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Where to go in Tahoe?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm looking at going to Tahoe this winter but I'm not sure which resorts to go to and what they are like? I'm looking for suggestions and info.

 

Thanks!

Andrew

post #2 of 24

North Tahoe, you can get the Squaw/Alpine pass and also have Homewood around the corner (you can get Homewood tickets only for about $30 during the week).  I don't think much needs to be said about Squaw.

 

You can also get the Epic pass and have the option of going to North Star (North Tahoe), Heavenly and Kirkwood (South Tahoe).  NS is mellow, something for everyone at Heavenly and Kirkwood is the South Tahoe's version of Squaw (kind of).

 

Sierra is in South Tahoe as well, and have a fairly cheap season pass.  Can get somewhat overcrowded on weekends (but I guess same could be said for all resorts).

 

You can also stay in Reno and ski Mt. Rose.  Mt. Rose always has deals on day passes, and they also have a cheap season pass.

 

If you are looking for night life I'd suggest either Reno or South Lake Tahoe.  If you only care about skiing, then North Lake Tahoe and the Squaw/Alpine deal.

post #3 of 24

If there is the Tahoe Six Pack again, that is a great option. 

post #4 of 24

What kind of skiing do you like to do?  What kind of experience are you after?

post #5 of 24

To add to JayT's questions...

 

How long of a trip?

What month?

How many of you?

How varied are the abilities?

How much do you want to spend?

What do you want to do when not skiing?

Where have you been and liked?

Where have you not liked?

post #6 of 24

Best advice I've gotten is to pick an end (North or south) and ski the resorts in that area.  Trying to do both Squaw/Alpine/Homewood and Heavenly/Sierra/Kirkwood in the same trip will mean lots and lots of driving, so best to pick an end and stick with it.    All Tahoe resorts have their plusses and minuses, so your best bet is to sample them and see what you like.  And since you haven't given us anything to go on regarding your preferences/abilities/style/etc I can't recommend any hill in particular.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Holy Cow you guys are fast!

 

We are all experienced snowboarders and prefer blues & black runs w/ some trees. Ungroomed preferred but that requires good weather. Outside of good weather we would be looking for large ski-able terrain of blues & blacks. We'll get adventurous and do some double/triple blacks but we won't be doing them all day.

 

This is a 4/5 day trip the Tuesday after MLK weekend (soft days thus far but we are somewhat limited considering anything later will be to close to my wife's due date!).

 

When not skiing we'll amuse ourselves just fine. We are getting to old to party all night and actually be worth something the next day :)

 

We are from Wisconsin so we will enjoy anything with more than 50 ft vert and somewhere we can be entertained for at least an entire day in moderate (or bad..) conditions.

 

We will likely hit multiple resorts in the North or south end spending a day at each.

 

What is each like terrain wise? We are indifferent in regards to services offered.
 

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Phil that looks like it's still last season's deal.

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlguy53403 View Post

Phil that looks like it's still last season's deal.

Thats why I said <IF> it is offered this year. My gut feeling is they will. 

post #10 of 24

Based on that, then I'd recommend North Tahoe where you can choose from Squaw / Alpine / Northstar / Sugar Bowl / Homewood.  The week you're coming is usually a good one around Tahoe.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlguy53403 View Post

Holy Cow you guys are fast!

 

We are all experienced snowboarders and prefer blues & black runs w/ some trees. Ungroomed preferred but that requires good weather. Outside of good weather we would be looking for large ski-able terrain of blues & blacks. We'll get adventurous and do some double/triple blacks but we won't be doing them all day.

 

This is a 4/5 day trip the Tuesday after MLK weekend (soft days thus far but we are somewhat limited considering anything later will be to close to my wife's due date!).

 

When not skiing we'll amuse ourselves just fine. We are getting to old to party all night and actually be worth something the next day :)

 

We are from Wisconsin so we will enjoy anything with more than 50 ft vert and somewhere we can be entertained for at least an entire day in moderate (or bad..) conditions.

 

We will likely hit multiple resorts in the North or south end spending a day at each.

