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Where to Ski in Tahoe?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is my first time going to Lake Tahoe. We are going with another couple who are getting married. What a way to spoil a good skiing trip! We are staying at a condo in Summit Village. I know that I want to ski Heavenly and Squaw but am not sure about the other resorts. We will be skiing 4 days, maybe 5 if we can talk the girls into a little AM skiing before the wedding. I was looking for some recommendations from the group. The groom and I are “expert” skiers, the girls are ok. This is the bride’s first trip out west. My wife handled a powder day at Alta so she is not that bad, she just needs to loosen up. Anyway, I have heard the Heavenly can get crowded on the weekends. We planned on Thursday at Heavenly, and Friday at Squaw. Saturday will be the rest/marriage day. That leaves Sunday and Monday. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 16
Here's the bad news. Squaw will be about a 90 min. drive. If the weather gets at all sketchy, a lot longer or not practical.

here's the good news. Kirkwood is only about 45 min away.

BTW...a powder day at Alta is a lot different than spring snow in the Sierra. Just be aware of that before jumping into what looks like a really good tree line.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
any other suggestions?
post #4 of 16
Skiing right before your wedding, what a great idea. :

But if idiocy prevails, practice it @ Kirkwood.
post #5 of 16
Upnorthban, we don't know what kind of terrain you are looking for, but in four days you can cover a lot of territory, or just enjoy the ambiance depending on your inclination. Spring has sprung in the west, and crowds will become less of a factor. Heavenly is a great resort that offers a lot of things to a lot of people. Nearby Sierra and Kirkwood can make a complete 4-day package. Describe a little more of what you are looking for, and if its not hucking cliffs, I will be glad to help. If it IS hucking cliffs, Irule&ublo will have some suggestions if you can keep up and stay out of the hospital.
post #6 of 16
Since you're staying on the South Shore, I would say get married, forget Heavenly and head down to Kirkwood for a day's skiing, then drive up to North Lake and ski Squaw, Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl up on Donner Summit. IMO those are the four best resorts in the Tahoe area.

Normally i would agree with the spring snow statement someone else made, but this year is something else. We skiied Squaw and Sugar Bowl this past weekend and both places were rockin. The coverage is sooo amazing this year I kept getting whiplash snapping my head back and forth, checking out all the steep lines that were filled and and way skiable. We also skied Mammoth on Sat. and was blown away at the quality and depth of the snow they have. It didn't matter where you skiied it was ALL good.

Good luck and have fun
post #7 of 16
We're also headed down for 5 days on March 18th. We'll be in Incline Village.

How do Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak measure up?

We're level 8/9 skiers, but have no desire to "huck" (I've already paid dearly for that).

I've heard that Northstar is a bit tame. True?
post #8 of 16

I pretty much agree

Hit Alpine ($39) & Squaw (my fave) & on Thurs/Friday; Kirkwood on Sunday & Mt. Rose on Monday (assuming you're flying out of Reno). If you must ski Heavenly, ski it on Thursday or Monday and only on a bluebird day.

Here's a gameplan for Squaw that I'm reposting (it's not a big secret), with some additions for a whole day/couples:

...this is an efficient way to survey the mountain & ski, instead of spending time traveling around. Look at the map online before you try to do this...

If you have skis, then park in the lot between the old Red Dog Grill & Far East lift; there's a ticket kiosk right there & you can park within steps of lift. Take Far East chair up.

[If you don't have skis & rent demos from Squaw Ski Shop, then start at KT-22.]

Go down Red Dog/Dog Leg to KT-22. Take runs off KT-22, including Oly Lady side. You can see a zillion lines; some expert, some advanced, some psycho.

[If you're more conservative/intermediate, there's a groomer off the back of KT down to Headwall]

From KT-22, ski down Rock Garden & hit Headwall Chair. Ski the Nose & check out both sides.

Next time up, take trail around to top of old Cornice II & hit chutes below ridge there (really, they're not that hard). If you're up for it, you can turn & take a left & hit the Slot before you get down to the top of Cornice II.

After a few laps, go straight off the back of Headwall into Siberia Bowl. Take Siberia lift up & ski Siberia Bowl to Gold Coast before 11:30.

The foregoing will take you a couple of hours.

Gold Coast Bar is in lower level of the building, and there are outside tables with a decent view of Headwall, KT, etc. The bar is steps from where you can ski up. 10 minutes later, walk up about 50' to upper level of building (where Funitel exits), put on skis & skate/pole over to Emigrant Chair.

From Emigrant, drop down the Funnel & ski down to Granite Chief Chair. Take a run on Granite Chief & take Shirley Lake chair up. [Intermediates can simply ski around & hit a groomer off backside Emigrant, or frontside, with a sharp left to take Shirley Lake groomers.]

From Shirley Lake chair, head down to Silverado. Take Silverado up/down/up.

Ski down Mountain Run to Red Dog. Take up Red Dog. Ski down Squaw Creek [there are 3-4 nice grromers] & have lunch at The Resort at Squaw Creek after 1:30. Have your wife get the child's burger, it's big enough.

