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Old 01-07-2013, 03:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Damn, well done. There's bound to be a paying gig out here for you! The only thing I would change is to have them go East (toward the NV side) to Sand Harbor for sunset (about 35 min drive from Squaw) and Emerald Bay for sunrise. That way the action is in front of you, across the lake, instead of behind of you. I know this sounds knit-picky, but trust me it's not. These are life long memories. The scenery here is mind-boggling!

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wvbms and chub11 are spot-on. North Lake/Tahoe City has way more in the way of riding. Big, big mountains literally within minutes of each other. And while your parents wouldn't have to hang out at Squaw while you rode the mountain, they could easily take the gondola up for a nice lunch (or the mountain top sunset dinner overlooking Lake Tahoe, which is pretty spectacular), or make a short drive into Truckee, which is a quaint old mining town with lots of nice shoppes and places to stop for a Bloody Mary.

The dinner options in Tahoe City are more limited, but the scenery and general atmosphere is much cooler. It's one of those Cali towns where everyone's dog hangs out in there store...wearing a bandana. And if the weather is good, pack your camera and take the drive down 89 to Emerald Bay. You're knuckles will be sore from gripping the steering wheel in fear, but there are state parks and pull offs along the way so you can get some memorable family pics. You won't be disappointed.

If the weather is good, and you have the time, I strongly recommend making the whole drive around the lake. It is mind-blowing beautiful. You drive through neighborhoods of trillion dollar homes, water-front parks where you climb out among the rocks, big cliffs, and even a tunnel carved through the mountain before you get to South Lake, where you can stop for a bite. Time it so you can hit Emerald Bay at sunset on your way home (you DON'T want to drive that road after dark) and your parents will consider you a tour god. You can stand at the top of he cliffs, with waterfall on one side, and a view of Heavenly across the lake on the other side.

Depending upon where you're staying, and the snow conditions, you'll wake up in North Lake to the sound of avalanche control bombs going off. That's your cue to dress warm, pack a Bloody Mary, and head down 89 (W. Lake Blvd) to any number of pull-offs, and watch the sunrise. Get up early enough, and the sky will be crystal clear and blue/orange (never clouds at Tahoe, unless it's snowing). You'll see the clearest sky ever...and then the contrails from the San Francisco plane flights start to make streaks across the sky. It's pretty cool.

On Wednesday evenings in Tahoe City, check out Sunnyside, north of Homewood. They do fresh grilled fish tacos and draft beer. Best apres ski in the area, but get there early...parking can get nutty.

Seriously, though...you didn't say how long you're going to be there. If you're there mid-week, hit up Mt. Rose for 2 for Tuesdays. Homewood any midweek day...it's small, but doesn't feel small. And make a drive to Sugarbowl. You'll get some nice touristy stuff, and a great mountain, too!
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Well done, great summary, surfinsnow . Pretty much sums up everything.

The only thing I would add to the OP is that the Shell gas voucher doesn't include Northstar anymore, but it includes Squaw/Alpine, which still makes it a great deal since you can get two mountains in one and lift tickets there are pricey. The Shell deal calls it "Ski Free", but it is a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Also good at Sierra and Homewood.

Have fun in Tahoe! Snow's been good so far, and you have lots of choices!

Last edited by Kauila; 01-07-2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Wow Wow Wow...surf, you really are outdoing yourself with all this info. thanks a lot Sounds like you are now my official tour guide! Lol, if you plan this trip for me, day by day, like it seems you are, i will be in debt to you sir...

okay, recap. We will likely be flying in on a fri ev staying through the following Friday/Saturday. so probably like a 6 night deal.

im hearing you all on staying more around tahoe city, but was unclear on the closeness that is to say Squaw Valley. So lets just say im sold on staying at a ski in/ski out lodge in Squaw. for one, we probably wont do any resort hopping as its just not our preference. i would rather see as much of one mountain as possible, with the hopes of 'knowing' my way around by the last couple days riding, then be holding a map for my entire time on mountain. i know some may not agree with that, but for plans sake, lets just assume that we will only ride at squaw and alpine.

now, lets take it from the start:

where do we fly into if were staying at squaw?

any recomendations on specific lodging at squaw?

if staying in squaw, how do i naviagate some of these sight seeing things you mentioned? as in, are the roads/highways you said to take coming out of squaw? or were you assuming i was staying else where?
same with the drive around the lake..is that easy to navigate (signage?), or do you have to know all the different roads to take to do it successfully.

