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Lake Tahoe newbie

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Two adults skiers and two teenage snowboarders would like to spend a week in the snow at Lake Tahoe. No interest in casinos or nightlife, just 5-6 full days of intermediate to advanced riding and skiing. Parks are of mild interest but the snowboarders mainly like the trails and the trees. Ski school for the teenagers is a plus.

Is Heavenly the place for me?
Should I consider visiting 2 different resorts?

How is the drive from San Fran in the winter? It looks like a four hour drive in good weather. Is this a well maintained fast road?

Thanks in advance.

- Southbound123
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by southbound123 View Post
Two adults skiers and two teenage snowboarders would like to spend a week in the snow at Lake Tahoe. No interest in casinos or nightlife, just 5-6 full days of intermediate to advanced riding and skiing. Parks are of mild interest but the snowboarders mainly like the trails and the trees. Ski school for the teenagers is a plus.

Is Heavenly the place for me?
Should I consider visiting 2 different resorts?

How is the drive from San Fran in the winter? It looks like a four hour drive in good weather. Is this a well maintained fast road?

Thanks in advance.

- Southbound123
Heavenly is a good choice. Doing a day trip to Kirkwood might be nice if the roads are clear.

Since you are not interested in the Casino, you might look at North Lake Tahoe. Squaw or Tahoe City would be the place to base your trip out of. It is much easily to go to different resorts in North Lake Tahoe. The access roads for Squaw and Alpine Meadows are about a mile apart.

SF - South Lake Tahoe on HW50. 4 hours sound right for good roads and no traffic. So not Friday night and not leaving SFO during the evening commute. Get a 4X4 or buy chains. Depending where chain controls go into effect, it can be a minor delay (30min to 1hrs) to major delay to road closure. so be prepared with a full tank of gas, food, water and access to warm clothes.

SF-North Lake Tahoe on interstate 80. Again 4 hours is about right. Same holds for chain controls. You get get to go over Donner summit and right by where those people got stranded...

BTW: Flying into Reno would make the driving easier and shorter.


Edit: for Bay Area traffic conditions call 511 or go to http://www.511.org. On the way back to SFO, you will definitely want to check with 511. Bay Bridge can back up during non-commute times and it is hit or miss on weekday evenings. Your alternate route would be the San Mateo bridge - CA92 south of SFO.
post #3 of 12
What StormDay said, more or less. Although if you're concerned about roads, North Lake via "all weather" I-80 is probably a better call than US-50 to SLT; at least you get two lanes each direction. Chain controls are dealable, particularly if you know where they are and how to get around them. This is a good place to start. I make the drive from the mid-peninsula to North Lake two out of three weekends during the winter.

As far as specific resorts, what do you like to ski, and are you looking to change or challenge that? When are you thinking about going? How price-sensitive are you?
post #4 of 12
A couple links to put into your web enabled phone...

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/i80

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/us50
post #5 of 12

Tahoe

Stormday, First, yes I live in Idaho now but skied Tahoe for 30 years. To more intelligently answer some of your questions: Where are you going to stay,i.e., cabin, hotel, condo, private etc. Do you want to cook, Bkfast, Lunch, Dinner. What kind of terrain for all of you. Are you going to include a weekend in your trip, when you going, how do you feel about crowds, eating on the hill, weather, ski schools etc. Give us a little infor on yourself and group and I am sure you will get some good replys. ALSO, welcome to Epic and enjoy.
post #6 of 12
I assume you do not live in the Bay Area if you are asking about I80. If you're flying in from somewhere, go to Reno, not San Francisco--a much, much shorter drive, about 40 minutes. SLT and Heavenly are fine. You might also consider a condo at Northstar. Unless you like to jump off cliffs, Northstar is an almost perfect family resort. You would never have to worry about kids. Snow grooming is the best in the Tahoe basin. There are lots of family type activities. There is a wide choice of great intermediate runs and plenty of runs to challenge the advanced skier. Only the true expert would be bored.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
No interest in casinos or nightlife
I would definitely base North Tahoe instead of South for more skiing variety. Unless it's past mid-March when the higher resorts South will preserve snow better.
post #8 of 12

North Tahoe a good choice

Squaw, Alpine, Northstar are all on North Shore and nice ski resorts. You can't go wrong staying in Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Northstar, Squaw. Free shuttles and a nice selection of restaurants. Very low key casinos in Crystal Bay area - unlike the south shore.

