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.
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!
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.
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.
The view of Mt. Rose from Reno. Courtesy: Mt. Rose
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.
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 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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
One of the best things about staying at The Ridge Tahoe during your Tahoe South vacation is you don’t have to leave the resort. We certainly understand wanting to explore the area and won’t be offended if you decide to take an adventure.
Gear up at our ski shop and hit the slopes at one of the nearby mountains.
The Ridge Tahoe offers many great onsite activities for you to enjoy during your stay. One of our best attractions at the resort has to offer is the Skier Express – this Gondola-esque lift will take you right to the Stagecoach lift at Heavenly Mountain. Gear up for a day on the hill with our ski shop with ski and snowboard rentals and repairs, and complimentary lockers.
If you’re looking for a different type of winter adventure, our ski shop can provide you with snowshoe rentals and guided snowshoe tours.
There is no shortage of indoor fun to keep you entertained during your visit. There are weekly skin care classes, glass painting classes, wine tasting classes and weekly cooking demonstrations with the Executive Chef, Stephen Moise. There are nightly happy hour specials at the Bear Trap Bar to start your evening off right.
Get your sweat on in our fully equipped health club, at one of our two racquetball courts, in the indoor or outdoor swimming pool, or at the indoor sports complex with tennis and basketball courts. Or sit and relax in one of our indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis.
Cuddle up with your friends and family in our movie theater with daily showings. If you’re looking for games we have a video arcade, ping pong tables and billiards.
If you want to explore the town or the mountains and leave the little ones behind our Kids Club will keep them happy and entertained while you’re away. Our complimentary shuttle will take you to the Stateline casino area. There are also daily organized activities onsite or nearby that are fun for the whole family.