or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need some Tahoe Help...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My buddy and I are doing to do Tahoe this year and would love some input on where to stay/ What Mtns are the best to ski.

A little background about us. We have done Alta/Snowbird Jackson Hole And Whistler. We like it steep and deep and love the trees. We will be going from a monday-saturday sometime in Feb probobly. Any advice on what Mtns we should ski? Also any good places to stay that won't break the bank? Lastly What month typically gets the monst snow out there?

post #2 of 10
Well, you post leave it pretty wide open. Each of the Tahoe areas offers a unique experience.

Kirkwood is the highest elevation and offers very steep pitches and the deepest lightest snow. It is located adjacent to wilderness areas 30 to 40 minutes from South Lake Tahoe so its remote and is skiing oriented rather than after-ski. Skiing this mountain is an adventure that can combine backcountry and lift-served resort skiing. To get the most out of it, take a lesson/tour with Expedition Kirkwood. Without a guide, you won't find the best lines in a short visit. Most lifts are slow. Make sure to get a day or two here.

Heavenly is our version of Vail. Instead of back bowls we have Motts and Killebrew canyons. Learn to navigate the mountain to avoid the crowds, and this can be a great place. It has some great backcountry if you are equipped and trained.

Sierra at Tahoe is a predominately intermediate mountain with no crowds on weekdays. Some of the best tree skiing in Tahoe and a backcountry shot called Hucklberry Canyon. If you want to get the most out of this, get an instructor guide or you will spend the day on some of the fastest 2000 vertical groomers you have ever enjoyed. Its all high speed lifts and its not what you think.

Squaw Valley: go and be seen. Loads of terrain, lifts and lots of challenges. Steep but the deep will last maybe 2-hours on a powder day. the best skiers in the world are here. Come prepared to be humble.

Alpine Meadows: Family oriented with lots of terrain and open boundaries. Plenty of steep and the deep holds out better.

My recommendation? Quick, get a Tahoe 6-Pack now and mix it up.
post #3 of 10


Grouper 20. Yes I know I live in No. Idaho now, but skied Tahoe for over 30 years.

Agree on Kirkwood, highest great off piste if you can wangle a guide or meet up with someone from Epic.

I don't like Heavenly too many people.

Squaw for steeps etc., but on a powder day I never go to Squaw as the ski patrol, ski instructors and local hot shots will have the good lines done in by 930 unless its an epic day.

On a powder day I headed to Mt. Rose, Homewood or even Diamond Peak. At these locations you can still ski untracted or almost untracked until about 1 pm. Midweek the powder sleeper is Diamond Peak in the trees off the ridge. Homewood is never crowded as the parking lot isn't big enough to have lift lines. Taught at Homewood and Dia Peak and theres a lot of good powder/tree skiing and a real lact of peoples.

You/re coming midweek so thats good as tahoe is primarily a weekend and holiday area as far as crowds go.

Also take a look at Sugar Bowl. I have a very good friend who I know would love to meet you there and act as guide etc.

Lodging. Two real inexpensive alternatives. Rent a home or cab in in the area. Watch going thru the resort real estate people. Then there is the Tahoe Biltmore Hotel and Casino, No. shore. Good prices on room, breakfst included, food very reasonable etc.

Here's my ski area ratings (my opinions only):

Kirkwood. Big, varied, good snow, midweek no poeple Rate a 9
Squaw. Big, steeps, windy some times, can be crowded
esp. weekends, Mgt and people suck. Skiing good Rate 8
Alpine Meadows. Good skiing, varied, good b ack side
trerrible food, good skiing 7
SugarBowl. Like the bowl, good snow almost better than
Kirkwood, midweek no people, good steeps,
powder. Judah lodge, get there at 8 am and
park right in front, good breakfast whlle waiting
for lfits to open. 8
Homewood. No crowds, good powder skiing espec. in trees,
pretty protected on bad weather days,great
view of lake. pretty limited on challenge 6
Diamond Peak. Med. size Mt. the real nice thing about Dia Pk
is on a powder day I have skied good pow
until 1-2 pm, in the trees on W side of ridge.
Good food, good view nice area 6
Northstar. Goomers - intermediate area. Long upper inter
bump run on backside, Some pretty steep but
relatively sort steep skiing. Can be very crowded
even midweek. Also most of the runs meet some-
where at the bottom and can make you slow down 5
Mt. Rose. Uncrowded, very high and sometimes has good snow
has some real expert areas. Watch weather, not
protected. 6

Heavenly. Has some good skiing in Motts Canyon. I jsut don't
like heavenly, too many people and most of them
are yuppies who don't have a clue. Yes I'm sure My 2
there are some great people that ski there but
I don't like Heavenly.

Real nutshell compiliation but you asked. I'd say the cabin through a private party if there is enough of you to make worthwhile. If not then Tahoe Biltmore is good bet. The rooms in back are a little more spartan than the hotel but you can park right next to room and for a few guys its just a place to sleep and is clean and fine for that.