 

What is each like terrain wise? We are indifferent in regards to services offered.
 


North:

 

Squaw - big with a lot of expert terrain. Not known for a lot of blue terrain. Could be a subject for the weather closures. Lodging could be found in the Squaw village or Tahoe City (10-15min away) or Truckee (20-30min away).

 

Alpine - smaller and less glorified version of Squaw. Right next to Squaw, a bit closer to Tahoe City. No village.

 

Northstar - family oriented resort with arguably best blue terrain at Tahoe. Wind protected. Pain in the but with parking. Has village. 15-20 min away from Truckee and 15-20 min away from King's Beach. King's Beach option can be subject to chain control, which is enforced in CA - you have to have either 4WD/AWD or chains.

 

Mt. Rose - on NV side. Highest base in the area. Somewhat less snow since it is drier there. has very good expert and blue terrain. Expert terrain is subject to snow conditions. 20-30 min from Reno and 15-20 min from King's Beach/Incline Village.

 

Sugar Bowl - most snowy resort. Has good blue and black terrain. 20-30 min from Truckee.

 

there are also Homewood and Diamond Peak - small resorts that I would skip given you are traveling from the other side of the country. Many people here would disagree with me on that though ;-)

 

South:

 

Heavenly - Northstar of south side with way better parking and subject to high winds ;-) A LOT of traversing - could be a problem for your group. Right in the middle of South lake Tahoe with a lot of fairly cheap lodging and casinos.

 

Sierra at Tahoe - small and cozy. Good blue terrain. Given a lot of snow some good black terrain as well. 20-30 min away from South Lake Tahoe. Subject to chain control.

 

Kirkwood - south version of Squaw. Smaller though. No lodging. Have to drive - 30-40 min from South Lake Tahoe. Subject for chain control.

 

There is a very good summary of Tahoe skiing option by veloscente at another thread: http://www.epicski.com/t/112390/squaw-v-s-heavenly/30#post_1488628

 

Anyway, whatever you pick you will enjoy the area.

 

Think snow,

 

cfr

post #12 of 24

For what you want, it sounds like north is the way to go: Squaw, Alpine, Northstar and Sugar Bowl are all very good places.  I'd recommend hitting them all, which means most deals won't apply, except maybe the 6-pack when (if) it's re-offered.  Some say Northstar has the best tree skiing if you know where to look.  I ski Squaw, which has various trees, but it takes some experience to know where the "right ones" are.

post #13 of 24

SkiLakeTahoe Six Pack is available this year ($299) and with careful planning one can ski Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Squaw (2 days) and Northstar. Split your stay between North and South. Heavenly is worth skiing for a day or so - nice trees, great views (people from flatlands -like myself- really like this). Kirkwood could be very good if conditions are right, it is a hill exposed to winds and many lift closures occur very often. Slow lifts, good terrain. Drive is 1-1.5hr from South Lake Tahoe, assuming no storm previous day, then it might get dicey. Then move North and ski Squaw, Northstar, Alpine and Mt. Rose. Centrally located condo or cabin and all these places are about within 1/2 hour of easy drive. Now, SkiLakeTahoe is a six pack, meaning you get 6 tickets and by bending some rules (do not recommend doing this, but then you have to do what you have to do) you can purchase 4 Six Packs and have 5 guys ski 5 days you would have to purchase 1 ticket, let's say Mt.Rose. Sweet deal !!! South Lake Tahoe is much cheaper to stay, also "trashier" for some folks tastes. Casinos will do that. Do not be afraid of driving from South to North. East route is longer but is generally safer, Rt. 89 gets closed in bad conditions but is very scenic. Those drives are really enjoyable for someone coming from elsewhere, again assuming you have some experience driving in mountain conditions. Another nod for Lake Tahoe is the fact that resorts are generally lower than Colorado resorts - therefore it might be easier for some people to get used to altitude. One concern might be notorious January "dry spell" over Lake Tahoe, some weird meteorological thing happens when area of High Pressure is stuck above the region and it gets very dry but sunny, pretty but no big dumps. 

