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Best Mountain in Tahoe?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Planning to visit the Tahoe region this year sometime and am having some trouble deciding which mountain is best for me. I like a resort thats got some real expert terrain, but also some good grooming and views etc. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 25

I am in the same boat and will be attending the gathering n February. The plan is to ski numerous different resorts and the company is always first class at these events.

post #3 of 25

Check the gathering thread. And the resort pages.

 

The answer to your question is either:

 

Squaw / Alpine / Kirkwood

 

or

 

Northstar / Homewood / Sierra at Tahoe

 

 

With your screen name, I'm not really sure how you could make any choice other than Squallywood.

post #4 of 25

If you're coming to Tahoe, all of the resorts are pretty close together and there's no reason to limit yourself to just one.  And actually Sinecure left out one of the best overall combos of what you're looking for: Heavenly.

 

- Easily the best views in Tahoe.  Even Squalpiners admit this much.

- Plenty of groomers, including beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Tree skiing too for various levels.

- Expert terrain: The Face & Gunbarrel if you dig bumps.  Mott & Killebrew Canyons if you want chutes, steeps and cliffs.  Plus, a lot of people don't realize that Heavenly offers back / side country access gates (Firebreak, Palisades, etc.).

 

When people say Heavenly sucks, chances are they don't know where to go, and I remind them that it was good enough for Glen Plake.  smile.gif

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

If you're coming to Tahoe, all of the resorts are pretty close together and there's no reason to limit yourself to just one.  And actually Sinecure left out one of the best overall combos of what you're looking for: Heavenly.

 

- Easily the best views in Tahoe.  Even Squalpiners admit this much.

- Plenty of groomers, including beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Tree skiing too for various levels.

- Expert terrain: The Face & Gunbarrel if you dig bumps.  Mott & Killebrew Canyons if you want chutes, steeps and cliffs.  Plus, a lot of people don't realize that Heavenly offers back / side country access gates (Firebreak, Palisades, etc.).

 

When people say Heavenly sucks, chances are they don't know where to go, and I remind them that it was good enough for Glen Plake.  smile.gif



I won't lie, i was swayed by the amount of people saying Heavenly sucked. From your decription though, it sounds like exactly what im looking for!

 

post #6 of 25

I have had some great days at Heavenly in Mott/Killabrew after some big dumps and agree with JayT with one minor caveat. 

 

Heavenly has some great lake view on the CA side.  Best are probably from a blue run along the skiers left of the resort.  Homewood also has a nice lake view.  The difference is that Heavenly is about a mile off the lake and gives you a better view of more of the lake while with Homewood you feel like you are skiing into the lake which is just a stone throw across the road.  

post #7 of 25

I will reply simply..."depends on the day..." I have experienced "the best the mountain has to offer" at almost every Tahoe resort. Each one is like your kids..you love them all equally different. 

 

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I will reply simply..."depends on the day..." I have experienced "the best the mountain has to offer" at almost every Tahoe resort. Each one is like your kids..you love them all equally different. 

 


true if you are just answering the thread title, but he said

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

 I like a resort thats got some real expert terrain, but also some good grooming and views etc. 


so what would a Reno/Tahoe/Bay area local say has real expert terrain, grooming AND VIEWs...it was the last bit which is why I thought JayT was correct to recommend Heavenly...leave the views out of the equation and 70% of the West coast resorts probably have something to offer, but very few have the Lake views.  I haven't skied them all, but the grooming at Heavenly seems to be at least as good as the rest of Tahoe...

 

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I will reply simply..."depends on the day..." I have experienced "the best the mountain has to offer" at almost every Tahoe resort. Each one is like your kids..you love them all equally different. 

 



Well said!  With some wind and snow the "best" for me is in the trees off the back off North Star aka Flat Star.  On a snowy day Squaw with lifts shutdown, poor visibility and long lines on the Red Dog isn't much fun.

