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Squaw / Tahoe - advice needed for a Brit first timer!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I’ve recently been referred to you guys at Epic by my good friends over at snowHeads (www.snowheads.com – the finest ski forum east of Maine), and I’m hoping you might be able to help me out with some advice and tips.

I’m lucky enough to be heading to San Francisco on a work-related trip in early April, and I’m hoping to be able to grab a few days for myself and head for Lake Tahoe from around the 6th to the 10th April. It’ll be my first time in the States, and also my first time skiing alone, so looking for some useful pointers on how to make the most of it.

I was thinking of basing myself at Squaw, but the accommodation looks very pricey, so unless I can get a good deal on a single room (are single hotel rooms common in the States? I can’t seem to find any!) at the Plumpjack Inn it looks like I’ll have to settle for Tahoe City or Truckee, or maybe the Biltmore at Crystal Bay. Any recommendations chaps? What I’m looking for is a hotel, preferably with its own bar, within easy walking distance of pubs and restaurants, that’s got a nice sociable feel to it for a lonesome Brit who likes a beer or two. Ideas welcome!

Also, should I consider skiing resorts other than Squaw? I’ll have a car, so getting around won’t be a problem in theory, but is it a lot of hassle and time getting around the lake? Problem is I like my sleep, and am used to just rolling out of bed 20 minutes before the lifts open but still being on that first lift of the day (I think we might be a bit spoilt in Europe!). Is it worth the journey to any other resorts, and if so which ones? Again advice and ideas welcome - I’m in your hands!

And if there’s anything else I should know I’d be more than grateful to hear it

Cheers guys,
Dave
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave B
IÕve recently been referred to you guys at Epic by my good friends over at snowHeads
I highly recommend re-evaluating that friendship
post #3 of 18
Can't be a sleeping head and save money the same time. Best bet is live in Squaw ski-n/out. Biltmore to Squaw is at least 35-40 min. Door to Slope providing there is no traffic back up at the Squaw parking lot. I have seen 3 miles backup on 89 (either way) from the Squaw entrance and there is a mile or two from the turnoff.
post #4 of 18
go to squaw, alpine meadows next door and make the drive to kirkwood for your terrain. i would skip all others except maybe the chutes at mt.rose(but i hadnt tried them to give an opinion).
youre going to have to stay at squaw if you want 20 minutes to the lifts. its a 10-15 minute drive to any lodging not on squaw property unless you want to rent a condo. i'd just search online daily for a good deal. one should pop up eventually that late in the season.
post #5 of 18
Dave B, I do day ski trips by myself and hesitate doing a vacation because paying for a double room sucks unless you can pick up a friendly chick for the night.

At Tahoe, Squaw is definitely one of the best ski areas; nothing but snow, and no trees to worry about. Last time I was in Tahoe, I stayed at at Harvey's casino. That area near the southeast of Tahoe has some good evening entertainment, good bands play there, etc. Heavenly is right there too which is a very nice ski resort. Squaw Valley is a bit of a winding drive, but I did it when I was there. I don't think you will be disappointed no matter where you end up in the Tahoe area, but I think the liveliest area is the southeast section of the lake.
post #6 of 18

Cheap ski package at Cal-Neva resort

Dave,
The Cal-Neva casino resort, www.calneva.com, has great package prices, midweek $79/night *including free lift tix to many surrounding areas & free ski shuttle from the hotel*. Alpine Meadows is included; there's a small supplement for Squaw. The 2 areas have equivalent snow, views, challenge. Alpine is a MUCH better deal if you buy your own tix: $39 vs. Squaw-- $62, I think. If you have a car and want more steeps [& possibly better snow b/c it's higher] the drive to Kirkwood is an option. No shuttle service to get there.

For more local news on discounts, check out www.slidingonthecheap.com.

I'm headed there w friends on Sunday from snow-starved Oregon. BIG snowstorm headed for Tahoe over the weekend!! Enjoy your stay!
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys - this is all really helpful. Just one more stupid question - what exactly is a 'condo'? From what I can infer it looks like what we would call a 'self-catering apartment'. Is that right?
post #8 of 18
condo = apartment = flat to a renter. condo is a living quarter in a large complex that is individually owned but centrally managed in the common areas. Whether a condo has cooking facility is not a criteria but 99% of condos have cooking facility. As a renter, you are renting the condo as a room in a hotel with or without room service(depends on the terms).
post #9 of 18
Fall out of bed and walk to ski and pubs? not for cheap at squaw. crystal bay and truckee are too far for me. I like the Travelodge in Tahoe City and think it fits your bill pretty close:

- no in-house restaurant, but easy one block walkto either pub by fanny bridge, or to decent number of restaurants on lake in other direction. closer to squaw than crystal bay, reasonable room rates.

