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Oakland area skiing info, please help a rookie western skier

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have never skied out west before and will be in the Oakland area on business the 2nd week of January. Hoping to get some skiing in on the weekend I am there. I am looking for recommendations on where to ski. I am an advanced level skier who likes carving on groomers, tree skiing and steeps. Which area would the locals recommend? What can I expect for weather this time of year? Do I need powder skis or can I use my trusty Volant T-3's? Is it possible to drive from Oakland to the Lake Tahoe ski areas? I am hearing that it is a really abd drive over the mountains is that true? Should I rent a 4 wheel drive or do I need chains with a front wheel drive rental car? Are there ski busses that run from Oakland to ski areas? How far of a drive is it? Any bears planning on skiing in this area that weekend that would like to hook up and guide a western skiing rookie? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks to all in advance.
post #2 of 4

You're coming into Tahoe on Hwy. 80,

which you can hop on in Oakland.

If you wanted to come in from the south, via Sacramento, you could take 80 to 50...

and sneak up on Sierra at Tahoe or Heavenly.

************************************************** *****


First turns of the year for me up there next week. Finally.

edit: HEY! I see that bus heads out to Kirkwood a couple times in January. That's the way to get out there, if you decide to. It can be a bit of a "driving experience" getting there in weather. But if there is weather, it's not a bad place to be. Note in prices/pickup stations/etc., that there is a "with-lift ticket" (and breakfast, i think) as well as a particular price ($55) for "ride only."

[ November 21, 2003, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #3 of 4
Whenever I’m in Lake Tahoe and Reno I always meet people from the Bay Area. I believe you can get to the North Shore areas in around 3 hours. Reno in 4. That said, since you are an advanced skier and never been out West I’d make the best in the area, Squaw, a high priority. Steeps, trees, great bowls and perfect cruisers. Try and go on a weekday. If you are there on a busy weekend, make it a Sunday. Come to think of it, every time I’ve been to Squaw it’s been on a weekend and the crowds were never bad... great lift system. The other two close by places to check out are Squaw’s neighbor Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl. Alpine has a funky old school feel to it much like Alta with a lot of hikes and traverses to get to some of the best stuff. Sugar Bowl is actually closer coming from the Bay area and may be a good first day especially if it is a Saturday. Fewer crowds, smaller mountain with great terrain, tons of snow, and a great introduction to western skiing. It really is the best secret in Tahoe.
Heading over 7,200 foot Donner Summit in a snow storm can be bad if not closed. If it’s snowing hard, chains or 4WD will be mandatory. I-80 is a major interstate between NV and CA so the crews do a great job of keeping it clear.
The way things are shaping up out West, the second week of January should be great. Your skis will be fine. If it’s a powder day, rent some fat boards from one of the numerous shops in and around Truckee.
AC and dchan are the resident locals who lurk around here. They’ll be able to add more if needed.
Have fun!
post #4 of 4
it's about 2.5-3.0 hours from Oakland to Sugarbowl with no traffic.
About .5 further to Squaw, Alpine or Northstar.

It's required by law to carry chains in CA during the winter. A lot of people don't and generally if there is a chance of snow, or it is snowing you will get turned back by the CHP. If you get caught inside a chain control area without chains I believe there is a pretty hefty fine. Also if you wait until you get up to the chain areas the price of chains goes up about 300%

Weather is variable from day to day. Example, Last month we went from record heat (triple digit weather around Sacramento) to below freezing temps in about 2 days. It was in the 70's 3 days ago, tonight we expect to see frost and if any moisture makes it in the snow level will be around 2500. Weather in Tahoe can be 50's at noon and white out snow conditions in a few hours. So you have to be ready for anything. The roads are mountain roads and often winding so if you plan to drive and absolutly need to get around, get a 4x4. If you can live with getting stuck or scrubbing your plans, go with the chain's. (Note, many rental car companies no longer allow you to put chains on their vehicles)

Sugarbowl has some of the best "hidden stashes of steeps" in Tahoe. Why would ESKI base his camp there!

Look us up when the time get's closer.
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