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Tahoe Advice for March

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hello All!

My girlfriend and I will be spending our spring break skiing in Lake Tahoe. I have never been there and could really use a whole lot of advice. We will be staying the week of March 5-11. I have not booked anything yet so I am open to everything. Based on price it seems like staying in Reno is dirt cheap but isn't this quite a distance from the ski resorts? Also from what I have read isn't this in South Lake Tahoe and will make it hard to get to North Lake Tahoe where I have been told the better resorts are? Also can I have some advice as to what resorts we should check out? As for our Skier levels: I'll take on anything but my girlfriend is a little more timid. We went out to Utah last month for her first time skiing out west (my 4th) and she loved it. As long as it is somewhat groomed, she can tackle it, she really loved the steep grooms at Snowbird.

I could really use the help

PS I forgot to mention that I will definitely be renting an SUV and driving doesn't really bother me. THANKS!!!!!
post #2 of 24
reno is cheap, but its about at least an hour each way to all places but mt.rose. i'm not sure about lodging in north lake tahoe, so someone else has to answer that; but you can stay in south lake just as cheap as reno and be across the street from heavenly, 30 min. from sierra@tahoe and about an hour from kirkwood - www.roomsintahoe.com is about $35 on weeknights and across the street from heavenly. you can bump up the quality a bit at a super 8 at about $55 a nite.

i the gf is hesitant, i'd say to go heavenly and sierra; but you can find easy terrain anywhere. squaw does look a little imposing when you drive up to it; but it has easy parts too.
driving in march should be no problem on 89 which goes around the lake, from south to north lake mountains.
post #3 of 24
I'll jump in first here. First off, Reno is 45-90 minutes from *most* of the resorts in *decent* weather. Mt Rose is probaly 20-25 minutes? That being said, I personally would not stay there to save a lil $$. You can stay at one of the small, off the beaten path hotels in South Lake Tahoe for almost as cheap. They won't be the fanciest hotels or have a ton on "extras" but they will be a place to lay your head. There's even a Motel 6 in So Tahoe.

When we go, we either stay in North Tahoe or split the week and do 3-4 days on each side of the lake. However, driving from north to south is NO BIG DEAL in *decent* weather...plus the scenery is awesome.

Generally speaking, the "biggies" area Heavenly, Squaw, Kirkwood, Alpine Meadows and Northstar. My guess would be that 90% of people who get their info from "Ski" Magazine go to a combo of those (5) resorts. However, I personally love going to Sugar Bowl, Mt Rose, Homewood and Sierra at Tahoe for a "simpler" change of pace. Mt Rose has some screamin' groomers and the backside is awesome with a fresh dump. I like ALL of the resorts but you can also really save some $$ by going to Mt Rose, Homewood and Sugar Bowl (maybe others as well) mid-week. They have 2 for 1 specials that will save you $$.
post #4 of 24
You might check out this newsletter: http://www.slidingonthecheap.com/

Just got their most recent issue and they had a number of ski and stay specials on the Northshore. You can stay at the Biltmore or the Cal Neva which are about 30 minutes from Squaw and Alpine, 20 minutes from Northstar or Mt. Rose, ~40 minutes from Sugar Bowl, and still probably only ~45 from South Lake.
post #5 of 24
Try this link for some pretty good info. www.virtualtahoe.com

My wife and I stayed in Reno and skied Northstar and Sugarbowl. If you going for a full week, stay in Reno and for a couple of nights and ski these and then move down to South Lake Tahoe for Heavenly, Sierra, Squaw and others.....
post #6 of 24
To ski Heavenly/Kirkwood/Sierra, stay in South Lake Tahoe.
To ski Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadow/Northstar/Sugarbowl stay in one of the towns up there: Tahoe City, Truckee, Kings Beach, etc. There is less lodging in the North shore and they tend to be more expensive, but during weekdays in early March I think it won't be that bad at all.

If you'd like to sample various places, stay North half and stay South the other half. Ski Squaw/Alpine/Northstar(North) and Heavenly/Kirkwood(South).
If you prefer to explore one mountain(or two), Squaw or Heavenly will be great.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
PS I forgot to mention that I will definitely be renting an SUV and driving doesn't really bother me. THANKS!!!!!
Driving does not bother me either and that is why I always stay in Reno. Plus, I like blackjack. Reno offers a good base if you want to sample several areas north, south, or in town and with 4WD, you will have no problems. From what you have said, you will like Squaw, Alpine, Sugarbowl, Kirkwood and Mt. Rose. Your girlfriend will love the groomers at Heavenly, Northstar, and Sierra but I do not believe you will like them as much so avoid them if you can. Besides, the 5 you will like the most have great steep groomers, probably more than Snowbird, so I'd just head to those.

