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Utah (LCC) or Lake Tahoe this year?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

This forum has always been very good at offering helpful opinions and stories about peoples experiences. The last couple of years my friends and I have gone to Whistler/Blackcomb and Utah Alta/Bird, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain. Utah has always been pretty good for us snow and terrain wise. We were going to stay Stateside this year but thought of maybe changing it up. We were wondering about Tahoe area resorts (Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly). We would be going the last few days of Feb / first week of march for about 7-10 days. What are the tahoe area resorts like? We love powder, love skiing any terrain and will hike to anything. Thoughts and suggestions are much appreciated!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 17

My strongest advice is not to decide this now.  That won't be a busy time, and you should be able to make your decision in late January or early February without a financial penalty -- and possibly with better discounts.  And you'll be able to make your decision based on actual conditions this season.

 

 

Both areas have good airport to mountain access, which is a plus, although if I were making the decision for travel purposes, I'd look at nonstop flight availability.

 

Around that time of the season, both areas should also have good snowpack.  Utah's will probably be lighter, Tahoe's denser.  The tradeoff is that average temps are 5-10° F higher in Tahoe -- hence the density difference.

 

Utah is significantly higher up than the Tahoe resorts -- a difference of a couple thousand feet at the base.  If any in your group has ever had altitude sickness, that may be worth considering.

 

Given your preferences, if you opt for Tahoe, I'd cross Heavenly off your list.  If you're going anywhere south of Lake Tahoe, you'll want to hit Kirkwood -- or if you'll go further, Mammoth (assuming no altitude issues).  But honestly, I'd choose a side of the lake and stick with it.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Great - thanks! We were looking now because last year we actually found it more difficult to find a chalet to rent in Utah. I don't think we will book anything now - just wanted to start thinking about it and get some advice from fellow mags. thanks!!

 

 

post #4 of 17

When were you traveling last year?  And how many are you this year?

post #5 of 17

You don't need advice.  Tahoe will meet your needs, maybe time to try something new.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDad View Post

When were you traveling last year?  And how many are you this year?



There are 4 guys (all quite good skiers) and 2 or 3 girls (intermediate, but willing to tackle lots of terrain). We have always gone at the beginning of Feb. Because of work commitments this year we are bumping it back to the last few days of Feb / first week of March.

 

Last year we left booking until late December/early Jan and it was getting difficult to find a place which suited our needs - ski-in/out and hot tub.

 

Tahoe terrain sounds intriguing, just not sure about the snowfall in march? Is it generally pretty good or are Jan/Feb much stronger months with march being quiet?

 

Obviously you can't predict powder trips, but it is nice to try and pick a place that generally delivers.

post #7 of 17

All the cool people will be in Tahoe this year. 

post #8 of 17

March is typically the snowiest month in Tahoe.

 

Ski in/out and hot tub can make it more difficult in either location.  But frankly, one of the common pluses of both locations, particularly for a week to 10-day trip, is the proximity to multiple resorts.  In Tahoe, for instance, you can hit Squaw during the week, when it's not overrun, then hit Alpine on the weekends, and on storm or wind-hold days, pop over to Homewood or Northstar.

post #9 of 17

Not sure where these numbers are measured, but with a mean of 193 inches it is not mid-mountain.

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMONtsnf.pl?ca8758

Jan-Feb-March snowfall is about the same, however early Jan could be dicey if there is a dry December.

March could be warm.

Tony Crockers Cali page.

http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/

with link to Southern Cal monthly snowfall.

http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/

 

Cottonwood Canyons are always your best bet, but much of the fun skiing is going to different places, and Tahoe is a must.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

Not sure where these numbers are measured, but with a mean of 193 inches it is not mid-mountain.

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMONtsnf.pl?ca8758


Definitely not.

 

Squaw has a decade or so worth of data here, at both 6200' and 8200'.

post #11 of 17

I'd say if you haven't done Tahoe yet, you have to try it. There is a wide range of resorts, from inexpensive and not crowded like Diamond Peak to huge and expensive like Squaw. and with the lake being 72 miles in diameter, and resorts dotted all around, there are many different experiences to choose from. Even if it doesn't turn out to be a heavy powder Feb/March, the beauty of the lake and the whole experience will make you happy you came.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnintahoe View Post

with the lake being 72 miles in diameter


Uh, I think you mean circumference.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDad View Post

Given your preferences, if you opt for Tahoe, I'd cross Heavenly off your list.  


Why?

 

I seem to recall Heavenly had a pretty varied terrain. (though I haven't been there for quite a few years now so my recollection of it might be off...)
 

post #14 of 17

My California page: http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/calnet.htm

 

Quote:
March is typically the snowiest month in Tahoe.

No.  Jan/Feb/Mar averages in inches:

29 years Sugar Bowl: 86/92/82

44 years Donner Pass: 80/77/70

40 years Alpine Meadows: 74/79/67

27 years Squaw 6,200: 49/54/49

35 years Heavenly 8,400: 53/52/47

36 years Kirkwood: 102/104/81

42 years Bear Valley: 79/80/68

42 years Mammoth: 75/74/59

 

Keep in mind the Sierra is the most volatile snow region in North America.  Monthly standard deviations are about 2/3 of the monthly averages. March was the highest snowfall month in 8 of the 44 seasons at Donner Pass.

 

 

Quote:
My strongest advice is not to decide this now.  That won't be a busy time, and you should be able to make your decision in late January or early February without a financial penalty -- and possibly with better discounts.  And you'll be able to make your decision based on actual conditions this season.

Nearly always good advice.

 

Quote:
Last year we left booking until late December/early Jan and it was getting difficult to find a place which suited our needs - ski-in/out and hot tub.

 

Not so applicable at Tahoe where you're driving around sampling several areas.  This is often true in Utah also.

 

Quote:
But honestly, I'd choose a side of the lake and stick with it.

I agree in principle, and for a short trip definitely. What you want to avoid is doing much skiing on the side where you're not staying.  If it's a 10-day trip and your first time at Tahoe, I would be tempted to switch the lodging base mid-trip.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the awesome and great info!!!!!

 

very helpful.

 

we have just started looking at areas, however I like the idea of sampling a couple of areas.

 

Where would a good central area be so that one could get around pretty easy? As I have never been to Tahoe - I really have NO idea where this would be.

post #16 of 17

There really isn't a good "central" location for "the Tahoe area". The lake is 70+ miles in circomference. That's a loooong drive from the south to north or vice versa.

 

Take Tony's recommendation of switching lodging base mid-trip if you're staying for more than a week. Less than that, just stick with one end of the lake. You may still be able to sample one (max 2) resorts on the "other" end of the lake for a day each. The rest of the time, you ski relatively "local" resorts. What you don't want is a lodge base that involves 1/2 - 1 hr drive EACH DAY!

post #17 of 17

Thanks for the correction, Tony.  I guess it just seems that March is the snowiest month sometimes.
 

at_nyc:  The OP's description was "We love powder, love skiing any terrain and will hike to anything."  That doesn't sound like Heavenly to me.  The base elevation is relatively low, which means denser snow (although the high peak helps some).  And it's not known for hiking; in fact, up until very recently, the boundary was closed and enforced.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

There really isn't a good "central" location for "the Tahoe area". The lake is 70+ miles in circomference. That's a loooong drive from the south to north or vice versa.


Particularly since one side is closed during the winter.  Just not worth it unless you stay in Reno, where you'll be more or less equidistant from all.

 

But another vote for Tony's "move around" solution.

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