy: Heavenly Mountain Resort
Check out the following ski resorts for a calendar of events and current lift statuses:
Diamond Peak: 775-832-1177
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: 775-849-0704
Northstar California: 530-562-2267
Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows: 800-403-0206
Homewood Mountain Resort: 530-584-6800
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort: 530-426-9000
Boreal Mountain Resort: 530-426-3666
Tahoe Donner: 530-587-9400
What are you waiting for? It’s time to visit Tahoe and experience the snow the whole country’s been talking about!
Visitors may notice that everything moves slower in Lake Tahoe. Locals refer to this slowdown as “Tahoe time” and though it offers an opportunity for some quality R&R, sometimes a visit is all about the fresh powder. Read on to find out how The Ridge Tahoe can help guests make the most out of their ski trip to the Sierra Nevada.
The sights from Heavenly Mountain Resort are “ski-tacular.” Photo credit: Matt Gibson
Choosing accommodations is the first step to success in Tahoe and being centrally located is key. The Ridge Tahoe is located at the top of Kingsbury, which is only a short drive to casinos, Heavenly Mountain Resort and the Tahoe Rim Trail, which is a very popular trail that loops around the entirety of the lake. In minutes visitors are carving lines in the mountain, taking in the sights and experiencing all the area offers.
The Ridge Tahoe also offers transportation to and from the resort to the local casinos. Public transportation is also easily accessible from the resort if guests want to explore different winter activities.
Grab and Go
It’s essential to have the necessary sustenance to explore the numerous trails in Tahoe South, but sometimes a sit-down breakfast is not on the itinerary. Fortunately, there are quick and nutritious options for those that take pride in first chair. The Market Place offers guests of The Ridge Tahoe a complimentary cup of coffee and a daily newspaper, plus several portable food options. The Market Place is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, meaning individuals can grab and go before they’re at the lifts.
Nothing is worse than forgetting an essential clothing item or gear. In addition to snacks and other essentials, the Ridge Market Place offers winter clothing, including men’s and women’s jackets, and sunglasses. If a visitor left a snowboard or skis at home, the Resort Sports Ski & Snowboard Shop has everything a snow bunny could possibly want, like new equipment for every skill level, accessories, rentals and even discounted lift tickets to area resorts. The shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Ridge Resort Center.
Hop on board the on-site Hilltrac Skier Express for a quick ride to the mountain.
Take the Express Train
For an even quicker route to the mountaintop, the Hilltrac Skier Express is available for guests of the resort who’d like ski in/ski out access to Heavenly’s Stagecoach chairlift. This self-operated eight passenger gondola type transport whisks skiers and snowboarders from the resort to Stagecoach in less than three minutes.
Of course a Tahoe ski trip is incomplete without après options! With new extended hours, The Bear Trap Lounge is open 3 to 9 p.m. daily with happy hour specials until 6 p.m. Stop in on Tuesdays for “Après Ski” specials and on Wednesdays for “Margarita Madness.”
Find more information for a visit to The Ridge Tahoe in The Ridge Guide.
With Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows open to the masses, winter is official under way in Lake Tahoe. But what if a visitor doesn’t ski or snowboard? With countless must-dos and sees, guests will certainly be looking beyond their skis for winter fun.
Fancy Fannette Island in the Winter: Emerald Bay is one of the most visited sites in the world – and the visitors don’t stop coming just because it’s winter. Covered in a blanket of white, the pristine blue lake and Emerald Bay’s accompanying Fannette Island are a sight to behold in the colder months. However, before venturing out to Emerald Bay, please check current road conditions as the highway closes during storms.
It may be possible that Emerald Bay is even more striking in the winter. Photo credit: Brad Scott
Cruise Big Blue: The M.S. Dixie II rides the waves throughout the year and offers an alternative way to spend a winter’s day or evening in Tahoe South. The M.S. Dixie II departs daily on a sightseeing cruise and on Saturday evenings for a dinner cruise. Cruise guests will visit the iconic Emerald Bay during the day trips, which allows visitors to strike off two must-sees in one trip.