You won't be disappointed with terrain, scenery, skiing, entertainment and service no matter what you choose. It beats Wisconsin for sure !!!

Since 2004 I am doing this trip yearly and by now I might know a thing or two about it. Last year, oh well it was last year...

post #14 of 24

you really only need to nail down your lodging, and perhaps passes if you know where you want to go for sure.  

Everything else can be a game-day decision

 I agree and like cfr's writeup above, especially the traversing at Heavenly that catches beginning boarders out.

That being said, I think your decision right now is more of a where do you want to stay question.

 

If you want to have the grand tour, I can suggest perhaps split your lodging and spend 2-3 days on one end and then then move locations to the other.

If you are many people you may want to consider staying in one place and get a timeshare or vrbo cabin/house instead.

 

Northshore, you can either stay at northshore related lodging, or if you want, you can commute in from Reno to have a bit of a bigger city feel and nightlife, but a bit of a commute in.

South Shore, basically you would be staying at South lake tahoe.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlguy53403 View Post

Holy Cow you guys are fast!

 

We are all experienced snowboarders and prefer blues & black runs w/ some trees. Ungroomed preferred but that requires good weather. Outside of good weather we would be looking for large ski-able terrain of blues & blacks. We'll get adventurous and do some double/triple blacks but we won't be doing them all day.

 

This is a 4/5 day trip the Tuesday after MLK weekend (soft days thus far but we are somewhat limited considering anything later will be to close to my wife's due date!).

 

When not skiing we'll amuse ourselves just fine. We are getting to old to party all night and actually be worth something the next day :)

 

We are from Wisconsin so we will enjoy anything with more than 50 ft vert and somewhere we can be entertained for at least an entire day in moderate (or bad..) conditions.

 

We will likely hit multiple resorts in the North or south end spending a day at each.

 

What is each like terrain wise? We are indifferent in regards to services offered.
 

 

Look into staying in Tahoe City.... great setting, good food & drink options (if a bit laid back).... ~ 5 miles to Alpine Meadows or Homewood, 6-7 Miles to Squaw, no mountain passes to cross ..... plenty of skiing with little (10 - 15) minutes drive time.... you could still hit Sugarbowl, Rose, N* if you wanted more (you won't "need" more), but you're looking at 30 minutes+ drive plus crossing Donner/Brockway/Rose summits (iffy if it's dumping).....
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlguy53403 View Post

Phil that looks like it's still last season's deal.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Thats why I said <IF> it is offered this year. My gut feeling is they will. 

 

Yes it is.  That LA times article was from last year.  Here's the current link:

 

http://www.skilaketahoe.com/lake-tahoe-six-pack-ticket-2012-13-season

 

The way the 6-pack works, you could ski 4 of the 6 days in North Lake Tahoe  (Mt Rose, Alpine, Northstar, and Squaw).  You could also ski twice at any one of the resorts.  If you had time on your trip you could do a day or two at Heavenly, Sierra or Kirkwood, or two days at any one of those resorts. 

 

Even if you only used 4 of the 6 days, that $75 per ticket, which isn't bad for the major Tahoe resorts.

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

You guys have been great! It looks like this trip is coming together nicely. 1 more question.

 

We are thinking of boarding MLK day as our first day.

 

Out of Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Squaw and Northstar which is the least likely to be crowded on a holiday?

 

Thanks again fellas!

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlguy53403 View Post

We are thinking of boarding MLK day as our first day.

 

Out of Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Squaw and Northstar which is the least likely to be crowded on a holiday?

 

The good news is that Monday should be the least crowded day of the MLK weekend and that MLK is not as busy as President’s weekend. Many people will have had enough skiing by Monday and either not ski or leave early to beat the traffic home.

 

The bad news is:

 

Less expensive Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar passes are not blacked out. All of these places could be busy if conditions are good.

 

Northstar is always busy and a place you want to arrive early as a lot of the parking requires a shuttle (then long walk through village) and a long shuttle if close-in parking fills,.

