Lake Tahoe ski advice

Dec 17th, 2002, 04:47 PM
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Lake Tahoe ski advice

I am planing a ski vacation for the end of February for me, my wife and our parents. Wondering if somebody can recommend the best place to ski. My wife is a beginner. I am advanced- as is the rest of our family. What mountain should we pick? Any deals you know of? Also considering Sun Valley. Any thoughts on comparing Lake Tahoe to Sun Valley?
Dec 17th, 2002, 05:49 PM
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Lake Tahoe by far. Snow is ALWAYS better and you have numerous ares to choice from. Ski a different area everyday and gamble at night if so inclined.
Dec 17th, 2002, 07:00 PM
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If you're advance by Colorado (etc) standards, I'd suggest Heavenly area. North Star is great area for beginners.
Dec 18th, 2002, 09:30 AM
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Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows for beginners. Definitely Tahoe, SValley is more expensive, harder to get to and the snow is not as good. Tahoe has been gettting dumped on so far this year.
Dec 18th, 2002, 09:39 AM
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Tahoe just received 9 feet of snow with more to come this weekend. The snow should be good for the Christmas Holiday.

Squaw has something for every level while Heavenly has the more advanced runs. Because Squaw is on the north end and Heavenly on the south you may have to choose between the two.

You could stay at south shore ski Heavenly and for a change of pace take one of the lake taxis to the north which also includes shuttle service to north shore resorts.

For more info:
Dec 18th, 2002, 09:42 AM
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And yes, I know you're going in Feb. I was just trying to be encouraging to all those who may be headed up there soon. : )
Dec 18th, 2002, 10:52 AM
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Squaw Valley is a pretty good choice for a mixed group. Lots of advanced terrain, but a pretty decent set of easy stuff. The only drawback to Squaw is that it can be pretty windblown during/after a storm.

Kirkwood has great skiing, but is more isolated. Sugar Bowl has more of an "old-time" feel to it, with some great advanced terrain. Northstar is the most sheltered, but doesn't have the serious "Warren Miller" type terrain that some of the others have.
Dec 18th, 2002, 11:42 AM
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February is often when Lake Tahoe gets most of its snow, but it's an El Nino year so we're already getting tons. Feb might be REALLY snowy.

Lake Tahoe is actually divided into two areas North Lake Tahoe where there are more resorts and South Lake Tahoe where there are really only 3. I prefer the Northside areas because they are easier to get to. (I-80 has 2-3 lanes Highway 50 only has 1 once you're in the mountains).

Northside you can pick between Sugar Bowl, NorthStar, Alpine & Squaw Valley for the biggest resorts. There are other but smaller and won't have enough advanced terrain.

Sugar bowl is very family oriented and has some excellent advanced skiing. But it's not huge. It's one my two favorite places to go. They are very high in Donner pass and often get the brunt of storms and lots of snow.

NorthStar AKA FlatStar has mostly beginner/intermediate skiing but they limit the number of ticket sales so it doesn't get as crowded. It's the lowest altitude of the bunch which makes a difference on warm storm days when they might get rain.

Squaw Valley is the biggest area, has the most snob appeal, and is the most expensive. The advanced terrain there (and there is a lot) is excellent.

Alpine Meadows shares the same ridge as Squaw Valley, it's just a few more miles down highway 89. They get the same kind of snow. Alpine isn't as big, but features very nice back-country style and openbowl skiing. You will see lots and lots of Telemark skiers here. This is my other favorite place to ski. They have a wide variety of slopes facing different directions, so no matter what the weather, something is always good.

South Lake Tahoe has only Heavenly and Kirkwood. Kirkwood is smaller but a really nice place. I've never liked Heavenly. Hopefully the new Vail ownership can do something about the layout. My primary reason for disliking Heavenly is bad mountain design. The hill is covered with cat tracks, and no matter what you ski, you will spend a lot of time on said cat tracks.

REI membership skiers who get to Lake Tahoe via the Bay Area can stop by and get discount tickets at the REI in Berkeley. ($8 off) The resorts vary, it's been Sugarbowl and Alpine in the past. You can't order them online. & there may be a limit to how many you can buy at once.

There's something called the Lake Tahoe snow card that is good for some discounts, but I've never used it, and can't say what they are. Sometimes McDonalds offer $5 off coupons.
Dec 18th, 2002, 01:43 PM
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I agree with the above poster about Heavenly's layout. Plus, I don't think there are that many beginner/intermediate trails. The view at the top is breathtaking though...
Dec 18th, 2002, 05:16 PM
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S. Lake Tahoe has three ski areas, Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra Tahoe. Heavenly can be fantastic, particularly when there is a lot of new snow (like right now). I especially enjoy skiing the Nevada side of the mountain. My only objection to Heavenly is that I don't think it is a great place for beginners. Kirkwood is another great place to ski. Plenty of action for advanced skiers but with a reasonable amount of area for beginners. Kirkwood is the highest area and generally gets the most snow in Tahoe. However, it is also not a place to be on a windy, cold day - its freezing on the chair lifts. Sierra Tahoe is a fun, family area with a real mix of runs. It is great for beginners. On the north shore of Tahoe, Squaw Valley is my favorite, very large and many different types of terrain, from very large bowls to real steep. Alpine Meadows is another great ski area. Northstar is more for families and beginners. I'm not much into Sugar Bowl, but a lot of people like it, particularly those that are commuting there from Sacramento/the bay area for a day of skiing.
Usually, most people end up staying on one end of the lake or the other, although some do drive to ski areas on both ends. The South Shore has the advantage of having all the major casinos if you are into that type of thing. Both areas have a lot of great restaurants. Regarding the boat trip accross the lake to the ski areas, I recently heard that there was going to be some kind of cut back on that service so you might want to call to make sure it is still available.
Dec 19th, 2002, 08:24 AM
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I'd heard that they may discontinue the Meteor for now but may still offer the bigger boats. Doesn't look like Hornblower has updated the site for awhile.

Well even if they stop offering the lake shuttle you can take the luxury bus from south shore to Squaw for only $5. Here's the sit for more info

I thinke Tahoe is really trying to find ways to link the resorts.
Dec 31st, 2002, 04:04 PM
ChildCare Lady
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We live outside Sacramento, CA and ski alot. Our favorites are Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Heavenly. Squaw has a huge range of terrain for all levels and there beginner classes all take place at the TOP of the mountain. You can't beat that! Also, since your wife is a beginner...she will probably tire more quickly, so she would probably enjoy the other things to do there (lots of shopping, ice skating, riding the tram, ect...). But, Squaw is very expensive and can draw "the snobs". Alpine is great for terrain as well, but doesn't have the alternatives to skiing for your wife. Also, there is limited "on site" lodging. Heavenly is on the other side of Lake Tahoe and is beautiful. I think that their adult beginners are also taught at the mid-mountain point (high enough to see the Lake) and has tons of intermediate runs (honestly, they are VERY tame intermediate runs -- some of Squaws Greens are Heavenlys Blues).
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