M-Man, you can get from SFO to Reno on Southwest Airlines, United, and others. Fares are reasonable, and can usually be arranged as a continuation of your international flight after passing through customs in SFO. You may even be able to find commuter flights directly to South Lake Tahoe. You could rent a car and being mindful to drive on the right, reach South Lake in about 4 to 4.5 hours from the airport. Renting a car has a lot of advantages if you want to do things like tour San Franciso, the wine country, or reach alternative ski areas.
The casinos: Harvey's, Horizon, Ceasars, Harrahs, all have reasonable accomodations, and encourage you to party and spend. There are hundreds of hotel rooms ranging from 5-Star to Roach Hotel In State Line and South Lake, and most are within walking distance to bars, casinos and restaurants. You can be assured that you won't be the only ones partying, and thats why I can always count on first chair being uncrowded in the morning. Crowds don't seem to reach the slopes on Heavenly until about 11:00 AM. There is a bus system in town that can take you to other ski areas, and to the Heavenly lifts, and of course the Gondola is now just a block from the Casinos. If you are by any chance coming for skiing, there are numerous other ski areas nearby, including Kirkwood, Sierra, and a bit farther away, Rose, Northstar, Squaw, Homewood, Alpine and Sugarbowl.
Avoid Presidents day and Martin Luther King holiday weekends on these dates:
- 01.13.2007 - 01.14.2007
- 02.17.2007 - 02.18.2007
Other than that, anytime in the dates you outlined will work fine and should have plenty of snow.