EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › tahoe tips for a midwestern skier needed
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

tahoe tips for a midwestern skier needed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
hello--

my wife is what would be considered an intermediate skier by our "midwestern mountains ranges" here in the chicago area, which i'd translate as being a capable skier on a green run at squaw.  she can do controlled sharp turns to stop, and is going on year three and is in great shape.  i'm looking at tahoe between christmas & new years, and was looking for some suggestions as to the best mountains for her level, especially offering long runs.  here we're talking 1/2 mile if you include the parking lots :).

thanks for your help!
mark
post #2 of 17
You realize taht you are going skiing the busiest week of the year.  Expect crowds crowds crowds.  Especially at the "name" resorts. That said....

The name that springs to mind when asking about "easy" and "Tahoe" is Northstar, aka "Flatstar". Almost every destination resort has terrain that caters to beginners & intermediates.  Northstar just has more than most. The  thing is, destination resorts tend to be crowded especially the easier terrain, which can be intimidating in itself.  Still, I'd say Northstar should be on your short list, unless you're really crowd averse.

Hevenly is a Vail resort.  Vail Resorts didn't get where they are today by ignoring the huge mediocre skier market.  Plenty to ski there for you wife, but it'll be crowded.

If I were doing XMas week I'd hide out at Homewood, arguably the least crowded of the Tahoe Resorts.  Not a lot of green trails there, but if she can step up to the blues there's lots.  If she can't, there are a couple of top to bottom easy green runs.  If your'e in the neighborhood, you could do much worse than a day there.

Diamond Peak tends to be less crowded than the others, a definite plus for XMas week.  But the top to bottom blues might give her trouble. The green runs have limited vert, about 600'.  Yes this is twice the very of your home hills. I'd say one day, tops.

Mt Rose has one great long easy top to bottom run.  But there's not much else for the newbies.  It's blue runs are steeper than other Tahoe resorts, so don't look at the trailmap and think she can do the blues there.  It's a favorite among the locals in Reno (closest, dirt cheap season passes)  I'd probably skip it XMas week.  If you go, one day, tops, at Mt Rose.

The Sugar Bowl is also a good choice terrain-wise, but I'm unsure about crowds.  It's the closest big resort to the Bay area, so may get more traffic.

Sounds like you know Squaw.  I'll let your experience be your guide here....Alpine Meadows is pretty similar to Squaw terrain-wise, just without the type-A destination resort vibe.

I've never skied the smaller Tahoe resorts (Donner ski ranch, Boreal, Graniblanken, Soda Springs) mainly because I've never seen the point is flying across the country to ski a 500' vertical hill when I can do that here.  But some of these might meet your needs. 

Good luck, have fun.
post #3 of 17
Walt gives a pretty good description of Tahoe resorts and the crowd you can expect over that time period.  Expect 15 minute lift lines.  I've skied Tahoe for the past 18+ years and know much of it like the back of my hand.  Here's what I'd recommend for the wifey

Terrain wise:
1. Northstar - the whole resort is geared towards beginners and intermediates, lots of grooming, high speed lifts, gentle slopes, and families.  Their top to bottom run is No steeps or any true black diamonds to be found.  Northstar is very generous with their trail ratings, ie. their blacks are Squaw's blues.  The top to bottom is about 3 miles.

2. Sierra at Tahoe - Northstar's sister resort on the south shore.  Exact same description as Northstar, but smaller.  Sierra has the shortest runs out of all my recommended resorts, but I think its still over a mile long run from top to bottom.

3. Heavenly - A lot of carved out, long, groomed, blue trails (especially on the Nevada side).  Incredible views of the lake.  Its location and marketing make it very crowded.

4. Sugarbowl - Good intermediate terrain and is spread out enough, but will still be crowded.  Plenty of long runs, but they are all mainly intermediate.  If she's at least a level 5 skier, there will be plenty of runs at Sugarbowl.  However, depending on where you stay, Sugarbowl could be a longer drive.  Its at least 35 minutes away from Squaw.

5. Squaw - Only recommending Squaw because of the holiday week.  Squaw is so big, it spreads everyone out and won't be as crowded.  You can expect lift lines to be 15 min everywhere else, but Squaw's lines should be 5-10 min at most. 

Resort ammenities wise:
1. Northstar - Their village is top notch, for Tahoe.
2. Heavenly - Located IN South Lake Tahoe (Casinos, the lake, an actual town, not just a "resort village")
3. Squaw - Trying to built a decent village, but its still too small to provide that ski village experience.