Ran the International Firefighter winter Games (6 day event) and used Biltomroe as host hotel. Guys loved it, cheap, clean, funcgtional, good inexpensive food and free booze etc.

Good luck have nice visit. Oh yea weather. In my 30 year memory of Tahoe the biggest dumps are usually March. However there sure have been some memorable exceptions to that.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot guys. I am definitely getting pumped up for this years trip!!
post #5 of 10
You asked what the best snow month is in Tahoe. Historical averages show that February typically sees the most snow, followed by January. However, in my experience, March is typically the better month to ski -- it will snow, and you'll take advantage of the warming trend that we love in the Sierra, as well as rapidly diminishing crowds.

Some additional information would be useful. Are you looking for a pure skiing experience, or nightlife as well? Do you like to ski a single mountain for a week, or flit from one to the next? What's your budget? Car or shuttles? Etc.

If you want to hit multiple hills, you probably want to do the North Shore. I've skied Alpine (obviously), Squaw, and Sugar Bowl, all of which have their charms as identified above, and from what I've heard, Rose is a really sweet hill too (and closest to the airport, assuming that you want to ski on a flight day). If I were spending six days in North Tahoe with a car, I'd spend two each at Squaw and Alpine, and a day each at Sugar Bowl and Rose. If a windy storm day came up, I'd think about redirecting to Homewood.

For a single hill for a week, with no budgetary issue (i.e., staying at the base and eating out), I'd go for Squaw.

Good deals are found at www.slidingonthecheap.com.

But the most important thing to do to maximize your time at any of these hills may be to try to hook up with locals. Much of the best skiing is not obviously best. At Alpine, for instance, some of my favorite tree skiing -- Gentian's Gully and the Promised Land -- is off Scott Chair, but those areas are poorly marked, and a wrong turn can easily leave you below the lifts. And much of the best steep and deep lines -- Keyhole, Estelle, etc. -- are accessed by a five or ten minute hike, and you'll want to know where you're going.
post #6 of 10
Tahoe is great, IF the weather helps. I'll bet on you, here is my take:

Heavenly is TRAVERSE city, and no good steeps ´cept for Mott/Kbrew, and the Face.
Homewood, a small local place, is FANTASTIC, albeit slow lifts.
Sierra definitely worth 1 day.
Squaw, 1 day.
Everybody raves about Kwood, especially for your likes, I'd put that número 1 on your list.

Get the SixPack NOW, they run out very fast, I MEAN IT.

Book a hotel room in South L. Tahoe, you´ll be amazed at cheap rates weekday. If you want to pay less than $20/night, look at specials in Reno for Squaw and SugarBOwl, and Mt. Rose.

We stayed at Ascuaga's in Reno for $45 during December! Moved down to the Best Western on SLT, great breakfast included in rate. Enjoy!

Not wanting to change your opinion, but after the 4 mountains you've skiied, you OWE IT to yourselves to look at MAMMOTH. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #7 of 10
I think February is on average the best month at Tahoe, though I would definitely say March for Mammoth. You can take those monthly averages with a grain of salt. The difference between 73 inch January average and 77 in February is inconsequential when the standard deviation is 45 inches. In the quoted case (Alpine Meadows) 1/4 of seasons get less than 3 feet in February and 1/3 of seasons get more than 8 feet.

Pete No. Idaho gave a good analysis. I agree with everyone about Kirkwood fitting your preferences best. Logistics of hitting Squaw and Kirkwood often in the same week are not great, especially if it dumps. So I recommend splitting the lodging time between North and South Shore.

And while on the subject of dumps, keep your plans flexible based on weather. Alpine and Squaw are very restricted during storms for avalanche control. And much maligned Heavenly is at its best in storms, as it cuts down the crowds and the tree skiing there is excellent.

I also agree with Gpaul about Mammoth being the best overall mountain in the Sierra. But in February you should have enough at Tahoe to keep you very busy for a week. The exception might be if you get an unseasonable heat wave that makes the lower elevation snow mushy. Mammoth will have conspicuously better surface conditions then.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Tony I really like the idea of splitting up the north and south lake. Thanks for that suggestion.

Thanks again to all of you for your input!
post #9 of 10


Ditto on Mammoth. I didnt mention because not in Tahoe. 2.5 hours driving time south of South Shore on 395. I have skied Mammoth every year for 23 years and love it, really big with some great advanced/expert terrain. Midweek nonholiday not crowded but beware of weekends. Mammoth has a base elevation of 8600 feet so snow is usually very good. I always go end of Feb or lst of March. Sometimes powder sometimes you need 50 sunblock, but always fun and good skiing.
post #10 of 10
Tony's suggestion of a North/South split is an excellent one.

Again, if you want to avoid car rental, you may be able to make the move by mass transportation. I haven't ridden the Tahoe Queen, but as I understand it, it's basically a party boat between Tahoe City and SLT. Sounds like a great way to end the day and move your gear.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel