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Lake Tahoe Trip Report

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well I just got back this morning from Lake Tahoe and overall it was a good trip aside from the very warm temperatures.

Our trip started out pretty shaky when we weren't allowed to board our flight saturday night. Our original plans called for us to take a 2:18 train from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station to Newark Int'l for a 7:10 pm flight. I wasn't about to sit in an airport 80 mins from my house for four hours. So I called Amtrak and asked if I could take a later train. They said it was fine and no additional charges would be incurred. To make a long story short Continental lost our reservation because we weren't on the 2:18 train and we weren't allowed to board. After several phone calls and one missed flight we were put on a 5:30 am flight on Sunday morning.

Sunday-Thursday @ the Tahoe Biltmore
We stayed at the Tahoe Biltmore for the amazing price of $29 a night. This was easily the best hotel deal I have ever gotten. I expected to see a dirty, old, run-down place but it was anything but that. We got free breakfast every morning and plenty of discounts to their rather good bbq restaurant.

Monday- Homewood- $25 lift tickets
The views here are simply amazing! We couldn't have picked a better first day resort to get us into the Tahoe Spirit!!! There were several runs where it seemed as if we were going to ski into the lake. Though they could use some high-speed lifts, for $25 the views alone were worth it and the skiing was fantastic.

Tuesday- Mt. Rose $26 lift tickets with two-fer-tuesday
After being at Alta, Snowbird and other western resorts I thought I had seen some steep blues, however Mt. Rose takes the cake! Some of the blues at Mt. Rose would have qualified as diamonds at most western resorts imo. The skiing was fantastic early in the morning but turned into mashed potatoes in the afternoon, which left very few people venturing into "The Chutes." However I was one of the few and it was an experience I will never forget. It was very challenging and I forget the trail I went down (single diamond) but it was a great way to end my day and it left a smile on me for the rest of the day. The staff at Mt. Rose was very, very friendly and I had some great conversations in the east bowl gift store.

Wednesday- Squaw- $39 student lift tickets
Everything I have ever heard about Squaw was 100% correct, it is simply amazing. Even with the insanely warm and uncomfortable conditions in the afternoon, the virtural emptiness in the morning more then made up for it. My girlfriend and I must have been on 5 runs before we had anyone skiing with us. KT-22 wasn't as steep as expected but it was absolutely fantastic. My girlfriend impressed me by wanting to go down east face (I believe was the name) first and without me checking out the snow first. I heard about this for the rest of the day but I was glad to see my girlfriend going down one of the steepest slopes in N. America just 10 weeks after her first pair of skis. Squaw was simply one of the best ski days of my life and may just be my all-time favorite mountain. The employees at Squaw have a politeness level that is unmatched; they are extremely helpful!

Thursday- Alpine Meadows---WORST SKIING EXPEREIENCE OF MY LIFE!!!!
Well I don't want to spoil the separate thread I plan to right about this horrific resort but just know that the employees that I encountered at Alpine were simply the most unprofessional people I have ever encountered in any business ever! I will post the link to the new thread after I write it up, trust me it will be worth reading!

Friday-Kirkwood- $29 student lift tickets
The conditions were prime corn up top but the snow at the bottom was by far the worst we had encountered all week. We had our skis hot waxed (which definitely wasn't the right one) the night before but still we found ourselves more then once almost falling head over our skis while traversing. We were rather disappointed by Kirkwood based on its reputation and by how small it seemed. Though I think the weather conditions had much to play on our opinions we were still rather disappointed by Kirkwood. The $29 student lift ticket easily allowed us to leave after 1 or so and not feel as if we were ripped off. There is no way I would have paid $59 for this resort.

Saturday- shopping in South Lake and Reno
We were supposed to ski at Heavenly today but since the temp was going to be 65 there was no way we were going to spend $130 on mashed potatoes again. Instead we were able to get some nice hoodies for ourselves and a whole bunch of gifts for our families.


Though the trip would have been a whole lot more enjoyable if there were actual winter conditions while we were there, the deep snow bases made it much better then it could have been. There were a whole bunch of things that went wrong on the trip, like the brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee that we rented that had a blown fuse thus meaning no control of my side mirrors or any interior lights!!!!

