Archive for November, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Reasons To Visit Lake Tahoe This Winter – Published by Kathleen Jay – SF Examiner

Five (more) reasons to visit Lake Tahoe this winter

By: Kathleen Jay
Special to The Examiner
November 7, 2010

Ski Free: Lake Tahoe features 12 mountain resorts, including Northstar-at-Tahoe on the North Shore. (Courtesy photo)

In less than two weeks, ski and snowboarding season will be here.

Located approximately 200 miles east of San Francisco, Lake Tahoe — the largest alpine lake in North America surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains — has been popular for more than a century, when Truckee ski hill opened in 1910.

Lake Tahoe has 12 mountain resorts, which are identified by their proximity to the lake. On the South Shore are Heavenly Mountain Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain Resort; on the north shore are Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA, Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Boreal Mountain Resort, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Donner Ski Ranch, Homewood Mountain Resort and Mount Rose Ski Resort.

And if you are not a skier or snowboarder, the area is filled activities — from ice skating at Heavenly, Northstar or Squaw, taking sleigh rides along the edge of the lake, or tubing down groomed hill.

What’s new this season

Vail’s acquisition of Northstar, partnership with Heavenly: In late October, Vail Resorts — which already operates Heavenly — acquired Northstar. What this means for season pass holders is this: Heavenly and Epic Pass holders will immediately gain access to Northstar; in addition, holders of Northstar-Sierra Double Whammy passes will gain access to Heavenly.
Northstar expands snowboarding instruction, adds to village: Northstar Resort’s Burton Snowboard Academy has three new offerings: instruction for kids ages 7 to 12 years old; instruction for 4- to 6-year-olds; and a new women’s program, which will be offered every Friday during the winter for an all-day snowboarding session.

Northstar — which has a 150,000-square-foot village that has an outdoor ice-skating rink and more than 35 shops and restaurants — is opening two new stores: the Marketplace, a grab-and-go grocery that will also be selling beer, wine and spirits; and All Fired Up!, a pottery painting studio.
Heavenly to open new mountain lodge, terrain park: The big news for Heavenly is opening a new, mid-mountain dining facility: Tamarack Lodge. The a 15,000-square-foot restaurant will feature a scramble-style food court and an open dining area overlooking ski runs serviced by the Tamarack Express chairlift through a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Set for completion in February, the lodge will offer 500 indoor seats and 250 outdoor seats.

Also worth noting: Heavenly is opening a new terrain park — called High Roller Heavenly — made entirely from recycled objects.
Sierra-at-Tahoe adds lifts for beginners: Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort on the south shore recently added two new surface lifts for the upcoming winter season. Totaling 700 feet, the two new carpet conveyor lifts will allow beginning skiers and snowboarders to access 11 acres of sculpted Smart Terrain.

Also for the young or young-at-heart, Sierra-at-Tahoe will open Blizzard Mountain, a new snow-tubing park that will offer two rope-tow accessible tubing lanes, an expanded snow play and sledding area, and outdoor fire pits.

Kirkwood launches canopy zip-line tour: Last month, Kirkwood Mountain Resort launched a new canopy zip-line tour of the mountain resort. Run by Zip Tahoe Canopy Tours, the zip-line experience features eight cables, each with its own characteristic of speed, height-range and scenery, such as tree house platforms, suspension bridges and trees five feet in diameter. Guided tours run 2½ to three hours long.

For families, the resort is offering two new passes: the “Daycare Dilemma” lift ticket allows parents to split shifts on the slopes and a new “Intro to Snow” program will give toddlers an active alternative to traditional daycare.
If you go

South Shore

Heavenly Mountain Resort (www.skiheavenly.com): The largest ski area in California and Nevada, located near Stateline.

Sierra-at-Tahoe (www.sierraattahoe.com): A medium-size South Shore ski area.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort (www.kirkwood.com): A ski area that gets more snow than any other ski area in the Tahoe region.

North Shore

Northstar-at-Tahoe (www.northstarattahoe.com): a popular north shore ski area with a new and growing village.

Squaw Valley (www.squaw.com): The second-largest ski area, known for its hosting of the 1960 Winter Olympics, located near Tahoe City.

Alpine Meadows (www.skialpine.com): A medium-size ski area on the north shore only a few miles from Squaw Valley.

Diamond Peak (www.diamondpeak.com): A small ski area located in Incline Village, Nev.

— Kathleen Jay

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