The Tequila Sunrises Never Set in Lake 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 the last call.
In Tahoe, the fun on the slopes is simply a warm-up for the non-stop action that awaits once the lifts stop turning. Described as “Vegas in the High Sierra,” Lake Tahoe and the greater Reno area deliver world-class entertainment and 24/7 nightlife far beyond just legalized gaming.
The region has welcomed a number of hip new restaurants and popular bars that are capitalizing on the current trend of locally-sourced food and hand-crafted cocktails. These newcomers join the hallowed ranks of fine dining establishments that pair award-winning wine lists with California-inspired dishes, together served with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe.
The Reno/Lake Tahoe region also regularly hosts some of the biggest musical acts and live DJs currently touring the country. Not to be outdone, the boundary-pushing nightclubs at the regional casino properties leave little to the imagination as silk aerialists, fire dancers and body-painted performers energize the crowd until the break of dawn.
When it does come to Vegas-style gaming, both Lake Tahoe and Reno offer all the traditional table favorites such as poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and pai gow. Sports betting fanatics will enjoy the well-appointed sportsbooks and keno parlors while slot machine enthusiasts can choose from the latest themed reels and progressive payouts.
For those ready to take on Lake Tahoe, we’ve outlined an action-packed itinerary certain to keep your pulse pumping both on and off the slopes. Can you handle the Lake Tahoe 24 Hour Challenge? 9:06am – Lap the Lifts, Log the Vertical
Start your day off with a six-pack…not that kind…the express chairlift kind. Choose a resort that has high-speed lifts, gondolas or trams to maximize time on the slopes. Speaking of saving time, utilize Vail Resorts’ new EpixMix Time feature to access real-time lift line times at Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar while recording your on-mountain stats for the day. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will also be debuting a new app powered by SkiLynx that lets skiers and snowboarders instantly send messages/locations, track their family and friends and view lift line times across the entire mountain.
12:32pm – Take a Break at a Mid-Mountain Watering Hole
Don’t waste any time heading down the mountain for lunch, fuel up at one of the many happening restaurants and bars located on-slope. The Baja Grill at Sierra-at-Tahoe is the perfect place to enjoy fish tacos and a bucket of Coronas; the ski-in, ski-out patio at the Backyard BBQ at Northstar’s Ritz-Carlton is filled with blues, brews and BBQ; Booyah’s Exotic Burgers and Brews at Heavenly features made-to-order burgers and 97 beers on tap; the Winter’s Creek Lodge at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe blends modern architecture with old-fashioned good service.
2:19pm – Earn Your Turns, Bag a Peak
Not that we’re suggesting liquid courage has anything to do with it, but the afternoon seems to be when most skiers and snowboarders find the courage to venture off the beaten path. The Wild Card area at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe offers stunning views and easily accessed powder stashes; the hike-to terrain in Huckleberry Canyon at Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts some of the steepest/deepest lines in all of Tahoe; the California Chutes at Kirkwood reward hikers with standout lines that become the envy of those riding the backside; Granite Chief at Squaw Valley will score you points in the resort’s game of G.N.A.R.; in big snowfall years, the Carson Valley Express at Heavenly boasts more than 5,100 vertical feet of fall line turns.
4:20pm – Saddle Up to a Slope-Side Bar
Nothing beats clicking out of your skis or unstrapping your snowboard for a well-deserved cold beverage to celebrate an epic day on the mountain. Le Chamois and The Loft Bar at the base of Squaw Valley having been serving slope-side libations since 1969; the festive atmosphere at the Tavern 6330 in the Village at Northstar regularly spills out around its two outdoor fire pits; the patio at the Off The Wall Bar at Kirkwood is the perfect place to stare up at the resort’s iconic ridgelines and brag about the day’s lines; to truly get the party started, Heavenly’s daily Unbuckle at Tamarack apres parties feature go-go girls in snow boots and custom-built mobile DJ snowcats.