I learned that some companies have a way to go to ever earn my business again (Continental and Alpine Meadows.) But the most important realization all week was that my girlfriend and I understood that sometimes things go wrong but that when you are with people you love, they just seem like minor nuisances to the extremely enjoyable time you get to spend together.
post #2 of 8
You are going to catch some flack about Alpine Meadows comments. A lot of Bay area locals love that place.
I was at Kirkwood for three days recently. My first visit to anywhere in the Tahoe region. My last day there was the same Monday you were at Homewood. I have totally different impression of Kirkwood. I thought it skied absolutely huge, bigger than any 2000' vert mtn I've ever been to. I left mumbling to myself that I could spend the rest of my life at Kirkwood. Such great variety of terrain at one place - The Wall, The Wave, The Drain, The Cornice Express, The Cirque. It was empty on Monday and temps weren't quite so warm as later in the week. But I'll agree with you that the Tahoe area is very beautiful. I made a one day visit to Heavenly on Tuesday. Preferred Kirkwood's terrain, but loved the Lake views. Had a very memorable mtn top lunch picnic from a quiet rock overlooking the Lake with my two daughters.
I admire your abililty to work the lodging and lift ticket deals. Well done.
post #3 of 8
Glad you had an overall good experience at Tahoe.

As for Kirkwood:
I have a season pass at Kirkwood, so ski there 20~30 days a season. I agree that it doesn't look that big if you just stick to the groomed (or sometimes-groomed) trails. According to my experience, the mountain suddenly looked 10 times larger once I started exploring off the trails.
post #4 of 8
Jamesj- we were skiing Kirkwood on the same day as you. We just returned from a 10 day trip to Tahoe. We couldn't believe how empty all of the Tahoe ski areas were on Monday through Friday. Weekends were more crowded but lines weren't any longer than those we've experienced in Colorado or Utah.

We loved Kirkwood, and thought it had the best snow of the areas (also skied Heavenly, Sierra, Squaw and Alpine) we skied during the last 10 days. We either skied with a local friend or hired an instructor to show us the good snow at each area. Perhaps the OP didn't know the right places to go at Kirkwood.

As for Alpine, I look forward to reading OP's detailed complaint about the area. We spent one day there, and enjoyed it. All of the employees that we had contact with (other than skiing past a lift attendant)- at the ticket window, the shop, the bakery, and the outdoor dining area at the bottom of the Sherwood Forest run- were polite. We would definitely ski there again on another Tahoe trip (unless something in OP's Alpine post changes my mind ).
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
Sunday-Thursday @ the Tahoe Biltmore
We stayed at the Tahoe Biltmore for the amazing price of $29 a night.
That is a great price for Tahoe Biltmore! Can you tell me how you managed to get that rate? Thanks!
post #6 of 8
Blizzboy: In my humble experience, 25% of every ski trip is bliss, 50% is good and 25% is Hell. It doesn't matter where you go, what you spend, or how carefully you plan. For me, over 25 years, it's always just worked-out that way. And, the issues are always different.

My guess is that your day at Alpine was your Hell day. You just had it coming. Even if everyone else tells you Alpine was awesome, your day was your day.

I'm glad to hear the rest of your trip was okay.

We leave on Friday for 5 days at Tahoe. I know 1.25 days will be miserable (weather, lodging, food, staff, wife's PMS - who knows?), but I'm willing to pay the price for the other 3.75 days.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelato
That is a great price for Tahoe Biltmore! Can you tell me how you managed to get that rate? Thanks!
I booked it online at their online reservation system: http://reservations.worldres.com/cgi..._available.cgi
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
Blizzboy: In my humble experience, 25% of every ski trip is bliss, 50% is good and 25% is Hell. It doesn't matter where you go, what you spend, or how carefully you plan. For me, over 25 years, it's always just worked-out that way. And, the issues are always different.

My guess is that your day at Alpine was your Hell day. You just had it coming. Even if everyone else tells you Alpine was awesome, your day was your day.

I'm glad to hear the rest of your trip was okay.

We leave on Friday for 5 days at Tahoe. I know 1.25 days will be miserable (weather, lodging, food, staff, wife's PMS - who knows?), but I'm willing to pay the price for the other 3.75 days.
Thanks for the great advice Captain, it definitely puts things in perspective. That is a nice formula you have there and it seems to be correct. However once I get around to posting what happened, I'm sure you will agree that what they did was totally unnecessary. I will get around to it on friday, school is taking almost all my time right now and I want it to be a thorough and well written post. Thanks again for the advice.
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