Take Squaw Creek up. Repeat.

apre: Balboa/Le Chamois/Plaza Bar
also: Mamasake sushi.

Usually, the following applies:
Repeat as necessary.

Northstar: Never on a weekend (crowds), and not the greatest for level 8-9s. Decent groomers backside.

Mt. Rose: Great for a day; higher, so snow stays a little better. Some good steeps in the Chutes, some nice steep groomers on front/backside.
post #9 of 16
Dino: Fabulous summary and insights! I'm printing this to take with us.

It takes years to accumlate these types of "efficiencies". To receive them directly from a local is invaluable.

Many thanks!
post #10 of 16

My pleasure...

If you go to Alpine, check to see if High Traverse from the top of Alpine Bowl is open. A 5 minute hike takes you to a point where you can drop down the back into Sherwood (south facing; faces lake). Near the bottom of Sherwood is the Ice Bar; nice spot to sit outside, have a brat/beer.

Also, on far skier's left from Summit you can stay high &/or hike 5-10 minutes to find some nice lines.

The issue with Alpine is moving crowds with mostly non-detachable chairs; that's why I suggested going there mid-week.

The River Ranch is great for apre/dinner. My wife & I go there often & frequently run into other "regulars." Of course, we're usually there on the weekend; it's right at 89/Alpine Meadows road.

If you're at Incline, the Lone Eagle Grill has a great atmosphere, i.e. cool room, nice view (before/at sunset), usually a guy playing guitar/singing & overpriced food/extensive wine list.

However, after our last trip there about a month ago, we swore from now on to just have drink/appies at the bar, or, if we were going to eat, then bring our own special wine. N.B. Corkage is $25, so if you bring your own it should be something special like Silver Oak, Caymus, Duckhorn (yes, their f-ing Merlot is outstanding & I'd drink it anytime), etc.
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
We're also headed down for 5 days on March 18th. We'll be in Incline Village.

How do Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak measure up?

We're level 8/9 skiers, but have no desire to "huck" (I've already paid dearly for that).

I've heard that Northstar is a bit tame. True?
Forget Diamond. Rose is good and the chutes are fun. Try and hook up w/ a local to show you around them.

From Incline, Alpine and Squaw will be about 30-40 min, depending on time of day. I suggest you get up early, because the traffic through the little towns on the North shore can be a major pain.

Alpine is only 39 bucks, and you can find all the 8/9 terrain you can shake a stick at. less "bling bling" than Squaw, but that's why I like it. Sunny day....on the deck....after a day of spring skiing....sucking down a Gordon Biersch.....you get the picture.

Kirkwood will be a schlep from Incline, but if you're up for the drive, I highly recommend it.
post #12 of 16
I live in Incline and have yet to make it to Diamond Peak, good family resort with great views, but the terrain doesn't stack up I hear. I ski Rose a lot since it's closest, the Chutes have put a new face on that mountain if you're an expert skier. Definitly worth a day or two. Sugar Bowl is another fun option, it actually doesn't take any longer to get there then Squaw and it a lot less crowded with really great terrain. Alpine is great, as other have described. Squaw is Squaw, there's a reason it's as popular as it is.

Northstar is really a family resort too, locally refered to as "Flatstar." It's a great place to ski on a storm day when the tops of the other mountain are all closed, but doesn't offer much for the advanced skier.
post #13 of 16
Dino, Irul&Ublo, Rik: Many thanks. We're printing all these comments to take with us.

Alpine sounds like it'll be our first choice. Squaw (if it's not too crowded) and the Rose chutes are also on the menue. We'll try to find a local to show us the chutes, as Irul&Ublo suggested. We'll try the drop Dino suggested into Sherwood. Sugar also sounds appetizing, as an alternative to Squaw crowds.

It seems that early rising is required. Spending the day weaving through spring-break traffic in the north coast towns is not what we seek.

I don't know if we can make the schlep to Kirkwood, but I hear it's amazing.

Diamond and Northstar are toast (unless the ladies want a cruising day at Northstar).

Receiving specific input on how to approach a new ski area (especially one as huge as Tahoe) is what makes this site invaluable. It's impossible to receive qualified, candid input like this from any other source.

The same can be said for equipment. No review source is as comprehensive and accurate.

Thanks again, gentlemen!
post #14 of 16

Early, but not too bad

If you leave Incline at about 7:30 for Alpine or Squaw, you're good. We just try to get moving up Hwy 89 from Tahoe City by 8.

Squaw gets crowds, but moves them very well. You won't hit many lift lines.

Have a great time!
post #15 of 16
Dino, nice job. I concur.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
It seems that early rising is required. Spending the day weaving through spring-break traffic in the north coast towns is not what we seek.

Thanks again, gentlemen!
Early rising is the key.

Squaw lifts move the crowds better than Heavenly,more challenge, less spectacular but still great views. However, lift lines here are nothing like those back east IMHO.

Homewood views are killer.
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