Blue skies and warm days are here with more on the way as we hurtle through spring and into the summer season. For those itching to explore the great outdoors now that the snow has (mostly) melted and the trails are clearing up, there are numerous options available in the Tahoe South area from hiking to kayaking and more. For those that are looking for entertainment, well, there’s no shortage of that either!
Clear skies await you in Tahoe this spring. Photo credit: Kristen Rust
April wraps up with some favorites including the Genoa Cowboy Festival April 27-29. Just over Kingsbury Grade in Genoa, this festival celebrates all things cowboy and cowgirl with special events scheduled throughout the weekend. Back up the hill, musicians Dweezil Zappa plays Harrah’s on April 28 and Rebel Soul takes the stage at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 29.
Beginning in May, Pints & Paddles Cruise with Ike & Martin takes off aboard the M.S. Dixie II on May 3. Combining a scenic cruise on the lake with live music from local favorites, this is great after hours event that will leave you humming some familiar tunes. Similarly, the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular Show May 6 brings classic rock to Harrah’s with cult favorites synced to incredible lighting effects.
The Amgen Tour of California: racing near you soon! Photo credit: Boyd Dangtongdee
Also on May 6, the WFC 71 – World Fighting Championships take place at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. While these fighters certainly have the strength, the men and women of the Amgen Tour of California would certainly beat them in endurance and speed contests when they descend upon the Lake Tahoe area May 11-12. We recommend spectators stake out a spot on Highway 50 for a glimpse of these world-class athletes.
Returning to MontBleu, Nick Swardson will get the masses laughing when he performs May 13. Todrick Hall will keep the yuks coming when he performs on May 15. MontBleu also welcomes the Eli Young Band on May 25 while Harrah’s hosts Robin Trower of Procol Harum and Robin Trower Band fame on May 27.
The hits keep coming with The Yardbirds at Harrah’s on June 3. These classic English crooners will play fan favorites like “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.” (Did you know that this band kicked off the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page?!)
Retrace the steps of the Old West during the Annual Highway 50 Wagon Train. Photo credit: Brian Williams/Media West
The Annual Highway 50 Wagon Train rolls into the South Shore during the only bi-state historic event that retraces the route taken during the Gold Rush. Traveling at only three miles per hour, this week-long event includes campfires and family-friendly storytelling. During the same week, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride will speed through the area on June 4, as will the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay on June 10. Get a taste of olden times the Valhalla Renaissance Faire is slated for June 10-11 or try out libations from 10 local breweries at Lake Tahoe Brewfest at Cold Water Brewery & Grill June 10.
Whatever you decide to do during your spring visit, set up home base at the Ridge Tahoe.
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.
Lake Tahoe isn’t all casinos and late nights – there are many activities available for families and underage guests to experience the best active, outdoors and social opportunities in the area. Find some of our top recommendations below.
You don’t have to be over 21 to enjoy all that Tahoe has to offer. Credit: Tahoe South
Tennis, racquetball, and badminton: Take a whack on one of the many courts available on-site at the Ridge Tahoe. These activities will surely drive a few friendly competitions among family members and friends.
Mini golf at Heavenly Village: Bask in the sun as you work your way through the 18 hole mini golf course in the center of the Heavenly Village, which is only a short ride away from the Ridge Tahoe. The mini golf course turns into an ice rink during the winter months.
Workout: Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t work out. The Ridge Tahoe includes a full fitness facility that is available to individuals 13 years and older. After working out, head to one of our many hot tubs to soothe your sore muscles.
Reach new heights with a snowshoe or hike. Courtesy: Tahoe South
Hiking and snowshoeing: Available directly from the Ridge Tahoe, hiking and snowshoeing is an immensely popular activity in Tahoe. With so many trails available, it’s hard not to strap on your snowshoes or hiking boots to explore the Sierra Nevada.
Kayak and paddleboard: When visiting Lake Tahoe, you must get on the lake at some point! Whether it’s on a cruise or on a kayak or paddleboard, it’s always a good idea to go out on the water. There are plenty of rentals available around the shores, including nearby Zephyr Cove Marina and Round Hill Pines.