we will have a car, so no problem doing it, just dont want to be lost.


think thats it...lol..as said it will probably be a 6-7 night/7-8 day trip, with 4-5 days of board time, so we will have some time to do some touristy stuff.

surf, im fairly half ass serious about you planning this thing for me day to day, minute by minute, LOL...you seem to really know all the awesome stuff to do. and i would gladly reimburse you somehow for your efforts

thanks everyone that has chimed in, im F'n stoked for this already
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by threej21 View Post
Wow Wow Wow...surf, you really are outdoing yourself with all this info. thanks a lot Sounds like you are now my official tour guide! Lol, if you plan this trip for me, day by day, like it seems you are, i will be in debt to you sir...

okay, recap. We will likely be flying in on a fri ev staying through the following Friday/Saturday. so probably like a 6 night deal.

im hearing you all on staying more around tahoe city, but was unclear on the closeness that is to say Squaw Valley. So lets just say im sold on staying at a ski in/ski out lodge in Squaw. for one, we probably wont do any resort hopping as its just not our preference. i would rather see as much of one mountain as possible, with the hopes of 'knowing' my way around by the last couple days riding, then be holding a map for my entire time on mountain. i know some may not agree with that, but for plans sake, lets just assume that we will only ride at squaw and alpine.

now, lets take it from the start:

where do we fly into if were staying at squaw?

any recomendations on specific lodging at squaw?

if staying in squaw, how do i naviagate some of these sight seeing things you mentioned? as in, are the roads/highways you said to take coming out of squaw? or were you assuming i was staying else where?
same with the drive around the lake..is that easy to navigate (signage?), or do you have to know all the different roads to take to do it successfully.

we will have a car, so no problem doing it, just dont want to be lost.


think thats it...lol..as said it will probably be a 6-7 night/7-8 day trip, with 4-5 days of board time, so we will have some time to do some touristy stuff.

surf, im fairly half ass serious about you planning this thing for me day to day, minute by minute, LOL...you seem to really know all the awesome stuff to do. and i would gladly reimburse you somehow for your efforts

thanks everyone that has chimed in, im F'n stoked for this already
We stayed for one week our first trip. Never went for less than two after that!

Here is our general itinerary, though since you're only staying for a week, you'll have to make some adjustments. We fly into Reno; it's cheaper and way closer than SF. The flights from the East Coast don't arrive until late, and the drive across 431 (Mt. Rose) to North Lake is beautiful by day (the first breathtaking leg of your journey), but scary at night. And you'll be tired from the flight. Peppermill is "fancy" tacky, but fun and convenient. We've also stayed at a dive roadside motel whose name I can't remember. PM me; I'll look it up and send you the recs.

So, after Reno, you head from 431 to 28. You'll pass through the CalNeva Casino area, King's Beach, Tahoe Vista, Carmelian Bay...it's all beautiful. Best to do by day. The road hugs the lake. There are several motels (not so much "hotels") in North Lake/Tahoe City. Pick any one near the "center" of Tahoe City. Again, it is NOT a city...a very small town. There are free shuttle busses to Squaw and Alpine and Homewood, and Tahoe Dave's snowboard shop, and art galleries and eateries overlooking the water. Very nice.

You literally won't have to do any "resort hopping" in North Lake. The biggest stuff you've ever seen are literally just a few miles down the road from each other. You'll pull into Squaw and pee your pants. You'll exhaust yourself, take in a good dinner in town, and be asleep early.

The next morning, Alpine Meadows is just ten minutes down the road. Get up early to do the Fire Sign Cafe on 89 for breakfast to carb up. Excellent! There is a shuttle to Alpine. If you're going early, drive your own car and look for a lucky parking place up front. If not, take the shuttle. Alpine's parking is the worst.

After two days as Alpine and Squaw, you might be wiped. If not, I suggest a more mellow day at Homewood Mountain, still just ten minutes from anywhere you're staying in Tahoe City. Homewood is my second favorite mountain at Tahoe, besides Kirkwood...which is weird, because Kirkwood is massive and epic, and Homewood is just...Homewood. It is stunningly beautiful, quiet, incredible glades, views you won't believe (the best at Tahoe), mellow crowds. Only two green trails, and nice steep blacks.

