Okay, this year has been rather windy for the Reno/Lake Tahoe area. Ski resorts this winter had to shut down a few ski lifts because of the gusts and picnics on the beach might be a little hazardous, but let’s look at the bright side. The wind keeps the area free of smog and it’s a great time for wind sports.
Sailing at Lake Tahoe is like flying across the blue sky on a big white bird. The water is clear and the winds can get up to about 35 knots. There are several ways to enjoy the lake on a sailboat. The Woodwind II at Zephyr Cove is available for daily and sunset tours, the Sierra Cloud Catamaran from the Hyatt Lake Tahoe is a great semi-private tour of the lake or try Sailing Ventures where you can learn how to tack, jibe and get your sea legs without going to the ocean.
Washoe Valley is notorious for its winds. Gusts up to 80-100 miles per hour have been recorded in this high desert valley just east of Lake Tahoe. But two lakes in the Valley are world renowned for some of the best kiteboarding and windsurfing around. Big Washoe, or Brown Maui, sees its fair share of wind addicts. They come to participate in both sports in a funky little beach community decorated with old surfboards, effigies of famous surfers and an alter to the wind gods.
Windsurfing School and Rentals in North Tahoe will teach you the basics, either at Washoe Lake or at Lake Tahoe. If it’s your first time trying windsurfing or kiteboarding, it might be best to learn in the early morning hours before the winds pick up. Be sure to stop before the winds get too rough.
When winter hits, the Tahoe Meadows are alive with bright kites towing snow boarders around on the white powder. Some people will also use the huge kites in conjunction with snow tubes or sleds for a little extra push.
If you are a little less of an adrenaline junkie, why not just go out and fly a kite? Some of the best places to go are a few of the beaches around the lake. Pope Beach is free of trees with great views of South Tahoe, and El Dorado Beach is also good.