|View of Lake Tahoe from the Tram|
|Riding the tram from the California Lodge base|
|View of Lake Tahoe from Skyline Trail|
|The Comet Express Chair|
We found this resort to be absolutely fantastic. First off, it is one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S., with 4800 acres of terrain. It has 4 separate base areas; two in California and two in Nevada. Click HERE for a detailed trail map. From almost every run, there are stunning views of Lake Tahoe or the Nevada desert.
|View from Mott Canyon looking towards Nevada desert|
|Glade skiing in Powderbowl Woods|
|View from Gunbarrel Express chair|
The mountain has large, well-marked trail signs throughout the resort and we loved the trail maps found imprinted on the safety bars of many chairlifts!
|Entrance to the Pinnacles Run|
|Easy to read signs|
Lodges/restaurants are scattered throughout the mountain, so you can always find a good meeting spot. Tamarack Lodge, a 15,000 square foot lodge located near the top of the gondola, even offers snow tubing, sledding, snow-shoeing, and snow bikes for rent. Click HERE for more information. East Peak lodge (Nevada) and Sky Deck (California) both have large outdoor grills for BBQ or exotic burgers respectively.
|Outdoor deck and grill at East Peak Lodge|
|Exotic grilled burgers at Sky Deck|
There are so many trails/terrain parks for all levels of skier and boarder, making it a great family destination. The snow was light, fluffy and abundant (five feet of new snow during our stay!). We particularly loved the variety of glade skiing throughout the resort and the double black runs at Mott Canyon are a great challenge for expert skiers. Killebrew Canyon looked too daunting for us to even try!
|One of the gate entrances to Mott Canyon|
|My daughter entering Mott Canyon|
|Milky Way Bowl|
There are many accommodations nearby. Click HERE to view lodging options. We choose to rent a house about 10 minutes drive from the California Lodge base. This worked out perfectly for us and gave us plenty of room to stretch out and relax, for less cost than a hotel. We found the house on Homeaway.com.
As for apres-ski, we are a family that skis hard all day and goes to bed early (boring!). But we noticed the shops and open-air ice skating rink at the base of the Gondola, and the Fire and Ice restaurant (also at the Gondola base) was recommended to us as a fun dining experience. Of course, there are also the casinos that on the Nevada side.
|Open air skating at the Gondola base (photo courtesy of www.skiheavenly.com)|
|Select your own ingredients and the Fire and Ice Restaurant will cook your meal on an enormous grill (photo courtesy of www.fire-ice.com)|
Some tips if you go: From the California side, you can take the Sky Express chair up to the top and then ski the Skyline Trail (a rather flat cat track) over to Nevada. But be warned; this chair is sometimes closed if there are high winds and this chair is the ONLY way to ski from the California side to the Nevada side. Skiing from the Nevada side to California is somewhat easier via the California Trail run (accessible from more than one lift). Free shuttle buses do run between all the base lodges.
Parking at the California Lodge base is ample; some of the other other base lodges have more limited parking. However, descending back down to the California Lodge parking lot at the end of the day takes a little planning: you can take expert runs down to the base, or a cat track run called Roundabout (labeled a blue run but it was fairly flat). Another option is to ride the tram back down to the base, or you can descend down on the Gunbarrel Express chair.
Similarly, the Gondola base lodge (on the California side) requires that you ride the gondola up from the lake shore to the main part of the mountain and ride it back down at the end of the day (you cannot ski down to the Gondola base lodge).
In contrast, the Boulder and Stagecoach base lodges (on the Nevada side) are more skier-accessible, with wide groomer runs back down to these base lodges.
Finally, consider buying your lift tickets in advance online--great savings.
And for those of you craving some more local flavor and steep runs, try skiing at nearby Kirkwood.
|My son about to drop off a cornice at Kirkwood|
|The Wave run at Kirkwood|