I think you should just hang around north lake if you're gonna ski for just a few days. too much of a drive between north and south lake. depends on your skiing level too. kirkwood does have more 'serious' skiing, but so does squaw, and you are like just a few miles away at tahoe city.
post #10 of 18
Just went to the Tahoe region for the first time. I have some knowledge, but hardly an expert on the area. What kind of skiing do you like? If affordable proximity to slopes in a lively district is more important than huge expanses of terrain/steeps, then staying at a place like Harrah's at Stateline NV next to Heavenly might be your cup of tea. The town of Stateline has gambling related venues including entertainment shows, bars, restaurants, etc., and a gondola connects the center of the town to the heart of the ski slopes at Heavenly. From Stateline/South Lake Tahoe it is about a 45 minute drive to Kirkwood ski area which has nice mix of above and below treeline terrain, including much advanced terrain, if you wanted to get out and use the rental car one day of your 4 day visit. Personally, I preferred the terrain of the latter of those two resorts, but views of the Lake from Heavenly are...heavenly. Relatively high number of Brits at Heavenly (10%?) during my recent visit.
I did not get to north side of Lake Tahoe. Squaw is supposed to have it all terrain-wise. Stevescho's suggestion of Tahoe City might be good base, but not within walking distance to a ski lift, must drive to any ski venues - close to Squaw, Alpine and Northstar, all worthy of one or more days of skiing. Travelodge motels are usually decent, but not luxurious, but hard for a Brit not to have a good time at a place within walking distance of a pub beside a bridge called Fanny!
A condo (short for condominium) is a self catered apt, and somewhat overkill for a single individual, usually the smallest sleep 4-6 people. Very few lodgings options in the US offer a room with just a "single" bed, especially at a significantly reduced rate over a room with a bed built for two adults. You might find something like that at a "Bed and Breakfast" place, but in the US those are often rather upscale establishments and a room even with two beds at a standard motel (like Travelodge) will be cheaper for a single traveler.
post #11 of 18
Dave,

We are right in the middle of a big storm in the Tahoe area. Most resorts have received about 36" - 48" since Saturday March 19, and the storm is supposed to last a couple more days. By the time you arrive it should be great conditions.

Squaw Valley is a very nice, but very expensive place, both to ski and to stay. I believe that it has the highest single day lift ticket prices in the area. It also has some of the best terrain.

Only you can decide what is more important to you, money or time. You could get some better prices in KIngs Beach, but it is a 35 minute drive. The Biltmore offers some package deals that are pretty good if you don't mind the 40-45 drive. (Of course if you stay at the Biltmore, you can also save with the low priced Prime Rib and the $2.49 breakfast special)

There is a Best Western just at the South end of Truckee that is not too pricey. It would be probably 15-20 minutes from Squaw Valley. There would not be much within walking distance from there.

If you want to stagger to the lifts as they open, you will have to stay at Squaw and that will be expensive. Again you have to do the cost benefit analysis.

I love to ski at Squaw Valley, but with Alpine only charging $39 for a lift ticket, it is hard to justify going to Squaw Valley very often. Of course if I traveled half way around the world I would want to ski at the best.

Kirkwood is a LOONG way from Squaw Valley, but it is a gem.

Just my random thoughts.


Wristshot
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wristshot
Of course if I traveled half way around the world I would want to ski at the best.
Well, I've done the cost/benefit analysis and decided to splash out on a 1 bed condo at the Village at Squaw (although I did find a good web deal which brought the price down quite a bit). Your last comment really brought home to me that this is probably a once in a lifetime trip, so why not spoil myself?!

I've got 6 days skiing, and will probably spend a couple of them at one or more of the other resorts (I may even break the habit of a lifetime and get up early to make the drive to Kirkwood!).

Many thanks all for your advice and suggestions - you've been a great help. I'll try and post a trip report when I get back.

Cheers all,
Dave
post #13 of 18
Hola! Which website for the webdeal you found? I'm going there Dec. 2005.

All the best.
post #14 of 18
We stayed in a 1 bedroom condo at the Village at Squaw 2 weeks ago. It was nice (very clean, excellent service, good internet access), and so convenient to the lifts and several restaurants/bars. You'll be first in the lift line, and you can quickly return to the condo at the end of the day to change clothes, etc. before you head out for apres-ski.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Hola! Which website for the webdeal you found? I'm going there Dec. 2005.

All the best.
¡Hola a tí también, Gpaul!

It's a British website called Expedia, so I'm not sure it'll be any good to you. This is the url for Sqaw:

http://www.expedia.co.uk/

Just do a search with 'Olympic Valley' as the city name on the hotels page. They are currently offering a 20% discount in April (i.e 5 nights for the price of 4).

Good luck!

Dave
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by padams
We stayed in a 1 bedroom condo at the Village at Squaw 2 weeks ago. It was nice (very clean, excellent service, good internet access), and so convenient to the lifts and several restaurants/bars. You'll be first in the lift line, and you can quickly return to the condo at the end of the day to change clothes, etc. before you head out for apres-ski.
Sounds just my cup of tea! Can't wait to get out there now.
post #17 of 18

Try Plumpjack

Dave - Do yourself a favor & hit the bar at Plumpjack. I was there last night with my wife and we had a nice meal (at the bar, no less) & chatted with quite a few cool & nice looking folks.

Squaw is great right now. Have a great time.
post #18 of 18

www.expedia.com

Just for clarification's sake, the Expedia travel site is a Microsoft Corp. spin-off, with HDQ outside of Seattle WA [my brother works for them--]. Don't know if US viewers will get the same deal you found on the UK site, but the US URL is www.expedia.com

Glad you got a decent deal-- enjoy the slopes! [& try out the hip new tapas/music place Zenbu in the Squaw base area, if you're so inclined; better than the average slopeside fare--]


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave B
¡Hola a tí también, Gpaul!

It's a British website called Expedia, so I'm not sure it'll be any good to you. This is the url for Sqaw:

http://www.expedia.co.uk/

Dave
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