To make it easy, if you're staying on the south shore (of lake tahoe), go to Sierra at Tahoe & Heavenly.  If you're staying in Reno or the northshore, go to Northstar & Squaw or maybe Sugarbowl.  
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
thanks so much for these great tips, gents.  i'm thinking a few great days of sierra skiing will hook her into a yearly trip.  the only thing now is will there be snow.  i lived in susanville for a few years in the 80's and christmas week in tahoe can either be a 10 foot base or big rocks and dirt :).

two more q's, pls:
are there any ski pass deals or is it still ala carte per day per hill?
what are the best economy minded places to stay?

again, thanks!!!!
mark
post #5 of 17
You can still buy a Heavenly season pass for $369 fut is restricted during holiday period. It costs nearly $600 for an unrestricted pass, and that is true at most ski areas.  There will be discounted multi-day passes and coupons that can be found, and a number of hotels and casinos will offer accommodation and ski packages.

I think the summaries of the resort's beginner and intermediate terrain are pretty good.  I would take some exception to Sierra at Tahoe being the shortest runs, because the resort serves 1650 to 1800 vertical in each lift-ride.  Most resorts require you to take several lifts to reach the top, Heavenly being especially noteworthy in that regard.   There is no question crowds are an issue on the Holiday, but they do spread out well, and the truth is, the tourists don't have all-day endurance at altitude.  Catch the early morning tracks, take a long lunch and ski to the closing bell to avoid the most crowds.  Heavenly can be good for that strategy as well, since downtown lake Tahoe is just a Gondola ride away, and you can avoid the on-slope dining chaos and price.
Edited by Cirquerider - 11/9/09 at 9:14am
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by berbes View Post

thanks so much for these great tips, gents.  i'm thinking a few great days of sierra skiing will hook her into a yearly trip.  the only thing now is will there be snow.  i lived in susanville for a few years in the 80's and christmas week in tahoe can either be a 10 foot base or big rocks and dirt :).

two more q's, pls:
are there any ski pass deals or is it still ala carte per day per hill?
what are the best economy minded places to stay?

again, thanks!!!!
mark


Deals?  Go to Snowbomb.com  I don't know if they're good at XMas, but it's deal-central for Tahoe.

Don't know about accomodation deals for XMas week.  "Far away" is probably your best bet.  Maybe Reno? Anything slopeside will be top dollar.  I usually rent a condo near the lake and drive to the slopes. 

Try http://www.enjoytahoe.com/ or
http://www.tahoeaccommodations.com/index.htm

Good luck.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post



Mt Rose has one great long easy top to bottom run.  But there's not much else for the newbies.  It's blue runs are steeper than other Tahoe resorts, so don't look at the trailmap and think she can do the blues there.  It's a favorite among the locals in Reno (closest, dirt cheap season passes)  I'd probably skip it XMas week.  If you go, one day, tops, at Mt Rose.




 

You might be surprised by Mt. Rose.  Even during Xmas week the lines don't get particularly serious as it is a locals resort rather than a destination resort.  And when you get to know it, plenty of variety!   Also has the same virtue as Cirque pointed out, only one high speed lift required to the top, unlike a lot of others where there are multiple lifts required to get you up.   Heavenly is probably the closest to the OPs requirements but will be busy that week.
post #8 of 17
My experience with Mt Rose is limited - one Saturday, late season, first weekend day after a big dump.  It was what I would call "Stupid Crowded".  Perhaps this is atypical, but I'd be reluctant to go there on a weekend again.  I'd definitely go back on a weekday.   I'd think twice before taking timid or low-level skiers there.  For the adept, I'd say go for it.
post #9 of 17
 Lodging deals, check out Grand Sierra Resort Hotel/Casino (formerly Reno Hilton) in Reno!  Two nights, one lift ticket, $30 food credit, $10 for either bowling or fun Quest all for $79.95  and there are free shuttles to various resorts including Rose, Northstar, Squaw, Alpine Meadows.  The hotel is located near the airport and withing an hour drive of eight or nine ski resorts.  As an added bonus my full service ski shop is located downstairs inside the hotel!

Northstar as noted above offers great grooming, long beginner and intermediate runs and some of the best tree skiing in all of Tahoe area and contrary to popular belief does have some decent expert terrain and good bump runs.  If it is busy and the lines are long, take a lesson and cut lines!  Northstar has one of the best ski schools in all of Tahoe as well!  Many high level PSIA instructors on staff and lots of staff training.
post #10 of 17
I have passes both at Donner Ski Ranch and Sugarbowl and can recommend both.  Sugarbowl has all the variety of terrain and a lot of fun to ski.  My wife is low intermediate and enjoys skiing there.  That said, when I just want to ski and have a ton of fun with friends and family, Donner Ski Ranch is really laid back, family owned place.  From the front, it does not look like much, but when you ski the 3 lifts on the back, its great.  The runs are shorter so you rest on the chairlift on the way up...and if there is 1 person in line on the backside....its crowded.  The lifties are great, the owner is loading chairs and smiling and the Ski Patrol are a fun group....did I mention that lift tickets are very reasonable....

just my 2 cents....
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

My experience with Mt Rose is limited - one Saturday, late season, first weekend day after a big dump.  It was what I would call "Stupid Crowded".  Perhaps this is atypical, but I'd be reluctant to go there on a weekend again.  I'd definitely go back on a weekday.   I'd think twice before taking timid or low-level skiers there.  For the adept, I'd say go for it.

Hmm,   perhaps the advice form a local might be a bit more informed then....
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post

Hmm,   perhaps the advice form a local might be a bit more informed then....

You would definitely have a better feel for the crowd patterns.  My data set is limited and  think I've been pretty up front about that. I skied over 40 days last season, and the most crowded day was at Mt Rose. Take that for what it is: a single data point.

As for how the terrain would be perceived by a low-level skier from the midwest, I think I have a better idea of that than a local would.  Mt Rose has  the steepest blues of any resort I've ever skied (except maybe Taos) .   That's not a criticism or an endorsement; it's just a statement of fact.
post #13 of 17
 I agree there, Mt. Rose rocks for advanced intermediates and experts and is good for beginners, however it is sorely lacking for low intermediates.
post #14 of 17
I know there was a requirement for long runs, but since Mount Rose and Sugar Bowl are on the table I am surprised that nobody mentioned Kirkwood.

Kirkwood often has more snow earlier (Sugar Bowl too,) Kirkwood is often less crowded. Kirkwood is one of the most beginner/intermediate-friendly mountains with plenty of advanced terrain. The off-piste skiing at Kirkwood adds a huge variety as well. Kirkwood is cheaper than a lot of the resorts too.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akathisia View Post

I know there was a requirement for long runs, but since Mount Rose and Sugar Bowl are on the table I am surprised that nobody mentioned Kirkwood.
Kirkwood is a great place, put it's quite far away, with very limited lodging. As Bud suggested, stay in Reno and visit a new North Shore resort everyday – all have pros and cons – decide which area you like best. The larger ones have shuttle services from Reno, so that's a good thing. Every place is crazy crowded the week between Christmas and New Year's – I recommend a ski holiday the week before Christmas – Christmas day is the best. Oh, and keep in mind that our blue runs will be steeper, longer, and more difficult than those in the midwest, so warm-up on those green runs. Happy sliding!!!

It's snowing right now – more on the way Friday...

P.S. I'm a full-time pro at Squaw
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 Lodging deals, check out Grand Sierra Resort Hotel/Casino (formerly Reno Hilton) in Reno!  Two nights, one lift ticket, $30 food credit, $10 for either bowling or fun Quest all for $79.95  and there are free shuttles to various resorts including Rose, Northstar, Squaw, Alpine Meadows.  The hotel is located near the airport and withing an hour drive of eight or nine ski resorts.  As an added bonus my full service ski shop is located downstairs inside the hotel!
 

Hijacking that info.

Thanks
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 Lodging deals, check out Grand Sierra Resort Hotel/Casino (formerly Reno Hilton) in Reno!  Two nights, one lift ticket, $30 food credit, $10 for either bowling or fun Quest all for $79.95  and there are free shuttles to various resorts including Rose, Northstar, Squaw, Alpine Meadows.  The hotel is located near the airport and withing an hour drive of eight or nine ski resorts.  As an added bonus my full service ski shop is located downstairs inside the hotel!

Northstar as noted above offers great grooming, long beginner and intermediate runs and some of the best tree skiing in all of Tahoe area and contrary to popular belief does have some decent expert terrain and good bump runs.  If it is busy and the lines are long, take a lesson and cut lines!  Northstar has one of the best ski schools in all of Tahoe as well!  Many high level PSIA instructors on staff and lots of staff training.


 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › tahoe tips for a midwestern skier needed