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Resorts near San Fran [family trip from New Zealand] - Page 2

post #31 of 33

I have read through the posts in this string, and there are lots of good ideas here.  I agree that Vancouver is an awesome city in an incredibly scenic setting, but keep in mind that the average number of rainy days in January is 20 for Vancouver and just 11 for SF.  Not to mention the temperature difference... typical for SF in January is morning 10 to 15 C and afternoon 14 to 18 C.

 

If you are driving from San Francisco, Tahoe is certainly the closest - so then you just decide to stay at South or North Tahoe (once there, it's about an hour drive from one to the other with dry roads).  The various resorts at North Tahoe are closer together than those 3 near South Tahoe, so it's a bit easier there to make choices according to the day's weather.

 

Then where to go? As some have stated, Northstar would be great for you as long as you avoid weekends (or at least Saturday - the crowds are much less Sunday).  However, if you also want great views from the easy runs, and the weather is nice, Squaw is terrific since the easy stuff is on a high plateau-like area up high.  Avoid Squaw on Saturday, and definitely avoid windy or cloudy days (Northstar is much much better in those conditions).  I would guess that you will only have about half your stay at Tahoe, but even with 2 to 4 days you can check out more than one ski area or resort.  If you have any flexibility about when you drive up to Tahoe, look for the best weather forecasts - opensnow.com is among the best resources.  Have fun!

post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KJCee View Post

 

 

If you are driving from San Francisco, Tahoe is certainly the closest - so then you just decide to stay at South or North Tahoe (once there, it's about an hour drive from one to the other with dry roads).  The various resorts at North Tahoe are closer together than those 3 near South Tahoe, so it's a bit easier there to make choices according to the day's weather.

 

 

 

I don't believe this to be always true. The west coast road between the North and South shores frequently gets closed after big storms and sometimes for extended periods in good snow years. You certainly cannot count on it being a dry road. We got stuck several years ago and had to take the three hour detour when that road was closed. Since then we always do either the North or South shore, but don't mix the two in one trip. Great snow days often make for poor driving days in Tahoe.

post #33 of 33

True - you can't count on any of the roads being dry in a place that gets 240 to 500 inches of snowfall per year.  I was just qualifying the "one hour" statement to represent the drive in ideal conditions - AND the drive is much better around the east shore (Nevada side) of the lake - often half the snowfall of the West shore, less steep, curvy driving, and rarely closed (part of highway 89 around the West shore is often closed around Emerald Bay, as you said).

 

So, you are right - if the roads are snowy, the South-North shore trip can take hours.  The same can be said for the drive from South Tahoe to Sierra or Kirkwood.  Some people are weather-wise, but most are otherwise. 

 

Still, I have driven from South Tahoe - on a dry but windy day, when the upper mountain at Heavenly was closed by cloud and wind - to Diamond Peak in about 40 minutes.  We had a great day sheltered from almost all the wind with barely any clouds and no crowds at all.  It's a great alternative when the wind or clouds close in - or just for a break from the bigger resorts. 

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