From White Slopes to Red Carpets: How to Be a VIP in Lake Tahoe
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.
Fueling the fire even more, the Vegas-style casinos surrounding Lake Tahoe open up the possibility of hitting it big, instantly elevating a typical ski vacation to an unforgettable trip of a lifetime. Whether you hit the progressive jackpot on a slot machine or ride a winning rail at a craps table, Lake Tahoe offers no shortage of ways to spend your newfound winnings on perks such as express lift privileges, private guide services, fine dining experiences and over-the-top entertainment.
Both on and off the slopes, Lake Tahoe has VIPs covered. Read on for trip suggestions on how to get the most out of your winter vacation and be a “playah” in the High Sierra. Can’t Get Enough of that First Chair Feeling?
New this season, Northstar California has announced the Platinum Access Program granting pass holders access to exclusive lift lines, guided mountain tours, member’s lounge, ski valet and complimentary champagne toasts to cap off each day. Embodying Northstar’s commitment to laidback California luxury, the resort’s Mountain Table Series pairs regional wineries with California-sourced cuisine served at the resort’s stunning mountaintop Zephyr Lodge, with an after-hours gondola ride and horse-drawn sleigh making getting there half the fun. Complete details can be found at www.northstarcalifornia.com.
Ever wonder what it’s like to bomb the mountain alongside an Olympic legend? Squaw Valley’s Ski or Ride with Jonny Days enable guests to shred with Jonny Moseley, Gold Medalist in the 1998 Winter Games and inventor of the infamous “Dinner Roll”. Better yet, sign up for the resort’s Dawn Patrol program to charge the slopes with Jonny before they are even open to the general public. Both offerings are available on select dates; must be at least an intermediate skier or rider. Visit www.squawalpine.com for more information.
Home to some of the steepest and deepest terrain in Tahoe, Kirkwood has known for its massive snowfall totals and healthy base depth thanks to its advantageous location atop the Pacific Crest. For the ultimate powder experience, sign up for Expedition: Kirkwood’s guided snowcat tours to Martin Point, a north-facing stash of more than 2,000 vertical feet filled with open bowls, perfectly-spaced trees, and iconic rock buttresses. Skiers and snowboarders must be of expert ability; trips include the use of beacon, probe, and shovel. For details, go to www.kirkwood.com.
Forget pimp my ride, Heavenly has upped the ante by custom-building a Mobile DJ Snowcat to roam the slopes and energize the crowd during its daily Unbuckle at Tamarack apres parties. Designed by Sammy Hagar’s son, the over-the-snow party wagon is captained by some of the region’s best DJs with the Heavenly Angels on board to dial up the stoke level (think go-go girls with fur-covered boots). Visit www.skiheavenly.com for a sneak peek.
Extend Last Chair to Last Call
The perfect way to cap off an epic ski day, book a sunset champagne tour with Heli-Vertex Helicopter Tours serving both the North and South shores of Lake Tahoe. This hour-long scenic tour chases the setting sun as it dips below the Desolation Wilderness washing magnificent colors across Lake Tahoe and the surrounding peaks. Truly a once in a lifetime experience and a great way to scope out your lines for the following day on the slopes. Details can be found at www.bookhelivertex.com.
What better way to explore Lake Tahoe than by reserving a sightseeing cruise aboard the Tahoe Bleu Wave, a 70-foot yacht equipped with a fully stocked bar, fireplace, climate-controlled interior, private lounge, stateroom, fly-bridge and gigantic party bow. Winter tours include gourmet lunch and two complimentary drinks departing daily from Zephyr Cove to Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the world with up close views of Eagle Falls, Vikingsholm Castle, and Fannette Island. Private charters also available. Visit www.tahoebleuwave.com to learn more.
For an unparalleled dining experience, reserve either the Chef’s Table or the Chef’s Tasting Counter at Manzanita housed in the stately Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe located mid-mountain at Northstar California. The Chef’s Table is an intimate affair served on a private table for up to eight people and includes a six-course meal personally served and explained by Chef Chris Watkins. The Chef’s Tasting Counter offers communal seating for up to six people with views directly into the exposition kitchen and a tapas menu reflecting the innovative offerings served at Manzanita. Reservations can be made at www.ritzcarlton.com
Do yourself a favor and pony up for VIP lounge seating and bottle service at the casino nightclubs; it’s well worth the investment to skip the lines and set your crew up with an enviable spot next to the dancefloor. The Opal Ultra Lounge at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa is one of the region’s hottest clubs with a sensual atmosphere that blends fantasy and reality. World-renown DJs, go-go dancers, body painting and non-stop action until the doors close at dawn. To inquire about VIP admission and preferred seating, visit www.montbleuresort.com.