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Tips for Tahoe?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
well, the Tahoe trip is looming - we get in on April 2 for a week. Normally, I do 'me-only' trips; just get a 'plane ticket and a rental car and see what happens...and end up skiing myself silly for a week and chilling out over beers. The fun is in the exploration and the unexpected.

But, with the family coming with me for the first time ever (no doubt to keep an eye on me after last years little 'incident' in Chamonix), I'm going to have to be a bit more prepared.

We're staying at Harrahs in Heavenly, but my plan would be to do a few 'day trips' to other areas; in particular I want to see/ski Squaw and Kirkwood. But, since my wife is a real timid intermediate I'll be in big trouble if I take her anywhere that looks intimidating. But, I guess I'll be pretty bored if all there is is flat! So, where do you folks suggest for 'day trips' from Heavenly that are real beginner/intermediate friendly, but also have some steeps that I could escape to for an hour or so?

And with a rental car is it best to drive everywhere, or are shuttles/busses a better bet?

What about gear rental also. I'm taking all my stuff, but the wife and 'kids' will be renting. I have found out Harrahs do rent skis/boards, and it would be convenient. But are there better places for selection/quality/price in Heavenly?

And what is there to do in the evenings that my son and daughter (20 and 17) can get included in. Here, in Scotland, the age for bars is 18, so my son is used to having a beer or two, and my daughter can drink wine with means. We do come to the States a couple of times each year (usually summer and Xmas) so they're used to the draconian drink laws, but we're usually in 'vacation' areas so there's plenty to do. I gather they won't be allowed in Casinos either? Any suggestions for things to do/places to visit that will include a 17 and 20 year old?

And any other tips welcome.

Oh, and if anyone spots me/us on the hill, say Hi! I'm the old-ish bloke with an orange jacket, black pants and [blue] Scott Aztec Pro skis...and no helmet. And I'll be skiing slow, probably on painkillers, as the darned leg has gotten painful again!
post #2 of 17
You're on the South end so Sierra, Kirkwood and Mt Rose work. If the family doesn't mind extra time in the car then Squaw works. But the wife will probably happy with the first 3 mentioned.

Have fun.
post #3 of 17
Mt rose close to heavently?? not really, it wouldn't be worth the drive
post #4 of 17
You probably shouldn't miss the chance to ski Squaw and there is a lot of terrain available for an intermediate (although it is more demanding than say Northstar).

Sierra at Tahoe has a lot of terrain that I think your wife would like. Kirkwood could also work well for both of you. Can't comment on Mt. Rose as I haven't been there.
post #5 of 17
I will drive if the weather is good. Here is the Kirkwood shuttle schedule

I agree with powderhound100 about Mt Rose. It is near Reno and is on the North.

You can also consider take your wife Alpine Meadow and Sugar bowl.

If you go to Squaw, Gold Coast Express is a easy blue. Home Run from the high camp is easy and long.
post #6 of 17
Sugar Bowl is too far from South Lake to be worth it.

You can get to Squaw (and Alpine too, I think) on the Tahoe Queen water shuttle from South Lake. Google is your friend. But it's a big pain to get between North and South Lake for a day trip.

I don't know the South Lake shops; you might want to ask on Snowpals.

I used to ski Squaw all the time when my wife wasn't ready to go off the blues. The nice thing about the mountain layout is that there are many blue runs (particularly on the lower mountain, off the Red Dog and Squaw Creek lifts) that have black or double-black detours off them. So we used to start a run together, then I'd peel off down something more challenging and join up with her towards the end of the run. Best of both worlds. The only caution is that depending on what the weather does over the next couple of weeks, the lower mountain may be useless. Keep an eye on it, though.

Alpine has the benefit of a higher base lodge than Squaw. There are also more difficult lines or detours down much of the blue terrain. I just haven't done that as much since we started skiing Alpine three seasons ago, because my wife got a lot better.
post #7 of 17
Squaw and maybe Kirkwood and Alpine Meadow. You can pretty much forget the rest.

For rentals, try this guy.

Children are allowed in casino, just not gambling. There are bars, dancing, and movie theaters, and that sort of thing. But really there are not much to do at night.

I never drive at South Tahoe. Everything is within walking distance. You can even take a shuttle bus to Kirkwood and Squaw. No driving is required.
post #8 of 17

You can't go wrong anywhere you go. Heavenly has tons of intermediate terrain, but then again so does Sierra. The entire West Bowl area is blue. Kirkwood has lots of intermediate terrain in play right now, but its all served by slow lifts. Whereever you go, you won't have lift lines, plenty of snow and easy driving. All roads are in good condition right now. Spring skiing is in full swing.

As far as rentals go, you will see places renting equipment on every corner in South Lake. This time of year, you might even be able to buy the stuff cheaper than renting. Make an offer.
post #9 of 17
1. Keep life easy-Heavenly-although mostly promoted as an intermediate-casino/ resort type place has the most varied terrain in Tahoe (great trees, great steeps, great bumps, groomers, he whole she-bang an in spades). I'm always amazed that Heavenly doesn't get more props on this forums in spite of it's outwardly glitzy demeanor. It's also absolutely beautiful. I would spend most, if not all of my time at heavenly heck, you're staying there-spend you're time skiing and not driving-honestly, there's everything you could want there. That's not to say that a trip to the other world class ski areas in Tahoe isn't warranted-but not an absolute necessity either.

2. If you were to make a side trip-the place to hit from the south shore is Kirkwood-one of the most unique resorts in greater tahoe (mind you-it's a bit of a trip--at the very edge of wha can be called 'tahoe'' but it serves up great off-piste skiing that most any level of skier can enjoy-cool vibe, too.

2a. In line with what's been said, I wouldn't abandon Heavenly for Sierra at Tahoe, Mt Rose or any other 'locals' favorite-great places-but save that for another trip-but, like has already been said, Kirkwood, Squaw and Alpine Meadows al should be given serious consideration (though I'll stand by my initial assertion that Heavenly has plenty of everything your family is looking for and you won't have to pack up and drive to get it!

3. Starting in April??? Brush up on your bump skills 'cause that's the name of the game in tahoe from there on out. Learn to play the exposure game as well (sheltered snow in the morning, warm snow in the midday, beer in the afternoon.

4. Sunscreen-that was very good advice!

5. Hot springs make a great side trip..

I'm on my way out to tahoe tomorrow for a week...
post #10 of 17
I forgot to say earlier that you should try to check whether Heavenly has any spring pass deals to dramatically reduce your investment.

I'm not as over-the-top-in-love with Heavenly as Liam -- I skied it only for one long weekend, five or six years ago, due to my wife's distaste for windy mountain two-lanes like US50. But I concur that it is an excellent intermediate mountain. It also has great lake views. And for where you're staying, you can't beat the convenience.
post #11 of 17
My wife and I stayed at Harvey's (across the street from & owned by Harrahs) last March. We skied Sierra, Squaw, and Mt. Rose. Going from memory it was about an hour to either Squaw or Mt. Rose. I loved Sierra and Mt. Rose. Squaw...well I have been there twice now and its never been in good weather/conditions so I am not a huge fan. Last year the top was frozen crusty snow and by midday the bottom half was think wet slop that nearly came to my boot tops. I would love to go back someday when conditions are perfect, but its not really on my must-do list any more. I skied Kirwood when I was in Tahoe in 1993 it seemed pretty cool. I would love to go back but I don't know that its a place my wife would like since she is still green skier at this point.

I do know that I want to go back to Mt. Rose in a good snow year. With the thin cover last year a lot of stuff I wanted to ski wasn't open but I was still impressed. My wife loved it and you really can't go wrong with it when you consider the price of their lift tickets. I thought Sierra was very cool as well. That trip was the first time where we skied the smaller areas and I would go back in a heart beat. The staff at Sierra was great and the whole resort seemed very family friendly.

Oh yeah, we drove every place. I don't like being on a schedule and we like to stop and take pictures and check out the scenery so driving made sense for us.
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
I'm not as over-the-top-in-love with Heavenly as Liam
Personally I think Heavenly is the best resort in the South Tahoe and possibly tie with Squaw as the best ski resort in Tahoe. Definitely much better than Kirkwood, as Kirkwood remove all the bumps to increase skiable area, whereas Heavenly has Little Dipper and the Face, arguably the only two long mogul runs in the entire Tahoe Basin. Furthermore, Mott Canyon is as steep as anything that you can find anywhere in Tahoe.

So one can let the family ski the regular blue stuffs in Heavenly, while challenging yourself with some steep and bumpy skiing.
post #13 of 17
- Get or make a driving map if you want to drive from Reno to Tahoe to Reno.
- If you intend to take the shuttle, call them ahead and see if you need to make reservations. I didn;t and had to wait for two hours for the next one. But that was in Feb.
- Don't bring skis. Tons of rental places. I would recommend Powder House, they have three rental shops within a mile of each other in Heavenly.
- Ski Heavenly. The views make the experience worth it. Bring a small point and shoot camera. Skiing is great too even for intermediate skiers. In fact, the skiing is great for intermediate skiers.
post #14 of 17
I did demo some Stockli skis while I was there last year. I believe the shop was House of Ski. They had good service, the skis were in good shape, and most importantly they had the skis I wanted to try. They seems to have a pretty good selection of higher end equipment.
post #15 of 17
make the drive out to kirkwood and squaw, those are the 2 to ski and when's the next time you will be there and the drive to kirkwood seems longer than to squaw, IMO.
there are plenty of easy blue's on heavenly, kirkwood and squaw, just ask the mountain guides before getting on the lifts; they won't steer you wrong.
post #16 of 17
"Mott Canyon is as steep as anything that you can find anywhere in Tahoe."

I take it you haven't seen what Squaw has to offer. Simply some of the sickest terrain anywhere!!!
An early intermediate might find the place pretty intimidating as they do not mark trails, only areas. Wrong turns there can be very costly.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies folks. Just finished packing! Spending a day in SF, then on to Tahoe on the 1st.

I don't know if it's on the US news, but British Airways have just moved to a new terminal in London (T5), and it's a total screw-up - they've already delayed/lost 15,000 bags since Thursday when it opened, and we have to change there tomorrow morning : . Normally we do Edinburgh-Newark when going over to the US...and transfer there, but BA were less exensive than Continental this time and it was a slightly shorther flight time in total. Seemed a good decision when I booked

Anyway, we've managed to pack pretty much all the clothing into hand luggage - so if we get there, the clothing gets there! But the real challenge is if my ski gear gets through. Its exactly 1 year and 2 days since my tib/fib break, so I'm still being a bit cautious; and real keen to use my own gear! The Salamon boots were the only ones that weren't agony with the metalwork still in place (after years on Lange); I've understantably gone off the idea of real wide tipped skis so the Scotts are great, and I'm happy with the every-which-way release mojos. I really do hope the ski box gets through.

That apart I'm really looking forward to this, so if anyone's on the hill and spots a helmetless bloke with an orange jacket and black pants....and just maybe a pair of Scott Aztec Pros , say Hi!

And thanks for the tips. I certainly plan to fit in Squaw and Kirkwood too.

Tahoe beckons :
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