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


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!