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Skiing Lake Tahoe for the first time!

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Feb 13th, 2012, 02:34 AM
  #1
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Skiing Lake Tahoe for the first time!

Hi All. I am hoping someone out there can help me. My husband and I are going to Lake Tahoe for a week in three weeks time to ski.

As we live in the UK we normally ski in France or Italy and I would say we are intermediate skiers. We are looking for a cheap, cheerful place to stay, reasonably near to skiing areas, but there is so much choice we are floundering a bit!

Any advice would be much appreciated
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Feb 13th, 2012, 06:33 AM
  #2
 
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You can stay anywhere -- if you want to ski Heavenly, stay on the south shore. If you want to ski Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, etc -stay on the north or northwest shore -anywhere from south of Tahoe City to Incline Village.

bear in mind this has been a horrible snow season thus far. Not too much snow -- barely any at all. It has been almost historically dry. However the storm track has shifted a bit and a few storms are due in so things will likely improve by the time you get here.

Most of the resorts do manufacture snow so there will be some skiing, but unless we get more precipitation - don't expect marvelous conditions.

A side effect of the poor season, a lot of hotels/condos are offering deep discounts. What is your budget -- and where are you fling in/out of?
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Feb 13th, 2012, 06:52 AM
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Janisj - we had people over for dinner on Sat who had just returned and I was shocked to hear exactly what you shared, that there is no snow - just manufactured...which for a skiier is such a bummer.

I learned to ski really at Heavenly - and have great memories of the amazing views from the top of runs, overlooking the lake -

I am reminded of the year we finally decided to go to Utah to ski, and arrived only to find it it had been one of the worst winters ever and that it was all manufactured snow - we were SO bummed.

Regarding were to stay - we always stayed at the ridge sierra condo/timeshare - and they had a shuttle to the lift areas. It has been too many years for me to comment on them and when we would go - I felt at the time they were pretty dated, but clean and it worked for what it was/what we needed.

It is a beautiful lake/area - I hope you have a wonderful time and that some great storms hit before your arrival!
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Feb 13th, 2012, 07:17 AM
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If you decide conditions are horrible in the Tahoe area, you could travel 8 hours north to Bend Oregon. Mt Bachelor now has over 100 inches of mostly natural snow.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 07:41 AM
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Yes - Squaw Valley is King - and we also like nearby Alpine Meadows - but Heavently is Queen - and we have found some great "off piste" areas at Heavenly. A friend of mine skied Heavenly last weekend and said there was new snow on the Olympic Downhill (a good intermediate cruising course to get your legs back in shape) and some of the other upper runs were fine.

There is more to do at South Shore/Heavenly (Casinos on the Nevada side) - so IMO - it's pretty much even for first time visitors as to head to North or South shore.

We used to also call Kirkwood - the hot springs bonus - as not only is Kirkwood (about 45 minutes from Heavenly) a good mountain to explore - the nearby Grover Hot Springs are super. You enjoy the hot springs and then can plunge in the pool which is about 50 degrees cooler.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=508
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Feb 13th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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We have enjoyed staying at Squaw Valley Lodge to ski Squaw and Alpine and staying at Forest Suites to ski Heavenly.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Northstar is very good for intermediate skiers. It probably has more intermediate terrain than Squaw. Staying at the resorts will tend to be expensive. If the OP has a car, staying in Truckee (20 minutes from Squaw, 25 from Alpine Meadows, 20 from Northstar) may be the cheapest option. For the north shore Reno might be even cheaper, but it is not as convenient.

One can use Google map or equivalents to find out distances and time to get to the slopes.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Two more thing: there is public transportation available from Truckee to Squaw and Alpine Meadows. Scheduling should be available from the TART (Tahoe Area Regional Transit?) website. Sugar Bowl used to have a shuttle from Truckee, but I do not know if it is still in operation.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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I've been to South Lake Tahoe the last 3-4 years but this year just couldn't take it as they have no snow. I think they just got five inches (finally) in the last few days, but the base is still totally pathetic (about 24 inches) and a lot of it isn't open (I get daily snow reports and only 30 pct of the terrain is open for some reason). It's like that all over that area, no one has snow.

I'd stay in Stateline as at least there are a few things to do if you can't ski. And rooms are dirt cheap due to the casinos. You can easily get a room for around $100-125 a night in Harrahs or Harveys. Heavenly is good for intermediate skiers and you can take the bus free to Sierra Resort from there (only 30 min away). that is really nice for a change, they have good green runs but enough blue. And you can get a bus to Kirkwood from there for the day, also (I think it is free, also, but not very expensive in any case). I have always stayed at Harveys, it's only two short blocks to the gondola and one block to the transit center.

Someone above said some resorts are expensive, if so, that is a better reason to stay in Stateline where it is cheap. I know I just checked rates a few weeks ago and rooms were around $100. I couldn't take the lousy snow and finally booked in Aspen instead for March.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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First of all - here is a snowreport page for Tahoe - and Heavenly Valley is showing 35 inches on top and 25 mid-mountain and at the bottom, which should be enough cover for decent skiing. http://www.onthesnow.com/lake-tahoe/...FaYaQgodfB2dHg

And for me - Lake Tahoe is so beautiful I would recommend someone enjoy it even if conditions are not super.

