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Going to Lake Tahoe...Too

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I, too, will be in Tahoe the first week of March. My (soon to be) wife booked us a honeymoon in South Lake Tahoe. I was hoping some Bears might be able to give a little advice. We will be skiing March 2 - 6. We plan to ski at Heavenly. Staying near the gondola.

She is a lower to average intermediate. She is happy cruising blue groomers all day but she likes them wide. She will gladly go down some rather steep intermediate trails as long as they are groomed and open. She does like to take some time on easier blues and even greens so that it is not all day work. I am a rather typical intermediate. I like a bit more difficulty than she does, but I rarely venture down anything black. I can make just about anything fun. Groomed is of course fine, but I do like to venture into some ungroomed though I have problems if the bumps start getting too big. I am not good enough to enjoy real moguls unless they are covered in about 2 ft of powder. If the trees are a bit open, I like getting out between the runs where fewer people and no groomers travel. Our best bet is too find areas where she came come down something comfortable for her and I can follow or find something a little more adventurous and meet at the lift or maybe go down near the trail she is on. Last year at Targhee, we must have spent nearly half our time with her skiing down Chief Joseph while I tried to see how many different lines I could find off the cat track leading from the top of the Blackfoot double to the top of Chief Jo.

So, first off, I am assuming that during the week, crowds should not be a problem. Are there any lifts or areas that should be avoided even during the week? What about Friday and Saturday? Any areas that tend to be a little less crowded come the weekend or should I plan on hanging it up after lunch being the only way to stay out of lines? Where are our best bets for finding places where she can cruise and I can have the choice of following her or being a little more adventurous? Are there any areas of the mountain that are a bit easier, preferrably on the Nevada side, for warming up the first morning or where she can go play a little if she is tired? If we are lucky enough to get some snow, is there anywhere the powder might last a little while? How's the ski school?

Finally, we plan to ski 5 days but only have 4 days of lift tickets. We are trying to decide what to do with the other day. Our thoughts are (1) Kirkwood, (2) Sierra at Tahoe, or (3) just stay at Heavenly another day, it is pretty big. Going elsewhere just seems to far away. Are either of the first two a good bet for a couple of intermediates? Any areas there in particular? Crowds? Would one be a good bet to be less crowded than Heavenly Friday or Saturday?

I think I may have set a record for questions in one post. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. Maybe I'll have a Bear sighting while there.
post #2 of 2
OK Brandon - I'll bite on this one:

1. Fri/Sat crowds at Heavenly - Brandon, Heavenly is an enormous resort; the snow has been great all year all the way down to the bottom of both Nevada and California sides. There is sometimes a noon-3 pm crowd around the Sky chair, but this has been moderated by the new high-speed Canyon chair. The other place there might be a little crowd at mid-day is at the dipper chair, but you can choose the Comet at the same base so no bigy.

Stagecoach, Olympic, Boulder - all relatively easy on Nevada, are not significantly crowded. Mott Canyon and Gunbarrel, nut-cracking double black and up, are not crowded either.

Overall, the resort just doesn't get stifling crowds. Usually moderate. I wouldn't expect that generally in March, with one exception........powder day.

I dunno where you're at in terms of ability, but Heavenly, like other mountains here, has much more significant moguls and steep, challenging, tree-skiing than you're likely to encounter in Alabama. My guess is you're gonna just look at them, or figure out how not to go over the edge on these runs cuz its a long way down. Trees are tightly spaced, and there's tree-hole/rock/wood/crust issues.

2. Wife can go initially to easy runs on Tamarack chair, but that has a long runout....for the wide run, go off to the right of Tamarack down Orion run to Comet - - - take it a few times then go up Dipper and stay right.....mess around on perimeter to boulder and/or easy way home to stagecoach. Avoid galaxy run for her....its got a steep runout to a long slow chair.

3. Nevada side - as I said, Boulder base is very easy (but slow chairs); Stagecoach base chair is fast - but intermediate skill needed; higher up, Tamarack and comet have some easy runs; and there are easy ways to get down dipper. To get to California, you have to take (what else?) California Trail from the top of Tamarack to Sky, then take Ridge Run to Maggie's or something like that. There are a bunch of relatively easy runs there.

4 Ski school - I have no idea.

5. Other bets - Kirkwood - - - mostly blacks and up. Lots of room. There is some beginner way down at bottom. Not major crowd issues.

Sierra - - - actually has a beginner run that goes from top to bottom - and quite a few other substantial easy areas (and good selection of intermediates and up); it is popular with Valley and Bay area day trippers, so it does have serious crowd issues on weekend (or, any powder day, of course). Still can be fun and makes beginners feel like something on top of mountain, I guess. It does not have as high a base as Heavenly and parts can get sloppy under marginal weather. For you - - - I would pick Sierra over Kirkwood on a weekday only; but if on weekend for the fifth day (or a warm day during week), then either Heavenly or Kirkwood.

Kirkwood will be somewhat less crowded than Heavenly on a weekend, Sierra will be more crowded - but Heavenly is really big so you will be able to get to some less-crowded area. Just one last thing on Kirkwood...and I haven't been there since last year...but the lodge/eating area...really seemed on the seedy side relative to other resorts (Heavenly has put in some new facilities). Hi-end skiing is great at Kirkwood - but ain't worth nuthin if you can't do it.

Or, you can go cross-country in Hope Valley, or at Kirkwood, or sit in the hotsprings at Markleeville, gamble or eat food at the casino's, sip peppermint tea at Alpen-Sierra and stare at African frescos on the ceiling, or organic soup at Sprout's or whatever.
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