If I remember correctly, Squaw, Alpine, Northstar and Sugarbowl are 45 minutes from Reno, Kirkwood and Sierra are an hour and a half and Heavenly is a little more than an hour in good weather. The views along the way are great so the drives go by quick. Mt. Rose is close by as you can see it from Reno.

I stay in the casino hotels. If you like old cheesey style casinos, I suggest the Sands. The rooms are small but were updated nicely a few years ago and their mid-week rate is hard to beat. The croupiers are cool as well. Some of the newer and nicer casinos offer nearly the same deals but the rate jumps big during the weekend.

I am also considering going out to Tahoe this February but have not really started to look. If you find any good deals post them here. One more thing, look into Budget for their 4WD pick-up deal. I don't know if it is still offered but on several trips I got one for 19 bucks a day.
post #8 of 24

Motel 6

I just stayed at the Motel 6 on the South Shore for $33/ day. Doesnt get much cheaper than that and the rooms were clean. You can walk to Carrows next door for breakfast. Its located about a mile from the "Y." The closest resorts, in order are Heavenly, Sierra and Kirkwood (definitely worth a bit more driving).


-Pig
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's help...

As of right now our plans are to stay in North Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe Biltmore. Using Travelocity I was able to get a price of $388 per person for air and hotel from Philadelphia for March 5-11. I am pretty sure I am going to go ahead and buy it after a little more searching; but that seems to be a damn good price. Thanks for all your help and keep the suggestions coming!
post #10 of 24
The wife and I will be in Reno Feb 12-19 and have a jacuzzi suite at the Eldorado for $573 for six nights. Be mindful that Saturday night is $200 of this cost. We'll be skiing at Squaw, Alpine and will try Northstar & Kirkwood for the first time. Many steep groomers at Squaw and I love that aspect of it.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
anymore advice?
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
anymore advice?
Yeah, send some of that PA blizzard back our way!
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Yeah, send some of that PA blizzard back our way!
Eh we got a whole 12 inches just outside Philadelphia; hardly a blizzard imo but I guess that's what they are calling it. We need some more though because this was our first storm all season.
post #14 of 24

A little advice on Squaw for you

Bliizzboy, I have to reiterate what others are saying.....you and your girl will have a BLAST at Squaw. It's dropdead beautiful and the skiing's awesome. Let me recommend the Emigrant peak. It's full of awesome groomers/cruisers for your girlfriend and more challenging stuff for you. Then you can chill in the sun at Gold Coast while having a tasty Sierra Nevada and talk about your great day.
post #15 of 24
Lots of cheap lodging on the North Side, which gives easy access to Squaw, Alpine and Sugar Bowl. Try the Cal Neva and Biltmore casinos, which are older casinos at Stateline, right on the lake. They usually have some good ski/stay deals. Lots of places between Stateline on the North shore (Tahoe Vista, Carnelian Bay, Kings Beach etc.) and Tahoe City (about a 12 mi. stretch) whxch will be cheap in March. tahoe City, fyi, is about 6-8 mi. from Alpine/Squaw. The Alpine and Squaw turnoffs from Hwy 89 are about 2 mi. from one another. Also check around Truckee...12 mi to Squaw and Alpine and 10 to Sugar Bowl. Lots of eating and drinking options on the North shore stretch and in truckee.

Alpine's base is about 500 ft. higher than Squaw's. depending on snow year and temps., Alpine sometimes is better for Spring skiing. Lot less bling than Squaw, but Squaw will offer more non skiing options (apres, partying etc.) There is also lodging avail. right in Squaw valley and the Alpine Meadows valley, though in Alpine, its going to be private condos.

The best thing about staying in South Shore, IMHO, is access to Kirkwood, which is a bitch of a drive from the North Shore. The 'weed is a great Spring skiing hill, w/ a base that starts at 7500 or so.

Have fun and remember there are a lot of maggots (see tetongravity.com) and bears all around Tahoe. Asking for "change for a nickel" will oft times get you not just strange looks, but a response from a local.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, thanks so much for the advice and feel free to keep it coming. I was wondering if Mammoth is possible to do from tahoe? How long is the drive and will the roads be opened? I will have a suv to make it a little easier.
post #17 of 24
Mammoth is more than possible, its worth it. Will take about 3 to 3-1/2 hours, so plan on an early start, or stay overnight. Its a straight shot, and very scenic, down US 395. From South Tahoe you need to take Kingsbury Grade. Don't get suckered in to Route 89 because its closed at Monitor Pass near Markleyville. From North Tahoe, just take 28 to 50 to 395. These roads are open at all times except for extreme weather conditions.

