Where to go in Tahoe ??
Hey all, planning a trip to Tahoe to go boarding. Ive obviously heard good things about resorts there, such as Heavenly and Northstar, but other than that dont know much about it there.
So was hoping someone who regulars there or has vacationed there could point me in the right direction.
strong intermediate boarders who enjoy all mountain freestyle, park, bowls, off piste, trees....lol, thats basically everything...but yea, you know
would also like a nice off mountain atmosphere as far as bars and shops and what not, since we might have my parents tagging along just for the scenery and fun. want to stay at a ski in/ski out facility as well.
so any help would be greatly appreciated. specific resorts to stay at, specific areas of mountain to ride, etc, etc
thanks in advance :thumbsup:
I am going to Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood this weekend. I'll let you know how it is. :D
Heavenly is great for a photo op. It is huge, you'll ride in two states at once (start in California, stop in Nevada for a beer, head back up for some tree runs through both). But it's wicked crowded and very touristy, and a very spread-out layout. I consider it a must-see for your first trip to Tahoe, but you might never go back after that.
Kirkwood, though, is the tits. It's serious shit. Everything from the drive through the Carson Pass to the trip up to Sentinel Bowl or (I dare you) The Wall, will test your abilities and give you memories that will last forever. Don't miss the back side, The Wave. And don't dismiss the "beginner" areas. Some of the most fun greens and blues you'll ever do, with deep ravines and beautiful glades to play in. If the weather is bad, better make sure you have good tires on your 4x4, and pack a bag. If it snows really hard (which it does a lot at Kirkwood, more so than anyplace else at Tahoe) you might wind up being forced to spend the night. No alternate ways out.
Consider the North Shore/Tahoe City for a more relaxed "California" vibe. For the best in ski-in/ski-out (and to impress the parents) go to Northstar. Not the best riding, but it is a serious tourist resort, complete with a Ritz-Carlton Hotel with chrome gondola, where the lifties place a blanket over you for the ride up. Seriously. Your parents can shop at the mall (yup, this place is like a mall with a ski slope next to it) while you hit "The Stash," Burton's all-wood terrain park. The regular trails aren't awesome, but they're fun. It's much more like a Vermont mountain than anything else at Tahoe; mostly trails cut through the woods, instead of the wide open bowl and chutes of places like Squaw or Alpine or Sugarbowl.
There are a few major resorts on the North Shore all within minutes of each other, including Squaw Valley, which still has the whole Olympic village thing going on. It's got a beautiful mountain-top restaurant/skating rink/swimming pool, and a very nice restaurant. Plus, some of the most varied terrain you'll find, with lots of steeps, bowls, chutes, off piste, you name it. And even views of the lake. Alpine is on the other side of Squaw, and your lift ticket is good for both mountains (although Squaw is so big, you could ride for three days and not be done with it). Alpine is just for serious riding and skiing, because the lodge isn't much to hang out in. But the terrain is awesome.
Probably the prettiest place on the lake is Homewood. It's much smaller than the other mountains, but it is literally right on the lake. Several trails will freak you out, as you feel like you're going to ride right into Lake Tahoe. Bring an extra SD card for your camera...you'll take a TON of photos. And it's cheap. Plus, the parking is easy...it's like pulling off the road into 7-11. Get there early, and you literally park 50 feet from the lift. There are only a couple of greens on the whole mountain, and great glades. Plus "Quail Face" and the 55 Chutes. Steep-ass, wide open bowl. Lots of fun, but takes a hike to get in and out.
If you want another fun drive (which you might do anyway on your way in from Reno), hit up Mt. Rose. Crazy steep chutes, some nice long blacks down the front, beautiful winding blues and greens through the trees, great views of Reno, the valley and the desert, and wicked cheap during the week.
Don't pass up Sugarbowl, either (a drive through the infamous Donner Pass). Chutes, glades, bowls, lots of fun.
Diamond Peak is on the Northeast side. Unless you find a $10 ticket somewhere, skip it. It is beautiful, but gets boring fast. Advertised as the kid's mountain.
Never been to Sierra, but I hear it's fun.
So there you go! Have fun (BTW, check out Shell stations near Reno...they usually offer 2 for 1 Northstar tix with a fill up). Have fun!
damn, he pretty much summed it up.
If you want the ski vacation experience, it's Northstar.
If you want killer terrain, do Squaw and Alpine. Stay at squaw, take a shuttle to alpine if you want a change of scenery. Seriously, you won't get bored at those two resorts for a while.
If your parents are there and want a lot of entertainment, maybe South Lake at Harrahs. No ski in ski out, but there's a Gondola to Heavenly.
:thumbsup:wow surf, thanks for the insanely detailed reply. you def know your way around tahoe!
okay, well, my parents are stupid easy/fun to vacation with. they dont need anything spectacular to entertain them. for example, they went to summit county with us last year, and all they really did was go on a few scenic rides in the suv through the mountains, and chilled in the lil village area at keystone, so they dont really need much entertaining, as long as they have some rum and coke :thumbsup:
so that being said, i really like the sound of staying at squaw and riding the killer terrain. is there ANYTHING there as far as restaurants, bars? or is it literally just a place to go ride? will the lodging be nice? hot tubs?
i think im sold on that idea, once i find out a lil bit more about it specifically. i will start doing some interwebz research. anyone recomend a specific place to stay at squaw?
well damn, just reread the LONG response, and im liking the sound of kirkwood too!! are they at all close to each other? or would it be one or the other type thing?
ahhhhhh....dont know, will do more research and see if anyone chimes in to help me decide, but im thinking its down to either squaw or kirkwood...pls feel free to express your thoughts/opinions on where we should go
okay, so ive already done a little more looking.
looks like both squaw and kirkwood probably have a similar village to keystone, so that should be enough for the parents...am i right about that or way off??
kirkwood does look like it has much SICKER terrain. am i right about that?
surf...whats your thoughts since you seem to be the expert?
now i think im leaning more towards kirkwood, again assuming village area is ample for the parents...
oh and FWIW, im a fully independent, married adult. parents, are like i said, just tagging along for the fun, as we always have fun vacationing with each other. just thought id add that in incase someones misinterpretations wouldve yielded different advice
Squaw's location and village are going to be way more suitable for your parents than Kirkwood. Kirkwood's village is tiny and most everything closes down early, and you are out in the middle of nowhere so they'd have to drive 40 minutes or so just to get to South Lake. Squaw has way more dining and shopping options and still goes strong into the evening/early night. Plus you are just a short drive from Truckee and Tahoe City, which both have a charming mountain town vibe that I'm sure your parents will enjoy. For your situation, I think Squaw is a no-brainer.
Not to mention you are getting access to Alpine Meadows with your lift ticket (free shuttle back and forth), so with all that terrain you really can't go wrong.
unless you're a pro there is no way that squaw/alpine terrain will bore you. I can't compare it to kirkwood but the terrain at both squaw and alpine is incredible. Tree runs, chutes, powder, bowls, cliff drops, steep groomers, mellow groomers, it has it all.Look up some videos of both resorts and you will see. Can't really comment on the village at squaw but there's plenty of shops.
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 cocktail or cold beer.
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 their store...wearing a bandana. And if the weather is good, pack your camera and take the drive down 89 to Emerald Bay. Your 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!
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!!!!
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