The Sky is the Limit with Blue Sky Events

Robin Endicott and Mitch wedding Regan Beach and EdgewoodLake Tahoe is a perfect destination to celebrate “I do” amongst your family, friends and loved ones.  Celebrating 250+ days of bright blue skies, picturesque snow-capped mountain backdrops, lakeside beach ceremony stages and cool, crisp evenings it makes for the BEST destination wedding location.  So I do have to preface  that I am a bit biased since Lake Tahoe also happens to be the location where I chose to marry four years ago along the shores of Edgewood Tahoe Golf Resort.  But planning a destination wedding isn’t easy and I couldn’t have done it without the professional planning and expertise of Kerry Hawk and her team at Blue Sky Events.

wedding robin mitch 061409When I became engaged I was living in Maui, Hawaii but my husband and I decided to plan a destination wedding celebration in Lake Tahoe since it is a special place to us.  Attempting to plan from afar and not familiar with the wedding players in Lake Tahoe, I knew immediately I would need assistance.  I also knew that being someone who had worked in the luxury hospitality market for years prior, I wasn’t going to be the easiest of customers.  I knew what I wanted, was overly detailed by nature and that nearly anything was possible.  Enters Kerry Hawk and team to save the day!

Over the next 6 months+ Kerry and I arranged conference calls where we began creating my perfect day 2,500 miles apart.  I had hired Blue Sky Events to assist with pre-event planning as well as on-site coordination on our wedding day. Kerry was readily able to answer all my wedding planning questions and provide perfect local solutions for all of my needs.   She knew the region like the back of her hand and had key partnerships with reliable local vendors whom I ultimately choose my stylist, florist and cake designer from her sacred “list”.  Beyond the usual responsibilities and tasks expected from a wedding coordination team, Kerry personally went above and beyond the call of duty which I want to share with you here.

wedding robin mitch 061409First, since my husband and I had met and were currently living in Maui yet hosting our ceremony on the ‘mainland’ we wanted to incorporate a traditional island ritual into our special day.  Specifically, we wanted to include a Hawaiian lei ritual into our ceremony.  After calling dozens of florists, I learned that they really didn’t have access to the tropical flowers needed to make authentic leis.  I found a company in Maui that would FedEx real Hawaiian leis for our ceremony but there was one big glitch.  They wouldn’t ship them to a hotel (which is where we would be staying) yet only to a home residence since upon delivery they had to immediately be refrigerated and stored.  After searching for a solution Kerry immediately stepped in and offered to have them delivered to her personal residence!  To say the least, the leis were delivered, stored and transported by Kerry successfully and were an integral part of our ceremony.  These special leis are wedding robin mitch 061409dried and still hang in my house today!

The big day arrived.  And of course… there is always at least one thing (if your lucky!) that goes not as planned.  For us it was our DJs who were NOT one of the recommended vendors on Kerry’s list – lesson learned!  In short, they were terrible – late, without our extensive list of preselected wedding songs and totally clueless.  At one point in the night they were actually sitting at the bar!  The great news ….is that I barely noticed thanks to Kerry Hawk.  I will never forget walking into our reception as Kerry calmly walked alongside me reassuring me not to worry but purposefully asked what our signature first dance song selections were because the DJ didn’t have them!  Later, I learned that Kerry had downloaded the songs to her iPod and had them playing on queue so that no one besides us ever knew what had happened.  This woman could simply do it all!

Photo from Blue SkyI had the privilege of recently reconnecting with Kerry to ask her about what projects she and Blue Sky Events were currently working on and where she sees the future of her company headed.  I learned that Blue Sky Events has expanded immensely into the incentive and corporate event planning realm in addition to their full-time wedding coordination business.  Jason Hawk, Kerry’s husband, has also joined the company and is now co-owner greatly contributing to the expansion of their business into corporate and resort event management.  As part of their event management portfolio they have added a roster of events including the annual Tahoe Snowcial, Discount Tires annual incentive trip with over 500 attendees and are the preferred event planning team for on and off snow events for Heavenly Mountain Resort just to name a few.  Blue Sky Events also plans the Tahoe South Heavenly Holidays for a two week run of events in the Heavenly Village, that culminates on New Years Eve with an event bringing in thousands of attendees loaded with entertainment and the worlds only Gondola Ball Drop and Fireworks!  Quite the Lake Tahoe local superstar planners.

Tahoe Snowcial - MC Hammer

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 2.05.50 PMWhen asked what contributes to her success, Kerry emphasized the ability to pull from so many resources within the area thanks to the well-established relationships they have created – a key success factor when operating in a small region like ours.  Kerry sees the future of their company continuing to “give amazing service to all people visiting the Lake Tahoe region to ensure that their time is well spent while here” and hopes to create a unique, annual festival all of their own!  Can’t wait to see what Kerry, Jason and Blue Sky Events have in the making!