 

Mixed messages follow:

 

Kirkwood could be a good choice, but a lot of people from the South and East Bay Area could be going there to avoid the US-50 traffic home. Some of them may leave early, but again, get there early as close-in parking fills fast and sometime people have to park far down the access road (and they didn’t always run shuttles last year).

 

Mt. Rose could as busy as the weekend days from Reno schools having MLK holiday. They do have high-speed six-packs from both bases so they can handle a crowd, if the crowd moves fast enough to fill the chairs.

 

Heavenly and Squaw can handle crowds, but local knowledge to get ahead and away from them helps. Even though it may be short, the drive to and from Squaw can take way longer than you think it would with heavy traffic.

 

Heavenly has four bases, which spreads out traffic, but both Nevada bases, especially Stagecoach, can fill their parking lots. Heavenly also suffers from what some call one of the worst lift layouts and if it is windy, the gondola and upper lifts close. I’ve learned to deal with the crowds by arriving early and skiing lower on the mountain when the top (Sky and Dipper chair) gets too crowded and only skiing the top at beginning and end of the day. If I was going to be there, I’d show you around, but I will be in Mexico for ten days for my anniversary

post #19 of 24

The Monday itself will not be bad (relatively).  The weekend skiers will treat it as a recovery/travel day back.   

 It is not even a blackout for people with passes.

Only Saturday I would worry.  Sunday will be less packed, and Monday even less. 

If the 49ers make it to the playoffs and play that weekend it will be even emptier.

 

The sad state of the economy works in your favor and fewer people can afford to go skiing.

 

Nobody can directly tell you, because last year at this time, we were in a severe snow shortage, and there was only 15 runs or so open at heavenly/northstar (more snowmaking), and only a handful of runs at all the others.  The 49ers were also playing.  So the resorts were empty because nobody wanted to pay for a half open mountain. (For those that did go, the consolation prize for a handful of runs was 0 lift lines!)

 

So we have to go 2years or further back and so much has changed since then.

post #20 of 24

I've skied Squaw on MLK weekend for the last four years or so.  My experience is that it's not too bad, but highly dependent on conditions.  If it ends up being a powder day, none of the prognosticating I've read above will matter, at Squaw or anywhere.  On the other hand, it could be just fine.  At Squaw specifically, wind can be another issue.  Less so at NS, HW.

 

In other words, some of the unknowables matter much more than the knowables.  My general plan is to make plans based on whatever constraints you have and then enjoy whatever conditions you get.  If you ski enough days, you'll get enough good days.

post #21 of 24

I like Squaw, Alpine and Kirkwood. If I were taking a trip out there, I would chose Squaw/Alpine. Squaw is massive and has a ridiculous amount of terrain and Alpine has really good terrain also and is less resort/touristy. Your tickets will work for both, and you get get a shuttle from one to the other that takes 15 minutes or so. Between the two, you will have a hard time exploring all of the great terrain. 

I have also spent time at Heavenly and Northstar and was disappointed, they are family resorts and don't have much advanced terrain (but Northstar has some good tree skiing)

post #22 of 24

I'm going to mess with your head. Fly into Reno. Drive south to Mammoth Mtn. It's the best resort in Calif. No, it's not easy to get to. Weekday skiing is like being in a private club. There is something for everyone to ski and have fun. I live in Santa Cruz. I drive past Lake Tahoe to get to Mammoth. I used to have season passes at Kirkwood and Alpine. Not anymore. Check Ski Mag's resort ratings for California resorts. Best snow, best lifts, best terrain and best parks and probably the best grooming. Virtually no crowds during the week.
 

post #23 of 24

I have always wanted to go to Tahoe and there is some awesome advice in here. Good stuff. Maybe not this season, but i will hopefully go the following season.

 

Ski Courses

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyof View Post

Ski Mag's resort ratings for California resorts. Best snow, best lifts, best terrain and best parks and probably the best grooming. Virtually no crowds during the week.
 

 

Mammoth is awesome, but pointing out a ranking from Ski Mag is pretty lame.  In that case, why not skip California altogether and just go to Deer Valley?

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