I've stayed at Squaw (in the village and pricey) and Heavenly (Harvey's casino priceline deal)- prefer Squaw and the North Shore but it's all good skiing. :

There are cabins, cheap hotels, luxury resorts, B&Bs, you name it. I spent a couple days on West Shore at a B& B and skied Homewood on X-mas day one year - priceless.

Truckee has a new Hampton Inn close to Northstar. Can also stay in Reno and save $ on lodging at the big casino hotels but it's 30-45 minutes to the ski resorts.

Good luck and have fun! that's what it's all about......
post #9 of 12
Heavenly and Kirkwood are fine; if you need more variety you can try SAT (sierra at tahoe) one day.

Squaw and Alpine would be fine too. Homewood for a third, if you try that. I don't get much of a kick out of northstar...too much grooming for my taste. Long food lines/slow service. Long walk from parking to lift.

More open bowls at squaw and alpine vs. more trees at heavenly and kirkwood. Some very advanced stuff (steeps, cliffs/cornices) at squaw and kirkwood, if that's a consideration. Whatever suits you.

I ski more south but north is worthwhile; I wouldn't try to mix north and south shore - too much driving on windy, slippery road around lake, which is frequently closed for plowing/avalanche control.
post #10 of 12
^they normally only close half of the road around the lake (the part around Emerald Bay is generally shut down all winter and never plowed) the East Side of the lake road is always open.

though, agreed, you don't really want to be driving back and forth from NS to SS.

here's the basic break down:

South Shore you have Sierra at Tahoe, Kirkwood, and Heavenly. Both S@T and KW are a ways out of SLT proper, while Heavenly is smack dab in the middle of the casinos. There is no street parking during the day time in SLT around Heavenly, so either you need to be at a hotel/motel with a shuttle or pay for parking (unless you drive to the free lots @ Heavenly). S@T has a shuttle that runs from SLT to the mountain. I don't think KW does. Both are a bit of a drive if you decide to ride them and are staying in SLT (which is really the only place to stay).

North Shore you will have the option of accessing a lot more hills.
Sugar Bowl, Boreal (mostly park skiing here), Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Homewood, and Northstar, also a short jog to Incline.

In terms of where to stay you have Truckee, Tahoe City, and Kings Beach.

While there are casinos on North Shore, they aren't as glitzy (though this is a relative term since none of the casinos in Tahoe/Reno are as glitzy as Vegas) and are further away (i.e. you'll have to drive 30-45 minutes from either Truckee or TC). That said, they offer some cheaper lodging options (though you will be further away from the hills, so you get what you pay for).

In terms of how all the resorts weigh out, Heavenly, Squaw, and Northstar are set up more as "destination" resorts with villages at the base and all the amenities you would expect. KW, AM, SB, HW are a bit more local and presently set up for day trading only (i.e. ski in for the day, drive out).

In terms of size, Squaw and Heavenly are definitely the BIG boys with the most acreage. Then you'd probably have North Star, followed by KW, AM, S@T, and SB.

Lodging options are probably going to be greater and overall cheaper in SLT and you could easily spend 3 days trapsing around Heavenly and still not hit everything, then take day trips to S@T and KW to round things out. If you want it to stay mean and lean and compact, that's probably the way to go.

If you want to ski at a different slope every day, then I'd go Nort Shore, stay in Truckee and hit Sugarbowl, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw, and then maybe Northstar (trick is to ski the backside here or you'll get stuck in gridlock on the frontside blues) or Homewood (which is small, but friendly).
post #11 of 12
There is a shuttle from SLT to KW. It takes reservations. It's either that or be there and parked NLT 8:30 am or you could be F'd due to the limited parking. It's a ways, I'm guessing ~45-60 minutes from SLT, depending on traffic and road conditions (often icy, chain controls)?
post #12 of 12
just checked out http://www.dryday.com/30dayWeather/U...outh+Lake.html

starting to get rather worried.

any long range forecasters out there wanna give me some heads up on upcoming systems???
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