Suggestion, If you have trouble making reservations in Mammoth Lakes Village, there is a Best Western in Lee Vining, CA (Mono Lake / SR 120) that is easy to reach from Tahoe if you leave the evening before you want to ski, and is only a half-hour from Mammoth. If its a Friday evening, stop at Topaz Lake Casino for the seafood buffet.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Mammoth is more than possible, its worth it. Will take about 3 to 3-1/2 hours, so plan on an early start, or stay overnight. Its a straight shot, and very scenic, down US 395. From South Tahoe you need to take Kingsbury Grade. Don't get suckered in to Route 89 because its closed at Monitor Pass near Markleyville. From North Tahoe, just take 28 to 50 to 395. These roads are open at all times except for extreme weather conditions.

Suggestion, If you have trouble making reservations in Mammoth Lakes Village, there is a Best Western in Lee Vining, CA (Mono Lake / SR 120) that is easy to reach from Tahoe if you leave the evening before you want to ski, and is only a half-hour from Mammoth. If its a Friday evening, stop at Topaz Lake Casino for the seafood buffet.
Hey thanks for the help! I think we are going to fly in on the night of the 5th and drive right to mammoth and stay that night and ski the next day (March 6th). Then we will head back to Tahoe where we will stay for the rest of the trip. I tried to get lodging at Mammoth but it looks booked, do you have any other resort recommendatons?
post #19 of 24
The Best Western in Lee Vining CA is still available, and is really close. See this link.

Its a really nice place to stay and is popular in summer because it is at the entrance to Tioga Pass (Yosemite). From Reno, give yourself at least 4 hours, more for foul weather. If you want to cut the drive a bit from Reno (1-1/2 hours from Mammoth). Stay at the Best Western in Topaz Lake, NV. Call 775-266-4661 or go to this link It costs quite a bit less too. Great dining and some entertainment options at the Casino next door. Still showing vacancy.


Geez, I feel like a travel agent
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
The Best Western in Lee Vining CA is still available, and is really close. See this link.

Its a really nice place to stay and is popular in summer because it is at the entrance to Tioga Pass (Yosemite). From Reno, give yourself at least 4 hours, more for foul weather. If you want to cut the drive a bit from Reno (1-1/2 hours from Mammoth). Stay at the Best Western in Topaz Lake, NV. Call 775-266-4661 or go to this link It costs quite a bit less too. Great dining and some entertainment options at the Casino next door. Still showing vacancy.


Geez, I feel like a travel agent
Thanks so much cirquerider, you always help me out!

Do you think we should hit up Mammoth the first night we get in? Our flight gets in around 9 so that seems like a long drive for the first night or should we leave the Tahoe region on the night of the 10th and drive out there. We could stay the night ski the 11th and then drive back to Reno. We are take the redeye back home that night so we would have plenty of time. Thanks again!
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
Thanks so much cirquerider, you always help me out!

Do you think we should hit up Mammoth the first night we get in? Our flight gets in around 9 so that seems like a long drive for the first night or should we leave the Tahoe region on the night of the 10th and drive out there. We could stay the night ski the 11th and then drive back to Reno. We are take the redeye back home that night so we would have plenty of time. Thanks again!
If you went straight to Mammoth, you would be looking at a later than midnight arrival in someplace like Topaz lake, assuming you get your luggage quickly. With time change, that puts you to bed after midnight (3 AM Eastern). Sounds like a tough day. Just my opinion, but I would try to settle in Reno/Tahoe first night, and go skiing early in Tahoe the first day. Leave at 4 PM or so, have reservations at Topaz or Lee Vining. Early start to Mammoth, ski the day and return to North or South Tahoe.

On the return from Mammoth, best bet would be to stay in Minden, NV. Less expensive, and only 10 miles to the Stagecoach lift at Heavenly via Kingsbury Grade the next morning. Minden It keeps you out of the premium price ski lodging, but close to the areas. BTW, Minden is roughly 40 miles from Kirkwood or Sierra, but if you are leaving to Reno, Heavenly, or one of the North Shore resorts is the better option.
post #22 of 24

Good Breakfast Place

Tahoe Biltmore www.tahoebiltmore.com has one of the best breakfast values in the Tahoe area. Be sure to try the 3 egg Biltmore Breakfast Special for $2.49 (It used to be $1.99 for years before.). You get 3 eggs + choice of potatoes + choice of meat + choice of bread. I know that many folks who stay in the North Lake Tahoe area take advantage of this place for breakfast.
post #23 of 24

Thanks!

I'm constantly amazed at the usefulness of info at this site, and the helpfulness of other Bears.

We're also planning trip to Lake Tahoe area (today's best snow in the country?), and I thought to check this site for input. The level of detail and variety of feedback here is outstanding. I'll never plan another trip without checking EpicSki first.

I hope I can return the favor sometime.
post #24 of 24
You might try this link too:

http://www.slidingonthecheap.com/

They often advertise ski/stay specials. Mammoth is a good 3 hours from my place on the Northshore in ideal conditions, I'd bet on it being a bit more then that from Reno. Definitly worth it though.
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