Truly the crown jewel of the High Sierra, Lake Tahoe strategically straddles two states bringing together California’s laidback vibe with Nevada’s anything goes attitude. One of the most beloved ski regions on the planet, Lake Tahoe boasts fifteen downhill resorts and seven cross country areas, more resorts in close proximity than any other winter destination in North America.
For the uninitiated, riding a Lake Tahoe storm wave is a required rite of passage to call oneself a true blue powderhound – just don’t forget the sunblock. The region is geographically predisposed to attract massive snowstorms measured in feet rather than inches followed by predictably sunny skies – the makings of a legendary bluebird powder day.
Sometimes the most challenging part of a trip is the mere act of getting there. Winter vacations compound that with the need for travelers to schlep all of the additional winter gear, skis or snowboards. However, this season making turns right off the tarmac just got easier for skiers and snowboarders headed to the slopes in Lake Tahoe.
Even though gambling is legal in Lake Tahoe, ski resort operators don’t like taking any changes when it comes to making sure chairlifts are turning by mid-November and early season conditions are prime for powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders. This is where state-of-the-art snowmaking systems come into play, allowing ski resorts to hedge their bets and make snowflakes fall from the sky, even when there is not a cloud in sight.
The depths of Tahoe are a thing of legend, both the lake’s cobalt blue waters and the mountain’s bottomless snow. On deep powder days, chairlift rides are filled with stories of overhead turns, tunneling faceshots, even the occasional claim of a Jacques Cousteau sighting (he did once captain a submarine in Lake Tahoe). One thing is certain, there are many times when a snorkel comes in handy on the slopes in Tahoe.
Plenty of winter destinations brag about champagne powder, but only Lake Tahoe can still serve up champagne toasts until well after 2:00am. Party-minded skiers and snowboarders simply migrate to the Nevada side of the lake where there’s no need for such pesky things as last call.
Ride the Aerial Tram at Squaw Valley or the Scenic Gondola at Heavenly. Be a part of the action and join your friends and family for the ride up the mountain. Squaw Valley’s tram heads to High Camp with plenty of attractions for non-skiers including the Olympic Heritage Museum. Heavenly’s gondola stops at an observation deck before arriving at Adventure Peak home to the resort’s four lane tubing hill. Both offer stunning views of Lake Tahoe, dining options at the top and regular rides back down.
Let’s face it, once you’ve had first tracks down a mountain there’s no going back. The search for fresh, untracked powder becomes an addiction, one most people are willing to pay a premium to enjoy. Lake Tahoe’s expansive mountains and luxurious resort amenities more than cater to this lifestyle.
Bragging rights are an important part of mountain culture...first ascents, first descents and the much-sought after first chair on a powder day. The lengths locals go to in snagging first chairs are a thing of legend: predawn rally cries, all-night campouts and even the occasional rumor of beer being used as bribery. But few stories can outshine first chair of the entire season, this feat can be brought up again and again at slope-side watering holes and still receive a hearty toast.
Lake Tahoe ski resorts will be welcoming skiers and snowboarders over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend with powdery slopes and spinning chairlifts thanks to recent storms that dropped more than a foot of fresh snow at summit elevations. With all major Lake Tahoe resorts planning to be open by Saturday, November 26, destination travelers can take advantage of early season deals and new nonstop air service to enjoy Lake Tahoe's endless variety of winter vacation itineraries including 24/7 Vegas-style entertainment and non-stop fun for the entire family.