 

A sunny mid-week day with fresh snow and Squaw is heaven.

post #10 of 25

Contrary to my other post, if it's windy, stay away from Heavenly because it can be *extremely* frustrating.  Specifically, if they close Sky Express you can't get over to (or back to) Nevada from California.  So even if a lot of lower mountain terrain is still open, you can't access it all without getting back in your car or taking a shuttle.  I've had a few days stuck on the California side with both Canyons and Sky on wind hold and it's a major buzzkill.  (Why they haven't built a lower lift that would go up to Tamarack lodge to solve this problem I don't understand)

 

So as a +1 to what Phil said, yes, it depends on the day.  On windy days when there are lifts getting closed, by far the best two options are Northstar and Homewood.  Both have some pretty great views too.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the suggestions! i'll have to look into Heavenly!

post #12 of 25
I am not a big fan of Heavenly, it is always too crowded, with generally poorer conditions than you'd find at other resorts at Tahoe. If is closer to the desert region, so it does get less snow than the North Shore resorts. You have to go there once for the views, they are indeed, well, heavenly. But the rest of the mountain never really appealed to me. On a good midweek day, my choice will be Squaw/Alpine, on a stormday probably Northstar or Homewood. Of course with your screen name you gotta come to Squaw.
post #13 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

Contrary to my other post, if it's windy, stay away from Heavenly because it can be *extremely* frustrating.  Specifically, if they close Sky Express you can't get over to (or back to) Nevada from California.  So even if a lot of lower mountain terrain is still open, you can't access it all without getting back in your car or taking a shuttle.  I've had a few days stuck on the California side with both Canyons and Sky on wind hold and it's a major buzzkill.  (Why they haven't built a lower lift that would go up to Tamarack lodge to solve this problem I don't understand)

 

So as a +1 to what Phil said, yes, it depends on the day.  On windy days when there are lifts getting closed, by far the best two options are Northstar and Homewood.  Both have some pretty great views too.


Actually, you can get from Ca to NV when Sky is closed, but it is a royal pain.  My son and i spent a frustrating morning doing that once ... going in circles, winding up back at the same lift, asking directions over and over again, even hiking up just to look at a sign.  We eventually made it and had a great time in Mott/Killebrew.

 

post #14 of 25

Funny thing is, while I just touted Heavenly, I do like Alpine & Squaw more (it was just the "view" part that made me recommend it).  If you come to Tahoe you really need to check at least one of those places out.  And the views are still pretty great (I'd give the edge to Alpine Meadows, below).

 

DSC05573.JPG

 

DSC05588.JPG

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Damn, nice pics! I think the question for me is Alpine, Squaw, Heavenly and maybe Northstar

post #16 of 25

Well, was Canyon Express spinning?  Yes, you can work your way over to Nevada if that's open, but if both Sky and Canyons are closed, there's no other way unless you want to skin or hike all the way up the California trail (which would take longer than getting back in your car or taking a shuttle).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

 

Actually, you can get from Ca to NV when Sky is closed, but it is a royal pain.  My son and i spent a frustrating morning doing that once ... going in circles, winding up back at the same lift, asking directions over and over again, even hiking up just to look at a sign.  We eventually made it and had a great time in Mott/Killebrew.

 



 

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

Damn, nice pics! I think the question for me is Alpine, Squaw, Heavenly and maybe Northstar



Be greedy and ski them all!

 

Are the skilaketahoe 6 paks still on sale? 6 resorts for $299 iirc. see them all. Or come to the Gathering, piggy back on our buddy passes, and locals will show you their hill better than you'd do on your own. Look at the snowbomb.com card too. 

post #18 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

Well, was Canyon Express spinning?  Yes, you can work your way over to Nevada if that's open, but if both Sky and Canyons are closed, there's no other way unless you want to skin or hike all the way up the California trail (which would take longer than getting back in your car or taking a shuttle).

 

 

Beats me, I was pretty lost by the time we made it.  I do remember the path that worked involved a long, unmarked traverse through some scrubby vegetation. 
 

 

post #19 of 25

The different Tahoe mountains really do have different strengths.  I've only been there for three trips, and haven't tried them all yet.

My understanding, some from experience, some from reading, is...

Squaw/Alpine/Rose/Kirkwood for steeps.

Northstar for powder trees that don't get skied out before you get there.

Heavenly for Gunbarrel, a fabulous long bump run (though there are a small number of steeps too).

 

Oh yeah, and the ability to keep operating during big storms varies a lot from place to place, with the steeper places tending to get closed down for winds and avalanche control work.

 

Don't know much about Sugarbowl and Homewood.