Do you have a wedding, special event or corporate conference that you need assistance with planning?  Do as I did to ensure a flawless experience by consulting with Kerry and Jason Hawk at Blue Sky Events.  You will never look back.

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Photo credits:  Kerry Hawk & Robin Penning

10 Reasons Spring Makes Lake Tahoe The Best Lake

images_sunsetSpring in Lake Tahoe is a special time. There is a saying amongst locals that people “come for the winter and stay for the summer”.  Springtime is the unique time where visitors and locals are able to experience the best of both seasons.  My ideal spring day in Lake Tahoe goes something like this…. wake up to the bright sun peaking in the window,  hit the slopes mid-morning to take a few turns, then put the skis and snowboards on the car and pull out the kayaks and SUP boards and sail on the Lake for the afternoon.  End the day with a cool evening at a fire pit roasting s’mores under the clear starry skies.

In my opinion, here are the top 10 reasons why Spring makes Lake Tahoe … The Best Lake:

1. Less Crowds – Enjoy shorter lift lines, closer parking access and less crowded slopes as you take your last turns of the season while the rest of the ski goers have retired for the season.

images2.  Easy Driving – Do you hate winter driving whether it’s chain control, slippery roads or bad drivers?  Late winter storms tend to stick to the high elevations with less impact on mountain passes.  Plus the snow that does fall doesn’t stick as easy to the warmer roads making driving to the slopes a sinch!

3.  Lighter Later – With Daylight Savings Time begining mid-march visitors are able to extend their outdoor adventures after a day on the slopes to sunset hikes, beach walks and more!

4.  Best Time to Learn – Let’s be honest, not many people, kids especially, want to learn how to ski or snowboard in dumping snow conditions with freezing temperatures and scare visibility.  The sunny temperatures and somewhat slushy snow make ideal conditions for learners to master their mountain skills.

images35.  Clothing Optional – That’s right… shed those heavy winter layers and enjoy your days on the mountain while catching sun rays in lighter apparel including shells, t-shirts and even shorts!  I’ve seen it all.

6.  Hot Deals – Celebrate the end of the season with some of the best pricing including killer early booking deals for next year’s season pass.  To learn more about specific season pass deals read Spring It On with Season Pass Specials in Lake Tahoe!

7.  Get Your Gear – It’s no secret that at the end of the season retailers put their equipment and apparel on sale to empty their shelves of “last season” lines.  For information about the best equipment and retail locations in Lake Tahoe, learn more at the Lake Tahoe All Access Blog.

8.  Doggone Days – The weather is getting warmer and that means everyone wants to be outside as much as possible and your pent up dogs do too!  A great thing about spring is that you can enjoy the warm weather and still take your pups to the beaches around the lake before rules change.

Schneetag9. Fore! –  Golf courses around the basin including Old Brockway Golf Course as well as the courses in Reno begin to open for the season so why not ski one day and golf the next?

10. Skimming Along – End the season with a good ‘ole pond skim!  Resorts around the basin celebrate the end of the season and the melting of snow with pond skim competitions that draw crowds and cheers.  Most popular pond skim events are at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Heavenly and Squaw Valley.

Is there another reason that you love Lake Tahoe in the spring?  If so, please share it in the comments below!

Enjoy learning about Lake Tahoe?  Follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Photo Credit 1, Photo Credit 2Photo Credit 3, Photo Credit 4

Spring It On with Season Pass Specials in Lake Tahoe

1009_1469sSpring is officially here and that means a mixture of sunny days with temperatures in the 50’s followed by late season spring storms bringing snow fall to the summits and dustings at Lake level.  Don’t make the common mistake and wait to purchase your season pass when rates are highest in the Fall before the season starts.  Do as the locals do and get your end of season turns in for FREE this year while locking in your season pass for next year at Lake Tahoe ski resorts at the guaranteed lowest prices of the year.  Check out the best season pass deals at Lake Tahoe ski resorts in more detail below!

header_TSP1314_1Squaw & Alpine’s Tahoe Super Pass – Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have announced their end of season 2013-2014 Tahoe Super Pass special that offers tons of specials if you buy your pass before May 7th.  With purchase of the early season pass you will receive perks valued over $2,000 including:  FREE spring skiing and riding beginning on March 31st until the end of the season, friend and family discounted tickets and the guaranteed lowest season pass price to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadow and Sierra At Tahoe.

