- Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge at Lake Tahoe’s west shore was once called Olympic Hill and is known as Lake Tahoe’s oldest ski resort.
- Granlibakken is a Norwegian name meaning a “hill sheltered by fir trees.” The beginnings of the resort, initially called Tahoe Tavern, had 223 rooms and opened around the 1890s during a time when the Tahoe Steamer ship — and later the Lake Tahoe Railway — would transport mail, goods and passengers to the sparsely populated area.
- While commercially operated skiing and snowplay sprouted around Truckee, it wasn’t until 1928 when the Tahoe Tavern stayed open all winter. The hotel had become a center of Tahoe’s social life, and offered winter fun to its guests who arrived by the “Snow Ball Special” train from Truckee.
- Also in 1928, the Tahoe Tavern hotel built a double toboggan slide. Horse-drawn sleighs shuttled guests to and from what became known as “Olympic Hill.” The Tavern even turned their garage into an ice rink.
- At about the same time, a group of Norwegian skiers, including seven-time national champion Lars Haugen, were touring the west and giving ski jumping exhibitions. The Tahoe Tavern directors hired Haugen to design a 60-meter ski jump at Olympic Hill, which took two years and $10,000 to complete.
- The Lake Tahoe Ski Club, founded in 1929, helped organize events and exhibitions at Olympic Hill throughout the 1930s, including winter tryouts for California and Nevada skiers competing for the 1932 Winter Olympic Team, the United States Ski Championships in February 1932, the 1936 California State Championships and the 1939 National Ski Association meet.
- It wasn’t until after World War II, however, that a recreational ski resort was developed there. Kjell “Rusty” Rustad, a retired sea captain and former ski jumper, had moved from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe because it reminded him of his home in Norway. With the goal of providing local skiing for Tahoe City residents, he secured a land use permit from the U.S. Forest Service and purchased 74 acres in the Olympic Hill valley. Rustad renamed his property Granlibakken, cleared an area for the ski slope, installed a 450-foot rope to the top of it, and constructed three buildings for overnight guests as well as a day lodge.
- In 1947, Rustad began bringing skiers from the road to his resort aboard a surplus World War II landing craft (rented from Squaw Valley’s Wayne Poulsen) that could navigate the snow. Granlibakken continued to attract ski jumpers, as well as downhill skiers, thanks to construction of a small jump, next to the wider slope, in 1952.
- In 1953, Rustad sold acreage across the road to University of California (UC) Berkeley’s International House. The organization’s volunteers built a lodge there. Bought by the UC Alumni association in 1958, the lodge became a year-round education and recreation center with dining room, swimming pool and beds for 150.
- In 1968, a New York publisher, Hugh Miller, bought the property. Changing the name to the Four Seasons at Lake Tahoe, he built the first condos in the valley.
- In 1978 Bill and Norma Parson purchased the resort, reviving it and the original name. Known worldwide for its history and winter plenty of winter activities, the Parson family continues to operate Granlibakken today, expanding it into an all-seasons resort and modern conference center and lodge. With more than 200 rooms and conference space for an estimated 500 people, Granlibakken hosts groups year round, ranging from ski clubs to international academic organizations seeking a secluded getaway in an inspiring area.
Archive for the ‘Sled Hill’ Category
Who says you have to power through crowded mountains and long lift lines to have a good time? Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge offers 74 acres of an outdoor playground including its own intimate ski and snowboard hill and separate snowplay area, ideal for families with children, beginning and intermediate skiers.
Affordable and packed with just as many thrills found at nearby ski mountains, guests can rent equipment (skis, snowboards, poles, boots, cross country skis, snowshoes and helmets) and then climb aboard a lift for a full or half-day worth of downhill adventure.
There’s even ski school for first-time skiers and boarders or folks looking to fine-tune their turning skills. Lessons are offered twice in the morning and once in the afternoon, Friday through Sunday.
For a quick break or nourishment in between runs there’s a warming hut and the Ski Hut Snack Bar which features Mexican foods, hot soup, chili and daily specials.
