Mother Nature. Lady Luck. No winter snowsports destination combines the two better than Lake Tahoe. Where else can you ski blower powder all day and party at Vegas-style casinos and all-night dance clubs until the wee hours?
Having hosted plenty of journalists on 24 Hours of Heavenly extravaganzas over the past seven years, I've become a bit of an expert when it comes to planning this type of trip. A word of caution: This itinerary is not for the fireside fondue dippers. This is for the hardcore skiers and snowboarders who want an all-in-type experience. So get out a pencil and a reem of paper, Professor Pecoraro is going to give you the answers to next weekend's test:
The key with Friday night is to pace yourself. The 24 Hours is a marathon, not a sprint. The Tahoe Rookie Mistake is to go so big the first night that you can't answer the bell in the morning. Lake Tahoe leads the world in foot-plus powder days, but also in FCMs (First Chairs Misseed).
I recommend hitting Fish Taco Friday at the Riva Grill, working up the courage to talk to a Heavenly Angel and then quitting while you're ahead.
8:30am - We measure our snow in feet - not inches - in Tahoe, so chances are, you're looking at a powder day. Be first in line at the Heavenly Gondola.
9:00am - You're working Milky Way Bowl and Dipper Knob waiting for the gates to Mott and Killebrew Canyons to open. These two wind-loaded areas boast enough lines to keep every powderhound in freshies.
11:00am - The Mott and Killebrew gates open and you're knee-deep in some of the gnarliest steeps Lake Tahoe has to offer. Plan on earning your Canyon EpicMix pin for riding Mott chair at least five times in a row.
2:00pm - You've skied through lunch and your legs are thrashed. Relax in the sun (did I mention that Lake Tahoe gets more sun than any other snowsports destination - this is California (well, okay, Nevada, but close enough) after all) at East Peak Lodge's sea of adirondack chairs. Great people watching.
3:30pm - Now it starts to get intense. You'll want to hit the Unbuckle apres party at Heavenly's Tamarack Lodge. This is the hottest, highest-elevation apres ski party at Lake Tahoe, with DJs, half-priced drinks, happy hour appetizer specials (get the nacho platter) and entertainment by the EpicMix Chix. And get an EpicMix photo taken with the Heavenly Angels. Parental discretion is advised. Maybe the coolest part is riding the Gondola back down at 5:30 in the twillight with the lights of South Lake Tahoe glittering below you.
8:00pm - After a shower and some shut-eye, you'll want to fuel up for the rest of the night, so hit the Ciera Chophouse, 19 Kitchen Bar or one of the other world-class restaurants in the casino corridor.
10:00pm - A little blackjack? Roulette? Texas Hold'em? Craps? Pai Gow Poker? Warning: You've got to get gin seng to get Pai Gow Poker.
11:00pm - The night clubs open and when the body painters come out, it's all over.
Miss your flight - stay in Tahoe.
Think you have what it takes to rock out 24/7 at Heavenly? Book your vacation now and get your game face ready.
- Russ Pecoraro, Director of Communications, Heavenly Mountain Resort