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Best Week/Ends to avoid crowds in Tahoe

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello All,

So I went skiing for the first time in a very long time this past January, and low and behold I got bitten by the skiing bug PRETTY bad! So much so, that I went out and bought the family Tahoe Local Passes to ski for the 2013/14 season.biggrin.gif I'm looking ahead to planning my time there this season and I was wondering from the people that live up there, or ski very regularly, when are the best weeks or weekends to avoid the crowds? I know that all major holiday's are a no-no, but what about the days immediately following? For example, New Years Day is on a Wednesday, but is the rest of the week crowded? I know that President's Day Weekend is insane, but what about the rest of the week? Any and all help is appreciated.

 

Just counting down the days until...ski.gif

post #2 of 11

It all depends on the weather.

post #3 of 11

When trying to predict crowds, think about school calendars.  Clearly, Christmas and New Year are the same for everyone and will concentrate the crowds.  This past season, many schools did not reopen until January 7th because of how various holidays lined up.  Not that I remember major crowds at Squaw then.

 

Martin Luther King weekend is rather universal.  So is Presidents' Day.  Less so is Presidents' Week, which some schools have dropped or substantially scaled back.  Spring break varies widely and often isn't an issue as other activities compete.  Often it's just the Saturday of a 3-day that is a zoo.

 

Take a look at the black-out dates for the cheaper season passes.  That will tell you when crowds are expected.  I've heard, however, that some resorts get more crowded than others during those times.  Specifically, I've seen more crowds one week before or after a blacked-out weekend at Squaw.  I've heard, though, that Northstar is packed during "prime" weekends.

 

As JayT suggests, any mention of snowfall in the news brings people out of the woodwork.  Fresh powder, especially on a weekend, brings them out in spades.

 

The best antidote for crowds is to ski where most others cannot.  Take lessons and you'll improve.  Take lessons on a crowded day and you'll bypass the lift lines.  Learn the layout of the resort and watch how the crowds move; go where they just came from.

 

My family and I did 30 days at Squaw this year, including early January, MLK, Presidents' Week, etc.  I really have no complaints, but it was a low snow year.  If you have the option, sleep close to the hill.  Often the morning drive and parking are the worst part.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks JayT & Xela. I was trying to plan the Thursday-Sunday after New Years, but was concerned about major crowds at NorthStar or Heavenly because it's x-mas break for most schools. Also, I've heard the week days following President's Day aren't too bad.

 

 

Quote:
Take a look at the black-out dates for the cheaper season passes.  That will tell you when crowds are expected.  I've heard, however, that some resorts get more crowded than others during those times.  Specifically, I've seen more crowds one week before or after a blacked-out weekend at Squaw.  I've heard, though, that Northstar is packed during "prime" weekends.

Yes, I have checked the black out dates and 12-26 to 12-31 is blacked out. Thus why I was wondering what that week might be like up there.

Thanks again for the info!! 

post #5 of 11

Last year it dumped that week (xmas - new years) and still wasn't crowded because of the black out dates, so keep that in mind.  At least at Squaw / Alpine... Northstar and other resorts could be different.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Actually, my mistake. I was wondering what the week after New Years is like.
post #7 of 11

I skied last season on New Year's day and during the week after and it wasn't crowded at all -- this was at Sugar Bowl.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info! Please keep it coming.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
12-26 to 12-31 is blacked out

Those are the worst dates nearly anywhere. I avoid them like the plague. Maybe look for someplace obscure or well off the beaten track.

Quote:
was concerned about major crowds at NorthStar or Heavenly because it's x-mas break for most schools.

Those are the resorts to avoid if you even think it might be crowded.  Day skier parking at Northstar is a junk show and Northstar has great appeal to the casual once-a-season holiday type skier.  Heavenly has some of these same issues plus the awkward topography/lift system that lends itself to choke points.  Nowhere in my experience is there a greater disparity in the quality of a busy ski day vs. a quiet one than at Heavenly.  

Quote:
Often the morning drive and parking are the worst part.

+1  IMHO this is by far the worst "crowd issue" at Tahoe, and for Hwy 89 around Squaw/Alpine in particular.  Squaw is a big place and the mountain absorbs skiers, particularly advanced/expert skiers, quite well when everything is open.  On anticipated busy days, get there very early.  To me that means in time to have breakfast there before the lifts open.

post #10 of 11

If you plan/have to be at Northstar on a busy weekend get there EARLY.

 

The lifts spin at 8:30 and I like to arrive around 7:30, parking and the drive in is easy at that time. 

 

This technique worked for me this year during the holiday weekends.

 

Also as soon as the backside opens usually around 9:00 go there and stay, usually less crowds.

 

I tend to take my break at 11:00 and again less crowds. 

 

Usually I leave around 2:00 and miss them again.

 

The key is being there when the crowds are not. biggrin.gif

post #11 of 11

At Nstar, ski the black runs for far fewer people per sq.ft.

 

At Heavenly, the stagecoach parking area fills up very quickly and personally I'd park at Boulder lift even if I stayed in the very affordable casino area. The day lodge isn't as full as other day lodges either.

 

Don't forget you have kirkwood. It doesn't get the hoards of beginners imo.

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