The ski hill and snack bar are open Friday through Sunday. Adult lift rates are $24 full day, $16 half day. Full day for children 12 and under is $14 and half day, $10. For private parties and corporate team building you can rent the ski hill for an entire day Monday through Thursday. Call (530) 581-7533 or (800) 543-3221 for information or reservations.
Meanwhile, sledding at Tahoe is a time-honored tradition and for years generations of families have traded their skis for saucers to slide down Granlibakken’s snowplay area.
The snow play hill, open daily, ensures enough gradient for slick and swift rides by way of plastic saucers (tubes, toboggans and metal sleds are not allowed).
Granlibakken also offers plenty of Sierra terrain to explore by way of cross country skis or snowshoes. Guests have easy access to popular trailheads which provide miles of ungroomed terrain. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available daily.
What’s your favorite outdoor winter activity?
With several winter storms having pushed through the Sierra in March leaving up to 9 feet of new snow atop many resorts, Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore continues its tradition of offering the best spring ski and boarding lodging packages around.
There is still plenty of sunshine and a few more weeks left of prime skiing and Granlibakken is offering ski and board packages that start at $139/person weekdays and $156/person weekends. Deals include lodging at Granlibakken, hot breakfast buffets, plenty of resort amenities and lift tickets to your choice of Alpine Meadows, Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA, Sugar Bowl or Heavenly. As an option, tickets can be used at the Tahoe Cross Country Center (equipment, and use of the trails) or the Lighthouse Spa on site at Granlibakken with a $65 credit toward any the spa services offered.
There is also an on-site ski and sledding hill, plus downhill and cross-country skis, snowboards and showshoe rentals available. Rates are per person, per night double occupancy, plus 10 percent room tax. There is a two night minimun stay on weekends. The lodging on the midweek ski package is valid Sunday through Thursday nights and skiing is Monday through Friday. Midweek rate valid weekends from April 1, 2012 through the end of the ski season at the eight resorts. Weekend rates are valid until the end of the ski season. The ski hill at Granlibakken closes April 1, 2012 and the sledding hill closes April 8, 2012.
Are you looking for a place away from your business to hold a retreat? Granlibakken has spring conference packages now through May 31, 2012 that are designed with business and corporate managers in mind. Bring your group of four to 400 to our productive, flexible, comfortable setting on 74 wooded acres of peace, quiet and comfort. Rate includes: Lodging with 3 full meals each day; cocktail reception and coffee service; meeting facilities with audio/visual; resort-wide wireless and scalable Internet; on-site pool, hot tub, spa, gym, sauna, tennis, trails. Call (877) 552-0185 for information or click here.
Planning that special day in advance to make it official and tie the knot? Weddings in Lake Tahoe happen daily and Granlibakken offers the most splendid backdrop in all of Lake Tahoe. The resort’s Executive Lodge is an ideal spot for wedding parties with such amenities as: an outdoor ceremony and reception area; two nights lodging in the 7-bedroom townhouse with breakfast each morning for 14 guests; special bridal dressing area; a living room and kitchen for your rehearsal dinner for up to 40 people. For more wedding information and options click here.
Don’t miss out on these great spring deals at Granlibakken!
Emma, from San Rafael, shows us how to make the perfect snow angel at Granlibakken’s snow play area.
With snow fall increasing rapidly throughout yesterday and into the evening, North Lake Tahoe awoke to as much as two feet of fresh powder at higher elevations. A pillowy blanket of snow covered Granlibakken’s sled and ski hill at sunrise this morning to add to the base layer now firmly in place from the Thanksgiving storms. The snow expected Friday and Saturday and into next week will make our Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and holiday festivities all the merrier.
Mother Nature knew that school was out this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately for parents, kids aren’t sleeping in. Awakened by the sound of plows followed by the quiet of snow, kids are clamoring to make that first snowman of the season and get out their sleds.
With over six feet of new, fluffy snow coating our historic hill (and more on the way), Granlibakken’s sled hill is officially open for the season. The new snow has made this Thanksgiving one of our most memorable in years! In addition to a home cooked dinner and the company of friends and family, visitors can look forward to the laughter that only comes from being bundled up from head to toe spinning down fresh white powder in a fluorescent green saucer.