I recently took a trip to the Lake Tahoe area, visiting Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar. Here are ten of my favorite things about the area:
1. There’s something cool about skiing across a border. Heavenly sits astride the border between Nevada and California and has a number of ski lifts on either side.
2. Casinos. Just north of Stateline Avenue in South Lake Tahoe is the Nevada boarder and several large casinos for your enjoyment. The casinos offer a variety of games, sports, and entertainment. Check out the Blu nightclub at the Montbleu for theme nights.
3. Microbreweries. Both The Brewery At Lake Tahoe and the Stateline Brewery offer an excellent range of beers, as well as some tasty food. The Mahi Fish Tacos at the Stateline were especially awesome after a day on the slopes.
4. Steep Slopes. Kirkwood is all about adventure and challenge. Take a ride up “The Wall” on chairlift # 10 and head into Wagon Wheel Bowl. Like the spokes in a wagon wheel, the ridges and gullies all feed back to the central point of the resort base.
5. Snow. The locals call it the K-Factor. Kirkwood sits in the perfect location and gets the area’s lightest, driest, and most plentiful snow. The area averages an incredible 600 inches per year, so you are likely to experience pristine snow conditions.
6. Isolation. Kirkwood is situated at the far end of the lake and doesn’t have any large towns nearby. Although it is only 35 miles from Heavenly, it doesn’t get a lot of skier traffic because there are so many popular resorts in the region. Everyone has heard of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, but few people know about Kirkwood. The end result is…… no lift lines!
7. The Beautiful Village. Northstar is modeled after the alpine ski villages of Europe. It reminds me a lot of Beaver Creek, and also has an outdoor ice skating rink. Everything in the village is within a short walk of the ski lifts. One especially nice touch is that there is a special area where parents can sit on comfortable deck chairs (sipping a beverage) while watching their kids take their first ski lesson on a beginner slope in the village.
8. Proximity. I couldn’t believe it until we rode the shuttle back to the airport, but Northstar is only 45 minutes from Reno Tahoe International Airport. My stopwatch doesn’t lie. There are very few world-class resorts that are as accessible as Northstar.
9. The Powder. We struck it perfectly and arrived at the tail end of a 24 hour storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Northstar. I was amazed at how great the skiing was. Keep it to yourself, but most people skiing at Northstar seem to stick to the groomers. If you like to ski powder, head out in the trees or basically anywhere off the piste and you can still find untracked runs late in the day.
10. And last but definitely not least….The Lake!!! The Lake Tahoe region is a stunning area. An incredibly clear, blue lake surrounded by hundreds of mountains. What’s not to like?