Heavenly Epic Discovery: Winter isn’t the only time Heavenly Mountain is a source of endless fun – summer also provides adventure and beautiful sights with Epic Discovery. Activities include a scenic gondola ride to the top of the mountain, the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster, tubing, multiple ropes courses, and a climbing wall.
Take the ride of your life at Heavenly Epic Discovery. Credit: Rachid Dahnoun / Heavenly Mountain Resort
Family Fun Arcade: Located at the Ridge Tahoe, the Family Fun Arcade allows you to let loose and play classic games. Challenge friends to a friendly game before heading to the billiards room also located in the arcade.
Wallyball Mixer: Try your hand at Wallyball, a fast-paced sport that includes playing volleyball in a racquetball court. These mixers are sure to work up a sweat and provide amble opportunities to make new friends.
Trapped in Tahoe: Trapped in Tahoe is an exhilarating test of your teamwork skills and ability to stay calm and collected in the face of danger. Work with friends and family to solve a puzzle that will lead you through a dangerous path to safety from zombies, vampires, killer clowns or a dangerous mine.
You won’t be underwhelmed with the abundance of under-21 activities available at the Ridge Tahoe and in Tahoe South. Which activities are on your must-do list?
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!
Large, all-encompassing, and beautiful – it’s what visitors usually think when they look at Lake Tahoe. But there are hidden depths – both literally and figuratively – to the Lake of the Sky with centuries of history that stretch back to the 1860s and beyond. While the great outdoors and numerous ski resorts are two of the most popular destinations in Tahoe for the adventurous and outdoorsman, the rich past of the Sierra Nevada will draw in the history buff and nostalgic visitor among them.
Below are just a few of the historic sites you can visit while staying at The Ridge Tahoe.
The Flames of Olympic Glory
Where to find it: Squaw Valley
Technically outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Squaw Valley is what spurred the area’s massive growth and expansion. The cause? The 1960 Winter Olympics took place in Squaw Valley, requiring speedy land development to accommodate the athletes, organizers and crowds from around the world. The 1960 Olympics were not only the first and only Olympics to be held in the area, but they were also the first to be nationally televised, as well as the first to house participating athletes in an Olympic Village.
Go for glory at the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Courtesy: Squaw Valley
While turning into Squaw Valley, be sure to look to the statues and the Olympic torch that remains lit. Peruse the artifacts of Olympic glory at the Olympic Museum in the Village.
The Great Gatsby-esque Extravagance
Where to find it: Tallac Historic Site
On the South Shore of Lake Tahoe resides magnificent estates collectively known as the Tallac Historic Site. The Tallac Historic Site includes Baldwin Estate, the Pope Estate and Valhalla and, among other things, was once home to Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin’s “Greatest Casino in America” (the foundation of the casino remains on site). On the beaches of the lake, the Pope Estate was the most luxurious and the oldest in South Lake Tahoe while the Valhalla Estate was home to many gatherings and social functions in the early half of the 20th century.
Imagine a leisurely afternoon spent on this lawn. Courtesy: Valhalla / Tahoe South
The Tallac Historic Site is open to for public tours in the summer months. Every August the site hosts The Great Gatsby Festival that harkens back to the days of the 1920s with classic cars, vintage children’s games, period shopping and the Gatsby Tea and Fashion Show complete with bootleg champagne.
Scandinavian Architecture, Classic Tahoe
Where to find it: Vikingsholm Castle
As any visitor of Emerald Bay can attest, the Vikingsholm Castle on the shores of the bay is a sight to behold from afar and even more breathtaking up close. Situated in the forest and the only estate for miles, Vikingsholm was constructed as a Scandinavian architectural masterpiece in the 1860s and was the summer home of Lora Josephine Knight from 1928 until her death in 1945. Knight built the famous tea house that resides on Fannette Island, the only island in the lake and accessible via boat, kayak and paddle board, where she hosted afternoon tea for friends.
Get a taste of life in the bay with a visit to Vikingsholm. Photo credit: Curtis Simmons
Experience the exquisite furnishings and details up close with tours of Vikingsholm during the summer.
For a full history of the Lake Tahoe area, we recommend visiting any of the Lake Tahoe museums.