5:35pm – Hit Happy Hour for Local Hand-Crafted Brew
The Lake Tahoe region is home to numerous award-winning microbreweries and local pubs. The Brewery at Lake Tahoe’s signature Bad Ass Ale is a deep burgundy in color and high in alcohol, proceed at your own risk; the Stateline Brewing Company’s Acclimator Ale is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with Lake Tahoe’s high elevation; the aptly named Party Boy IPA at Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company is all you need to get things going; Fifty-Fifty Brewing Company’s Donner Party Porter is great for sharing with friends (just don’t share your friends); and Mr. Toad’s Wild Rye at Cold Water Brewery will leave you with an exhilarated feeling.
7:29pm – Enjoy an Elegant Dinner with Inspiring Views
Fine dining in Lake Tahoe has recently been elevated to an entirely new level. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Jack Connell, the Plumpjack Café in Squaw Valley is now widely regarded as Lake Tahoe’s premier dining destination; overlooking Old Town Truckee, Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar combines rustic elegance in a historic setting with one of the oldest mechanized ski lifts still sitting in its parking lot; the West Shore Café at the base of Homewood has welcomed new Executive Chef Ben Deinken, Jr. to manage the culinary experience featuring new locally-sourced menus; the Lone Eagle Grill at the Hyatt-Lake Tahoe prides itself on High Sierra-inspired cuisine served against a spectacular lakefront backdrop.
9:43pm – Bet It All on Black
No trip to Lake Tahoe is complete without some time spent playing on the green felt. Harvey’s Lake Tahoe is home to a circuit stop on the World Series of Poker and boasts the largest poker room around the lake; the Hyatt-Lake Tahoe is situated directly on the shores of Lake Tahoe and its Grand Lodge Casino has a distinctive upscale feel; the Peppermill in Reno caters to high limit players with liberal gaming rules and luxurious slot and poker rooms.
12:01am – Celebrate Your Winnings on the Dancefloor
Now that you’re free of inhibitions and your wallet is full of the casino’s cash, head to the Vinyl Event Venue at the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in South Lake Tahoe to catch a live show; the Crystal Bay Club on the North Shore is a sure bet for soulful performances by acts such as Galactic or Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe; the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno brings in headliners such as Alice in Chains, Bassnectar and Ty Dolla Sign; if you are lucky enough to visit during New Year’s Eve, the annual SnowGlobe Music Festival has grown to become a force in the EDM scene with renowned headline along the lines of Deadmau5
:22am Push the Boundaries at Nevada’s Nightclubs
Time to shift things into a higher gear. The boundary-pushing nightclubs located within Lake Tahoe and Reno’s casino properties rival Las Vegas. Opal and Blu nightclubs at the MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa go beyond VIP booths and bottle service to include hookah lounges and body painting; Paris Hilton was on hand for the kickoff party at the recently renovated Peek Nightclub within Harrah’s Lake Tahoe; the Lex at Grand Sierra Resort is the region’s premier nightclub boasting 25,000 square feet, three full bars, 33 VIP tables and a centerpiece pool.
6:37am Refuel at a Greasy Spoon
If you are still standing upright, some sort of bacon and eggs breakfast is in order. The Log Cabin Cafe in Kings Beach is perennially voted the best breakfast in Lake Tahoe; dueling coffee shops Ernie’s and Bert’s sit across from one another in South Lake Tahoe, and either will do the trick; Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs has five locations in and around Reno with the huevos rancheros being the go-to dish to get you back on the slopes.
8:02am – Take a Stroll on a Tahoe Beach
After a full night out on the town, most people benefit from a walk on one of Lake Tahoe’s stunning beaches to center themselves and reflect on the region’s natural beauty. Kiva Beach near Camp Richardson is a favorite with locals given its close proximity to Mt. Tallac; Nevada Beach is an unforgettable stretch of sand only a few minutes from the Stateline casino corridor; and the granite boulder formations at Sand Harbor make for perfect meditation platforms.
9:05am – Do It All Over Again
With seven-world class ski resorts, countless drinking and dining options and plenty of places to pay for it all with a single roll of the dice, Lake Tahoe delivers both on and off the slopes.
For more tips on planning a winter vacation to Lake Tahoe, take Ski Lake Tahoe’s “Vacation Like a Local” quiz to find out which mountain lifestyle best describes you and get insider tips from like-minded locals on how to get the most out of your upcoming trip. Share your results for a chance to win free lift tickets valid throughout the 2016-17 winter season.