As for accommodations, you can stay cheaper along the Stateline - but I prefer to be more in the ski atmosphere if possible - and on the Nevada side of Heavenly there are a number of condos and other lodging, or at Squaw - also trying to find something in the Squaw Valley - or maybe by Incline, Northstar, etc.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 11:54 AM
  #11
 
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Actually - looking again at the Ski Report - it says Squaw has most of the mountain open (over 40" of packed powder)- and don't know about up there - but we are getting a little weather down here in San Diego today.

And fyi - from Squaw Valley down to Heavenly (North Shore to South Shore) is about an hour. Also - Sugar Bowl (North Shore) usually gets the most snow and there are some accommodations over that way too.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 07:30 AM
  #12
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Wow - thank you all so much for your advice. I hope everyone is as friendly as you lot when we get there!!!

We are flying into San Francisco and have a hire car booked. We will have six nights in Tahoe. Someone else has pointed us in the direction of Ferrari's Crown Resort in the north. It seems ok on paper, anyone have any experience of the place and is there decent skiing nearby?

Trust us to wait for years to take the plunge and ski USA for it to be the worst snow for years!!!! It has always been a dream of mine to ski Heavenly, but hotels there seems so expensive.

In the UK we have B&B's, that are often family homes, just renting out a few rooms, which is a lovely atmosphere. Is there anything like that around? We were looking for $100 or less per night if that's attainable?

Another question for you all - what will the weather in San Francisco be like in mid March? We will be spending a couple of nights there on the way home, so again any advice on where to go/stay would be appreciated. We are flying in/out of SFO which seems a bit out on a limb from the City - is that right?

Many thanks again
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Feb 14th, 2012, 07:50 AM
  #13
 
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Compare the fares flying in/out of Sacramento or Reno.
It would be an easier drive and the rental car may be cheaper than SFO.
It is also possible to get to downtown San Francisco using Amtrak train with an Amtrak bus from Emeryville.
The CA Zephyr has a stop in Truckee.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 11:04 AM
  #14
 
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Northstar and Sugar Bowl offer free group lessons during the week. As intermediate skiers you might find them useful.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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Squaw Valley is offering a two pack lift ticket deal. You have to purchase these by Feb 17th. The two pack entitles the purchaser to two lift tickets for the price of one. They are also good at Alpine Meadows. It does not seem as though you and your husband could use both of them on one day at one of the two resorts.

http://www.squaw.com/the-mountain/li...t-ticket-deals

It is the Tahoe Super 2.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 11:14 AM
  #16
 
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Tom: They are flying from the UK -- SMF or Reno aren't easy options. They will have been flying for 11 hours or more just to get to SFO. Any itinerary into Sacramento or Reno would add at least 5 hours to their travel time. And BART/Amtrak about the same.

Franypans: Not to worry -- it is actually snowing up on the summit as I type this. Just for you

As I mentioned, there has been a shift in the storm track and a series of small but significant storms is predicted.

One thing, I do hope you are staying one night in San Francisco or at SFO before jumping in the car for the drive to Tahoe. What time do you land and what day of the week? It is a long haul and Bay Area, Fairfield and Sacramento traffic - parts can be like the M25 on a bad day . . .

As for getting to SFO from downtown San Francisco - easy peasy. BART (underground rapid transit) serves the airport and even taxis are not that expensive.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 11:39 AM
  #17
 
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If you arrive after the morning rush hour (say post 9 AM) - or before the afternoon one (3 PM or so - as getting your car would take half an hour) - you can get out of the Bay area and on the way to Tahoe fairly easily - making it in say three and a half to four hours - so I would go for it - unless you really beat from your flight.

Mid March weather in SF could be nice - but a rainstorm could also blow through.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Tomsd: But if they DO get out of SF by 3PM -- they will land in the middle of the Sacramento commute. US immigration can take quite a while and most UK flights land in the early to late afternoon so there really isn't a way to miss a traffic mess somewhere.

I usually book a hotel at SFO for one night after flying in from London . . . I personally don't want to face I-80/hwy50 after that flight. I get a good night's sleep and head out around 9:30 or 10:00 the next morning all refreshed. But that is just me.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 02:56 PM
  #19
 
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janisj: Understood - but I like to get on the road and if there is evening traffic/rush hour in Sacto - pull off and have dinner - and then continue on the other 2 hrs to Tahoe.

Or even stay in Sacto - on the other side even - cute Auburn off 80 - http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&cp...ed=0CDsQ8gEwAQ
or maybe even Placerville off 50 - for the night and the next day - you could still get in half a day of skiing.
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Feb 14th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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But having said that - if you have never been to SF - it's certainly worth a night - either at the start or at the end of your ski trip.
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