Heaven can be found between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, and it's covered with snow. For your first time to the "Jewel of the Sierras" get ready for blue skies, loads of powder and warm hearts. Lake Tahoe offers everything from high class casino resorts to down home local flavor all sprinkled with the laid back attitude of its residents.
Lake Tahoe was recently voted the best ski area in the U.S. by Orbitz and 2010 is shaping up to be a great year for the Lake. Over 10 feet of snow has fallen so far this year, creating a killer snow pack for winter sports. Each part of Lake Tahoe has a different vibe, from the blue collar area of King's Beach in Nevada, to the resort and shopping areas of South Lake Tahoe in California. Each area of the lake has an area for winter sports followed by followed by a wide range of aprés ski opportunities.
You can get around the lake using the Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) bus system, which runs along 30 miles of the Lake's shoreline. Ski racks are available on the buses in the winter. There are also various shuttles like the North Tahoe Express or the Mt. Rose Shuttle which will bring you from the airport or from downtown Reno up to your hotel. However, for freedom and to access some of the lesser known areas of the lake, rent a car.
Day 1 - Lake Tahoe, Reno
Numerous winter adventures can be had around the entire lake. Starting from North Lake Tahoe, the number one ski resort on the local's list is Mount Rose Ski Tahoe. This large resort at the top of Slide Mountain has Tahoe's highest base and a brand new lodge. The Winter's Lodge has great views and is a perfect place to rest after skiing or boarding Mt. Rose's 1,200 acres.If you want something a little bit more low key, try some cross country skiing or snowshoeing at the Tahoe Meadows. This popular, but vast, area has great views of Lake Tahoe, Reno/Sparks and Washoe Valley below the mountain range. If you have children, it's also a great place to go sledding.If you don't ski or snowboard, you can still experience the stunning views from the Heavenly Gondola. Enjoy the relaxing ride up to the first observation deck and if it's a nice day, enjoy a picnic at one of their covered tables. You can pick up food and wine at the Heavenly Village or at the Raley's supermarket in Stateline. If you can still move after loads of good food, visit the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena and skate where the locals skate.The West part of the Lake is chock full of winter paradise options. The California side is home to Squaw Valley USA, famous for the 1960 Winter Olympics, Alpine Meadows, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Homewood Mountain Resort.Along with all this great snow, comes snowstorms. The weather in Tahoe is never guaranteed. Some storms can knock out power or close roads and passes. However, many Tahoe winter days are sunny and beautiful.There are numerous areas outside of the immediate lake area that will tickle your winter fancy as well. Truckee/Donner Lake, Reno/Sparks and Hwy. 88/Kirkwood all have winter activities, but for your first time to the Lake, stick to the shoreline and you won't be disappointed. It won't be too long before you find yourself in Heaven for a second time.
6 miles north of Kings Beach
Lake Tahoe, NV 96160
+1 530 562 1010
5 Highway 28
Lake Tahoe, NV 89402
1 775 831 0660
US Highway 395
(at Highway 431)
Reno, NV 89511
Day 4 - Lake Tahoe
For your last day at the lake, you may either have run out of money, or you want to splurge. Here are some local picks for both options:
Keep it free or cheap with snowshoeing or cross country skiing at the Tahoe Meadows, followed by lunch at the Tahoe Biltmore. For one last day of skiing, Mt. Rose is the best choice for lower cost skiing and some final views of the lake.
Just south of Incline is Zephyr Cove and the dock for the Tahoe Queen and the M.S. Dixie Queen. These two paddlewheeler boats offer cruises throughout the day across the lake to pristine Emerald Bay.
Dinner for your last night can be had on one of the boats or at the elegant Edgewood Restaurant. Try to plan for sunset dinners at both locations.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada