Thanks for the comments so far, keep them coming
2 additional questions:
1. From San Fran is it worth flying to Reno or am I better off just driving? I think drive, also so that I have the car to get around the Tahoe area. What is the difference in time?
2. How busy are Squaw and Alpine going to be just after New Year (considering that it is still mid-week, Tuesday-Friday)?