Are you sitting at your work computer right now researching how to best spend your weeklong vacation on the slopes of Lake Tahoe? Can’t get enough of the photos showing a brightly-clad skier sinking bottomless powder turns with the cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe in the distance?
Well before your boss comes back from lunch and you have to resort to pretending to crunch numbers while you watch videos of Jonny Moseley airing backflips off an overhanging cornice, check out the seven day itinerary below. We’ve taken all the hassle out of planning a ski trip to Lake Tahoe by putting together a dream vacation certain to make you the envy of the office.
Day 1 – Make Turns Right Off the Tarmac, Revel in Olympic History
Start scoping your lines on final approach as the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is located less than an hour’s drive from the slopes. Grab a four-wheel drive rental car or request a lift from UberSki and head for the hills. Start your trip off at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows where you can ski for free simply by presenting your same day boarding pass and even ski under the lights on Saturday nights. Ski the lines made famous in Robb Gaffney’s book Squallywood and be sure to stop by the Olympic Heritage Museum to snap a photo on the top step of the podium.
Where to Play Après: Rub shoulders with local legends at Le Chamois then head to Mamasake to toss back sake bombs.
Day 2 – Laidback California Luxury, Puttin’ on the Ritz
Start your day at Northstar California by carving up the perfectly manicured corduroy before beginning your search for untracked powder in the resort’s gladed trees. Stop by the mid-mountain Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe for lunch, an awe-inspiring property built upon the grand lodge style of the Ahwahnee in Yosemite. After fueling up, it’s time to session Northstar’s award-winning terrain parks built by SnowPark Technologies, the brains and brawn behind the Winter X Games. Finish your day with a celebratory champagne toast on East Ridge before heading down to the bustling village to enjoy toasty s’mores in a fireside cabana.
Where to Play Après: Head into the old railroad town of Truckee for a hand-crafted cocktail at Moody’s Bistro.
Day 3 – Snowcat Skiing on Ellis Peak, Selfie Stop at Emerald Bay
Sneak down the West Shore to Homewood Mountain Resort, one of Lake Tahoe’s hidden gems that holds powder stashes for days after storms. In fact, the resort now offers guided snowcat trips to the top of Ellis Peak. These full day excursions are limited to no more than 10 guests accessing 750 acres of reserved terrain with vertical drops of nearly 2,000 feet. The views alone are worth the price of admission as Homewood sits directly on the shores of Lake Tahoe. On that note, make sure to stop at Emerald Bay on your way South Lake Tahoe for a mandatory group photo as the picturesque setting is one of the most photographed spots in the entire world.
Where to Play Après: Walk across the street to the West Shore Café and Inn for a signature Hot Toddy
Day 4 – Learn to Snowboard Young Padawan, Hop in a Heli
May the force be with you as you drive over Echo Pass to Sierra-at-Tahoe, home to the Burton Star Wars Experience, a dedicated snowboard learning center adorned with chainsaw carvings of all the iconic Star Wars characters. Enjoy the breath-taking views of Pyramid Peak and the Desolation Wilderness from atop the 360 Smokehouse BBQ before venturing out to the steep and deep terrain of Huckleberry Canyon. If you are lucky, you may even get to share a chairlift with one of Sierra’s Golden Girls, Olympic Gold Medalists Jamie Anderson, Hannah Teter and Maddie Bowman. Swing into the South Lake Tahoe Airport on your way down the mountain to cap off the day on a scenic helicopter flight with Heli-Vertex.
Where to Play Après: Stop by the Divided Sky in Meyers to bribe locals to share their stashes.
Day 5 – Sign Up for an Expedition, Soak in Some Hot Springs
Get an early start to head out highway 88 to the powder Shangri-La that is Kirkwood. Its iconic ridgeline of volcanic buttresses will be easily recognizable as it has appeared in countless ski flicks and snowboard magazines. Do yourself a favor and sign up for a guide at Expedition: Kirkwood, a university level instructional program designed to expand the boundaries of mountain exploration. You will get to cut lift lines and be shown the goods by former freeskiing competitors and backcountry gurus. After charging hard all day, enjoy a well-deserved soak at either Grover Hot Springs State Park or David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort.
Where to Play Après: Saddle up at the historic bar at the Kirkwood Inn and Saloon built in 1865 by Zachary Kirkwood.
Day 6 – Go All In, Race Against Lindsey Vonn
Download Vail Resorts’ EpicMix app while riding up Heavenly’s 2.4 mile-long gondola so that you can keep track of your vertical for the day and keep tabs on lift line wait times. Make sure to take in the mind-blowing lake views seen from Ridge Run and clock your time against Four-Time Overall World Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn as part of the resort’s EpicMix Racing. Brave souls can tackle the expert terrain found in Mott and Killebrew Canyons or bang out hot laps on the mogul-ridden Gunbarrel Face. The real fun starts during the Unbuckle at Tamarack daily apres parties featuring the Heavenly Angels go-go dancers and a mobile DJ snowcat designed by Aaron Hagar, son of the red rocker himself Sammy Hagar.
Where to Play Après: Keep the partying going at MontBleu’s boundary-pushing nightclubs, Blu and Opal.
Day 7 – Drop a Double Black Diamond, Roll the Dice
Travel up to Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe via the highest mountain pass kept open year-round in the Sierra Nevada. Hop on either of the resort’s two high-speed, six-pack chairlifts to access the peak of the mountain in a matter of minutes and get your first glimpse of The Chutes. This once taboo zone boasts some of the steepest, most sustained vertical in all of Lake Tahoe with over 200 acres of north-facing, 50 degree slopes. Settle your nerves with a stiff cocktail at the Winter’s Creek Lodge where you can watch paragliders soaring over the Washoe Valley more than 4,000 feet below.
Where to Play Après: Hit the Terrace Lounge at the Peppermill Reno, pay for your entire trip with a single roll of the dice.