As a former South Lake Tahoe resident, I can answer a few of your specific questions:
*It's cheap for a reason:
Not to knock Carson City, but there just isn't a lot there. The city really only exists now because it's where the 395 and Hwy 50 connect, and it's built around these two highways with a lot of the economy based on people driving through. You've got a bunch of fairly crummy-mediocre casinos, motels, and gas stations, and the rest of it is pretty quiet. From what I know from people who lived there, the #1 thing most Carson City residents do for recreation is head up to Tahoe or head into Reno. Personally, I would only head down to Carson City to stock up at Costco or drive through on my way to the airport in Reno.
However, it is generally a safe and affordable city. Yes, there are a lot of old people. Younger people tend to move away en masse.
*You can't always get up to Tahoe in a storm:
During big storms, NHP does mandatory chain controls at the start of the roads up to Tahoe from Carson, including Highway 50 (the main one) and Kingsbury Grade (the long way). During very big storms, they will close the roads until they can get (and keep) them plowed. Most of the time though, you'll be fine if you have:
a) a 4wd or awd car with dedicated snow tires
b) tire chains, properly affixed
No matter what, expect some traffic on the way up on the big snow days.
* There are some good "foodie" places, but not like LA:
There are a couple of well-regarded sushi restaurants and at least one Vietnamese place that I know of in Carson, but you will not find the kind of variety and choices for restaurants and cuisines that can be found in LA. Not even close.
Anyways, Carson City might be a good fit for you, but it depends on what you want. Personally, I'd be bored to death if I lived there, but that's me. Wherever you end up heading, I wish you good luck with your move.