 

If you are an intermediate skier, the strenghts and weaknesses are a completely different list, but I haven't thought too much about that.

 

I think you locals tend to assume us foreigners know more than we do.  I would  have appreciated an honest overview before the first time I went there.  And of course I hope that you guys will be motivated to correct any misconceptions I've lofted out there.

post #20 of 25

That's pretty good, mediumdensityfibreboard, at least based on my somewhat limited knowledge.

 

I've spent most of my days at Alpine (180+), with the remainder at Squaw (40-50), Sugarbowl (5), Homewood (3), Northstar (3), Diamond Peak (3), Heavenly (3, all 10 years ago), and Sierra (1).

 

Of those I've skied, Squaw definitely has the largest amount of gnarly terrain, followed by Alpine and then probably Sugarbowl.  Alpine also has treed and other areas that don't get skied out before you get there, and unlike Northstar, those areas are often in the 35°+ slope angle range that advanced skiers generally like.  (And in my experience, Northstar's trees get skied out more quickly than Alpine's, although I may just know the area well enough to get to the unskied stuff.)

 

Sugarbowl is a great mountain that is limited only by being short and wide (like yo momma, snaps).  But two of my five days there have been fantastic powder days, including a closing day dump in 2007.

 

Homewood has great lake views, nice trees, and is wind protected.  It's downsides are relatively flat slope angles (which can bog you down on a powder day) and lake elevation base level (which results in higher density snow and more rain than those resorts with higher bases).

 

Diamond Peak has some stuff that's fun enough to keep me interested when my kids are racing there, but I'd never go otherwise.  Basically, the downsides of Homewood without the additional vertical.

 

The one day I spent at Sierra was surprisingly fun.  Nice family feel hill, with something for everyone, and the terrain parks are honeypots for the kids who'd otherwise have gotten in my way.

post #21 of 25

this lake tahoe gathering does interest me too...beats skiing solo

http://www.epicski.com/t/103575/2012-gathering-in-lake-tahoe-2-26-3-3-12

 

any cost estimates or links that members have put up on tickets,  lodging etc?

(would be coming from vancouver bc--departing from seattle wa-- so haven't yet checked into which US airlines are best)

 

also i'm only an advanced intermediate...will there be enough of us 'ordinary' mortals

to also ski together and/or get some coaching while there

so am not with a bunch of experts slowing them down.rolleyes.gif

post #22 of 25

I think Southwest has at least one nonstop per day to Reno, and Alaska probably has a flight or two also. SW doesn't charge for baggage and Alaska does - factor that into pricing.

 

This is an Epic gathering. There'll be plenty of gapers, don't worry.

 

Read the thread on the gathering for info on tickets and lodging options.

post #23 of 25

Not wanting to hijack this thread, but which Tahoe resorts offer ski-in/ski-out?  We're considering replacing our Alta experience (i.e. low maintenance) this year and Tahoe is on the short list.

post #24 of 25

You mean hotels, right? If you're an Alta lover for all it offers, your main (only?) option is Squaw. Some will argue that Heavenly has equivalent terrain, but they're wrong. Northstar has ski-in/ski-out options, but they don't call it flatstar for nothing. If you ski like most Texans though, you'll love Northstar. Kirkwood also has ski-in ski-out and is pretty isolated and sort of backward like Alta. It also has some great terrain.

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

If you ski like most Texans though, you'll love Northstar.



Wow.  Don't confuse LIVING in Texas with being a Texan (not that there's anything wrong with that).  I grew up in NM with Taos as my home hill.  I've skiied just about everywhere in the West growing up and as a young adult.

 

However, my trips now are family oriented and my priorities have shifted.  As for Alta, I love the various terrain, the ease of staying at the lodges (albeit very expensive) and the fact that I can find things that keep me entertained while my better half and kids (when not in lessons) stick to the groomers.

 

I've been to most of the Tahoe areas, but almost 20 years ago.  I remember Kirkwood standing out as a favorite, and honestly believe Northstar was my least favorite.  But I also know things have changed quite a bit since I was last there.  

 

Ski-in/Ski-out with easy airport access are pretty much our main prerequisites at this point, but any other suggestions are more than welcome.  I should probably start a new thread as to not have this one stray too much from the OP's intent.

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