Mt. Rose Adult Unlimited & Beginner Passes – Mt. Rose has announced two 2013-2014 spring passes including the Adult Unlimited Pass at $399 which provides unrestricted access to the mountain for the rest of this season plus all of next year’s season with NO blackout dates!  Also, if you are begininger Mt. Rose is ready to teach you!  With a special Beginner Pass for $149.00 which offers lift access to beginner chairs, free group lessons and free rental equipment to guests 11 years+ you will be a pro in no time.  What a deal!

epic-pass-logo2Epic Spring Passes – All three Lake Tahoe Epic 2013-2014 season passes are now on sale so put your deposit down to guarantee the best pricing for next year’s season pass.  Vail Resort’s season passes include the Tahoe Value, Epic Pass or Tahoe Local Pass which offer a variety of mountain access to best suit your needs.  Put your $49 deposit down by April 14th and receive six Buddy Tickets for next season along with 2013 summer hiking access at Northstar California, Heavenly and Kirkwood.  Or, if you pay for your 2013-2014 season pass in full receive one free day of skiing this season as well as the six Buddy Tickets and summer activity mountain access.  Choose which works best for you!

Soda Springs Season Passes – Located near Donner Summit, Soda Springs has also announced its 2013-2014 passes with a few extra specials to go along.  Purchase your 2013-2014 pass by TODAY you will have access for the rest of this season in addition to next year.  Or, put down a $49 deposit before April 14th and you will be guaranteed the lowest price for next year’s season pass.  Child season passes are only $99 and including free tubing and Planet Kids activities.  Remember Soda Spring passes also grant access to Boreal Mountain Ski Resort on select mid-week dates!

In addition to the season pass specials above,  ski resorts in Lake Tahoe are begining to offer  daily lift ticket price specials as the season winds down and mountain access reduces.  Be on the lookout for these specials on ski resort websites.  Lastly, if you are interested in learning more about the ski resorts in Lake Tahoe check out my previous blog post Pick Your Peak.

Are you ready to take advantage of one of these spring season pass specials?  If so, share in the comments below which season pass you want to purchase.

Enjoy learning about Lake Tahoe?  Follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Photo Credit 1, Photo Credit 2, Photo Credit 3

Pick Your Peak

Did you know that there is more skiable terrain in the Lake Tahoe Basin than in the entire state of Colorado?  In fact, Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Northern California Sierra Nevada region celebrates a total of 23 downhill ski and cross-country resorts for your winter adventure. Now, let’s take a closer look at the top ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe Basin and what makes each unique!

Lake-Tahoe-Ski-Resort-map.mediumthumb

Top Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe

Alpine Meadows – With seven open bowls, 13 chair lifts and 100+ trails this resort is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike for its diverse and extreme access terrain, great snow conditions and views of Lake Tahoe.  Recently joined with Squaw Valley, visitors now share access to both mountains with any lift ticket or the Tahoe Super Pass.

Heavenly – Views, views and more views!  Enjoy spectacular views of Lake Tahoe from all over this enormous ski resort spreading across both California and Nevada with three access gates, 29 chair lifts and 97 trails.  Begin your day with a ride up the mountain on its signature aerial tram and then enjoy its varied terrain throughout.  Part of Vail Resorts, visitors can enjoy all of the fun and accessiblity of their Epic Pass here!

Kirkwood – Regarded for its remote beauty and breathtaking skyline this resort boasts the highest base elevation and the deepest annual snowfall in Lake Tahoe.  Kirkwood is a favorite amongst locals for its unique terrain, backcountry access, signature lifts such as “The Wall” and remote location.  Kirkwood is also the newest edition to Vail Resort’s Lake Tahoe Epic Pass portfolio.

Mt. Rose – A North Lake Tahoe favorite and the only ski resort offering views of both Lake Tahoe and Reno.  Mt. Rose is the closest ski resort to Reno, a 30-minute drive, making it a favorite of Reno residents and visitors.  Its legendary Chutes offer some of the steepest and longest slopes in North America.

Northstar California – This resort has it all!  With 97 trails, 20 lifts, 3 lodges, tubing, ice-skating, 7 terrain parks, tree-skiing, half-pipe, super pipe, cross-country, telemark and snowshoe center and a vibrant village this resort will make every family member smile.   Look for Olympian Shawn White and visit the only Burton Academy training facility in North America.  And, your Vail Resort’s Epic Pass works here too!

Squaw Valley – A skier’s and rider’s paradise.  Famed host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley includes 6 peaks, 3600 acres of terrain, 30 lifts, aerial tram, views of Lake Tahoe and a lively village.  It offers some of the most famous terrain in Lake Tahoe including steeps, bowls and cliffs along with the most extensive offerings of racing events and night skiing terrain.  Squaw Valley celebrates the longest ski season lasting until late spring and even sometimes 4th of July!

images ski run

Can’t choose just one ski resort to visit for the season or on your next trip?  Great news, you don’t have to!  There are fantastic interchangeable lift ticket passes which give you access to the top alpine ski resorts every day of the season such as Ski Tahoe North’s Interchangeable Lift Ticket as well as the Ski Lake Tahoe Six-Pack.  Also, websites like Liftopia are a one-stop shopping for the best daily lift ticket deals at all of the ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe Basin!

Do you have a favorite resort that you like to ski or ride at in Lake Tahoe?  Please share in the comments below which resort is your favorite and why?