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Old 08-29-2012, 10:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Planning first Tahoe trip

Hi guys, will be hitting Tahoe for the first time over (actually just after) New Year this seson and am looking for some advice.

My plan is to visit my friends in San Fran for New Year and then drive to Tahoe on New Year's Day for ~3 days of riding. Probably going to stick to North Tahoe for ease of access (Kirkwood out of reach for such a short trip, I guess).
Looking to ride pow, groomers, and some tree/easy off-piste. Not interested in park. Girlfriend will be with me and that limits how challenging the riding can be (blues not a problem, single blacks also ok but double blacks maybe not).
Thinking of hitting Squaw for at least 1 day and maybe also Alpine Meadows and/or Homewood.

Questions:
  1. Is going just after New Year ok? Is it going to be crazy busy (despite the fact that I will be there mid-week Tuesday-Friday)?
  2. Are Squaw, Alpine Meadows, and/or Homewood the right mountains to hit for our riding? Any other suggestions?
  3. What are good places to stay? I hear that Squaw has some accommodation that is ski-in/ski-out or at least close to the slopes? Probably looking for something more hotel like, rather than a lodge because it is a short trip and the girlfriend demands a certain level of comfort (and yes, I know I will pay for that...).
  4. Any other comments on my plan?

Sorry for all the questions. I am slight newbie first timer - do my riding in Asia and in the US have only done East Coast (~10 years ago!). Any help suggestions much appreciated!
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tahoe is supposed to get decent snow fall this season. That said, that time of year is still on the fence season wise. Usually by then the snow pack is around 40-50% of max depth for the season.

Homewood is a nice mom and pop place. If you are looking to avoid the most crowds. The biggest problem is that it sits at almost lake level. So at that time of year, snow depth might not be as good as other spots like Squaw or Alpine. Definitely not a steep or gnar resort by any measure. It doesn't sound like you are looking for that, and it certainly can be a fun hill.

Squaw is world class no doubt. Ski in/out accommodations and a decent base village. Terrain for all sorts. From kill yourself cliff drops to beginner groomers. Your choice. Alpine has always been Squaw's red headed step child. Plenty of fans and from what I can tell decent terrain. Never got a chance to ride there after they opened to snowboarding.

You may also look at Sugar Bowl. Great mountain and lodging on the mountain. You have to ride the gondola to get to it, so you are a little isolated. That's part of the charm.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I do an out west boarding trip with my old college roommates every winter. Going on year 6 right now. Our first trip was to Tahoe though. We stayed in reno cuz I had friend there that we crashed with. We hit up sqauw and heavenly for 1 day each. Both are incredible and not to be missed. Next tome I go I will stay slopside ski in and out at squaw. U will be absolutely find with snow that time of the year. The other guy is right about no being at full snow pack. But compared to what u are riding on the east coast ...I know I live in DC. You will be in heaven. You will mounds of pow feilds to play around in and tree trails for days days to play in pow. Tahoe got like 7 ft of snow days before we arrived so we were extra lucky. But we went around Jan 15 and it was amazing
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Homewood FTW! Love that little hill. Lots of neat stashes and cool lines off the backside.

Incline has some pretty affordable units on the north shore. Kirkwood is only about 1.5 hours from Incline. If there's snow it's worth the trip.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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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)?

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGboarder View Post
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)?

Thanks!
I would deffenetly drive, its about a three hour drive from san fran, and if you flew into reno then drove to tahoe its probley about 45 min or so.

The week between christmas and new years will be a lot busier than after new years, you will have better luck going that week after, but its tahoe, they still might be some people lingering around on vacation still, but mid-week will be better than the weekend.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you don't mind spending a little extra, consider staying at Northstar. You guys will really enjoy that village in the evenings. Squaw has a nice village too, but may be even more expensive than Northstar. For the type of riding you want to do, I think N* would suit you fine for one of your days, and definitely suit your girlfriend perfectly. Long cruisers and perfectly spaced trees if you get snow. You could spend most of your day on the backside and have a blast.

Squaw and Alpine are going to have more intense terrain, but it doesn't sound like you're looking to get too crazy and who knows what the base will be like in early Jan. I haven't made it to Homewood yet, but have heard nothing but great things. The terrain seems comparable to Northstar with long groomers and nice trees from what I hear. It may have some steeper options than N*. People will tell you N* is flat, and that may be true, but just stick with the backside and the Lookout Mountain/Martis area (up the tow rope) and you'll have a blast.

Make sure you rent a 4wd vehicle just in case. If you don't, and it snows, you're not driving anywhere. Really, if you stay at N*, Squaw, Tahoe City, or Truckee, you'll be within 30-45 min driving distance to any of the mountains I mentioned, with Homewood being the furthest since you actually have to drive along the West shore of the lake (which is a nice scenic drive and you get to see the house Godfather II was filmed in).

Someone mentioned staying in Incline. That's a great area, but it's gonna make your drive further. Incline is in the NE corner of the lake and the mountains you want to hit are in the NW corner (Homewood being more W than NW). However, I HIGHLY recommend taking an afternoon/evening drive to Sand Harbor in the Incline area after a day of riding. As far as easily accessible spots on the lake go, it is definitely my favorite (see pics below). It is the easiest way to truly experience the lake and it is a shame when people come to Tahoe and don't. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more specific questions and I'll check back shortly.





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Old 09-03-2012, 04:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Based on the info so far, I will probably look for accommodation options around Northstar or Squaw/Alpine, but if the snow cooperates will also try to squeeze in a day in Homewood. We definitely like the village thing but on the other hand we will only be there for ~3days and it will be our first time, so the convenience of a resort/hotel with board in-board out has some appeal...

Anyway, exactly the kind of info that I was looking for. Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, by village I meant on mountain, ski in/out. The Northstar and Squaw villages are right there on the mountain. It's not like some other villages where you are more in town and have to catch a shuttle. I should have clarified.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvbms View Post
Yeah, by village I meant on mountain, ski in/out. The Northstar and Squaw villages are right there on the mountain. It's not like some other villages where you are more in town and have to catch a shuttle. I should have clarified.
Got it, thanks. Being on the mountain would be a plus, but we also like some sort 'village feel' (a few restaurants, place for coffee, etc.).

Different question: I have read that the road long the west side of the lake is often closed when it snows. Hope that will not be an issue at that time (around New Year), but if it does get closed how far can you typically go? Is Homewood still reachable or would it already affected by the closure?
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