Dashing Through the Snow: Since 1967 Borges Sleigh Rides has delighted visitors of Tahoe South with sleighs that go “over the meadow and through the woods” with incredible snowy views of the lake. The ride even takes guests on the original Pony Express. Available for parties of two to 20, Borges will entice a feeling of holiday magic and child-like whimsy.
Trace portions of the original Pony Express aboard the horse drawn carriage. Photo credit: Jamie Kingham
Check Off Your Holiday List: The Shops at Heavenly Village offer something for everyone with retailers like Patagonia, Earthbound Trading Company, Up Shirt Creek, Village Toys, What a Girl Wants and many others. Visitors will easily finish shopping for their holiday list in this one-stop shopping and entertainment center. Other retailers for unique and personal gifts include GaiaLicious Boutique and Wildwood Makers Market on Harrison Avenue in South Lake Tahoe.
See the World Differently on Snowshoes: For those that prefer the flatland when it comes to winter sports, snowshoeing is a delightful option for individuals of all skill abilities. Camp Richardson is one option for snowshoe exploring along the lake’s Southwest shores and forests. Guests of the Ridge can also take advantage of the terrain around the Ridge to find quiet trails of untouched snow on the Valley View Hike (weather permitting).
Gain a different perspective on snowshoes. Courtesy: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
Ridge Activities for All: A winter retreat can easily be spent at the Ridge Tahoe with activities to fill each day. The Activity Guide is updated weekly with new programs and adventures that all Ridge guests can take advantage of while visiting. Wallyball, pilates, dermatology seminars, movies in the Ridge Tahoe Theater and many other activities are offered on-site and complimentary for guests.
How will you explore Tahoe this season?
Planning a Tahoe South ski trip but having a hard time deciding which mountain to explore? Why choose only one? Luckily visitors don’t have to limit themselves because Ridge guests are minutes away from a winter playground. We’re showcasing the best of skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe, so visitors can experience at least two during a long weekend stay.
Make your turns at Heavenly Mountain starting Nov. 23. Photo credit: Matt Gibson
Heavenly Mountain Resort: Just a quick shuttle trip from the Ridge
brings guests to the base of Heavenly Mountain Resort, the premier mountain spanning Nevada and California. With 97 runs, there is something available for every skill level and age group. Stagecoach is accessible from the Ridge Tahoe from the Hilltrac Skier Express. Opening day is Nov. 23.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Kirkwood Mountain Resort hosts 2,300 acres of terrain ranging from mild beginner runs to expert high angle grooming. This resort also offers renown cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails.
Sierra at Tahoe: The third-largest resort in Tahoe South, Sierra at Tahoe offers terrain for varying difficulties and suited for multiple generations of skiers and boarders. Located 12 miles south of South Lake Tahoe, this resort is known for being extremely beginner friendly with milder runs and conditions. This mountain features daily and seasonal passes, as well as group rates for parties of 20 or more. Sierra also provides 3-PAKs for consecutive ski days, with no holiday or weekend blackout dates. The 2016 season will begin when conditions allow.
The powder starts flying on Nov. 18 at Mt. Rose Ski Resort. Courtesy: Mt. Rose
Mount Rose Ski Tahoe: Located in North Tahoe, Mount Rose Ski Tahoe is the only resort with 360 degree views of Truckee Meadows and Lake Tahoe. With runs for all skill levels, this mountain leans more towards the intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. In addition to daily, beginner and seasonal passes, Mount Roses has special deals including Two’fer Tuesdays, Ladies Day Thursdays, Military Tickets and Ski the Day You Fly. Opening day is Nov. 18.
Northstar California: This resort is not only a great pick for downhill skiing, but is a favorite for cross country skiers as well. Located closer to Truckee, Northstar California features unique courses and premier terrain parks.
Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort and Northstar California are part of the Vail family, with pass packages allowing visitors to mountain hop with ease. When ski bunnies stay at the Ridge they can easily rent gear or get a quick tune up at the Resort Sports Ski & Snowboard Shop to start making their turns.