You'll be wiped at this point. If you make it through three days of riding, you'll want a day to relax. Maybe head to Truckee for some touristy stuff. It's a cool little village. You might spend more money there on souvenirs than you did on lift tix at the mountains. It's an easy drive from North Lake, and a good way to walk off the calf pain after a couple of days at Squaw and Alpine. Head north on 89 out of Truckee to 267 S. It will be clearly marked, and run you to Northstar. You can't miss it...drive it, cruise around...you might want to come back/stay and ride. It's impressive, Even if not Tahoe's best.

Leave Northstar, turn right, and keep driving south on 267. You'll eventually hit 28 back to Tahoe City (the loop around the top of the lake). Stop at Garwood's for some bites and cocktails. It's got an awesome view of the lake, good food, and a nice apres ski menu. Another 15 minutes back home to pass out early.

So, assuming you didn't ski on that third day, plan on a trip to Kirkwood. Plan. Seriously...plan. Kirkwood is an adventure. If the weather is clear, no prob. Just head South on 89 through Emerald Bay, then a quick 50 to 88. If weather is bad, 88/Carson Pass will be hairy. But Kirkwood will be the highlight of your trip. You will compare everything else you've ridden to Kirkwood (up until this point).

SIDE NOTE: If you're beat from riding at Squaw/Alpine, or weather might be iffy, consider driving the night before and staying at the Lakeside Inn in South Lake. Very snowboarder friendly, cheap rooms, all night casino and Mexican restaurant, early morning breakfast, cheap tickets at the Concierge desk, and puts you way closer to Kirkwood in the morning.

I think I've tracked out five days so far. If there is a spare day, drive up to Sugarbowl, or try Sierra. You will be exhausted either way. Feel free to PM me...I'm sure I left out some details.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I just did a week in Tahoe and spent 2 days each at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. Kirkwood and Northstar were the best like others have said but it was nice to stay in South Lake and have alot of food/entertainment options at night. We had a car so it was a short hour drive to either Northstar and Kirkwood when we went there. Kirkwood's village is very small but that is also the appeal to it as well as it is not as commercialized as other places.

If you wont have a car and are staying in South Lake you can check out TahoeSkiShuttle.com and they have shuttles a few days a week from South Lake to Northstar and kirkwood for $15 a person roundtrip.

If you get to Kirkwood, definitely ride the wall, its an experience of its own.

I'm going back to Tahoe the last week in Febuary and Cant Wait!!!!
if you stayed in SLT, it is not a "short drive" to Northstar or Kirkwood. It is not a LONG 3 hour drive like it for us Easties to get to Stowe, but it still not a "short" drive! Don't mislead the guy! Don't forget, this is not a straight run up the interstate. It's all twisty mountain roads, the likes of which an Easterner aren't very used to driving.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I am going to Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood this weekend. I'll let you know how it is.
Those places are pretty far apart - you will spend more time driving than riding...
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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if you stayed in SLT, it is not a "short drive" to Northstar or Kirkwood. It is not a LONG 3 hour drive like it for us Easties to get to Stowe, but it still not a "short" drive! Don't mislead the guy! Don't forget, this is not a straight run up the interstate. It's all twisty mountain roads, the likes of which an Easterner aren't very used to driving.
Agreed, although I think he said it was a short hour drive. Understand Tahoe has not had any new snow in the last 1-2 weeks, so I reckon the roads were pretty drivable when he was there.
But things can change fast when it starts to dump and they close the roads...
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Forgot to add: Surfin' is is definitely the Tahoe expert. Based on my (much more limited) experience, everything he has written is absolutely spot on.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Agreed, although I think he said it was a short hour drive. Understand Tahoe has not had any new snow in the last 1-2 weeks, so I reckon the roads were pretty drivable when he was there.
But things can change fast when it starts to dump and they close the roads...
I was there Dec 15-22(missed the big Pre Xmas storm by 1 day). Driving conditions when we were there were pretty average except driving back to Reno during the big snow. It took us an hour to drive to Kirkwood or Northstar from SLT each time. I would definetly agree if there had been alot of snow that it would take longer but for me an hour to get somewhere with good terrain is a short drive. Closest place to me at home is over 6 hours on less than 100 acres of man made crap so its all perspective.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I've been to Tahoe many times, and have been to more than 1/2 the mtns there multiple times. I really love Squaw & Northstar at their respective ends of the lake. I hear Kirkwood is amazing for snowboarding, so that is the one I have yet to get to just because it's so far South and away from everything else on its own.
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