Surviving Ski Week

For most of the country, this 3-day weekend is celebrated in honor of Monday’s President’s Day Holiday, but not surprisingly, this holiday is celebrated EVEN better in Lake Tahoe.  Here President’s Holiday Weekend kicks off what is known throughout California as “Ski Week” where schools throughout the state take the entire week off, pack their cars with skis and snowboards and head up to the mountains to hit the slopes.  Here are tips on how to enjoy the BEST ski week vacation in Lake Tahoe this week:

Tips for Your Ski Week Vacation in Lake Tahoe:
Travel Times DO Make A Difference:
 Don’t leave the Bay Area on Friday evening!  Instead, take the day off work, pull the kids out of school early and drive up on Thursday evening or early Friday morning.  Likewise, head out of town a day early to avoid the traffic jam leaving on Sunday.

Paying at the Pump:  Fill-up before coming into town.  It’s no secret gas stations in the basin raise rates especially on the holiday weekends in the wintertime.  When leaving town, fill-up your car just enough to get you to Auburn or Sacramento where gas rates will significantly reduce.  Or, if you run an errand to Reno during the holiday week, fill up there!

Plan Ahead:
 Make reservations ahead of time!  Most ski resorts allow you to arrange ski and snowboard lessons, rentals and even lift ticket purchases directly online.  This will help you to avoid long lines in the morning, save you a buck or two and get you and your family out on the slopes faster.

Splurge, You’re Worth It!:  Holiday weeks in Lake Tahoe are not cheap and you are already paying holiday lift ticket rates so spend the extra money if your ski resort’s offers a “Fast Pass Priority Lane Access” like the popular one at Northstar California which will give you access to quicker lift lines so you can get more runs out of your day!

Take Advantage! Avoid the crowds:
 You’re here to play all week so why not schedule your activities so you can enjoy them best?  I recommend saving your days on the slopes, especially at the big ski resorts like Northstar California, Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows for midweek dates when crowds and lines will be shorter.  Instead, enjoy other outdoor activities like snow shoeing, ice-skating and sledding on the weekends where lines and crowds won’t have as big of an impact on your fun!  (I will let you in on another secret – many of us locals’ season passes are blacked out this week so take advantage of the mountain during the mid-week which is what we usually do!)

Diehard?:   Ok, some of you diehards are reading the tip above and thinking, not ski everyday? Yeah right!  If you’re planning on hitting the slopes each day you are here, busy holiday weekends are a great time to enjoy the smaller ski resorts in the basin that can be easier to maneuver with your family and friends amongst the crowds.  Visit ski resorts like Diamond Peak, Homewood Mountain and Mt. Rose whose lines, lodges, parking lots and prices can be a bit easier to manage.

Make a Costco Run:  
Planning to stop by the grocery store after a day on the slopes to pick-up dinner?  Guess what? So is everyone else on the mountain!  Avoid the grocery stores between 3pm-7pm, bring up groceries for a few days, visit smaller local grocery stores and shop during off hours in the middle of the day and late at night with less crowds.

I hope that these local tips will help you enjoy your holiday ski week and get the most out of your visit to Lake Tahoe.   Do you have a different Lake Tahoe holiday vacation tip that you have learned and would like to share?  I invite you to leave your comments and share it with us!

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