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Lake Tahoe Activities and News

Archive for the ‘Tahoe City’ Category

Spring it On: Spring break arrives at Lake Tahoe

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

With February dropping several feet of snow, March has arrived at Lake Tahoe with the roar of thousands of fresh faces ready to ski and board over spring break.

Whether you’re a college student in between semesters or are a parent with kids looking for some quality family time on the slopes before the snow melts, Granlibakken is the place to stay.

Tahoe’s best ski packages start at $113 with the Homewood Mountain Resort plan to $150 where you can ski Alpine Meadows, Mt. Rose, Northstar California, Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and Heavenly. Weekend lodging options are available as well as getaway packages.

Granlibakken offers onsite skiing, sledding, and high-flying zipline action at the Treetop Adventure Park or you could venture to a nearby resort for spring skiing fun.

The more outrageous your gear the better when it comes to the Pain McShlonkey. Don't miss the 4th annual Saturday, March 29. Photo: Squaw Valley.

The more outrageous your gear the better when it comes to the Pain McShlonkey. Don’t miss the 4th annual Saturday, March 29.
Photo: Squaw Valley.

Enjoy free live music every Saturday on the Sundeck at Alpine Meadows beginning at 1 p.m.

March 19-23, you can catch the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley. The U.S. Alpine Championships are a culmination of the ski racing year which brings the U.S. Ski Team and young athletes from U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association clubs across the country together.

Show off your superhuman dance moves March 21 in Tahoe City at the Superhero Dance Party with music by Jeremy Curl and Mr. Rooney at Jakes on the Lake. Dress as your favorite super hero or create your own.

Looking for a new snowboard and want try it out first? Check out the Boards in Motion Demo Day at Sugar Bowl, March 22. Boards in Motion staff and factory reps will offer free demos to everyone interested in riding 2015 snowboards all day. Manufactures reps from Capita, Ride, Burton, K2, Lib Tech, Academy, Arbor, Rome, Lobster, Batelon and Jones will have tents set up across from the Judah Lodge.

Legendary skier Shane McConkey will be celebrated March 29 with the 4th annual Pain McShlonkey Classic at Squaw Valley. Dress up in your most outrageous ski duds and come out for a day full of celebrating McConkey. Stick around Sunday for the Skinny-Ski-a-Thon at KT-22. Participants will get pledges from family, friends and businesses for each lap they ski. They will then strap on a pair of skinny skis (70mm or less) and see how many laps they can complete in a day. All proceeds benefit the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation.

April 5 brings the Pond Skim Beach Party at Winters Creek Lodge at Mt. Rose Ski Area. Come out for some laughs as skiers skim across water in a party atmosphere.

Shred the love at Sugar Bowl April 5 for its Boarding for Breast Cancer event. The resort will host a rail jam in the Switching Yard Terrain Park with all entry fees benefiting the Foundation. Sugar Bowl will also be selling pink lanyards with proceeds going towards B4BC. A DJ will be featured in the park during the Jam with live music performing after the awards.

More pond skimming is planned for April 6 at Northstar California with Spring It On! Pond Skim, Party and Retro Dress Day. Soak up the California sun and spring skiing scene at Northstar as the winter season winds down.

How do you plan to spend your spring break at Lake Tahoe?

Tahoe’s Olympic roots celebrated at Granlibakken’s Nordic Legends Dinner

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Olympic greatness returns to Lake Tahoe Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 with the Nordic Legends Dinner at Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge featuring 1960 Olympic medal winner Joe Pete Wilson.

joe pete wilson

The event is part of Olympic Heritage Celebration week, Jan. 11-19. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Cedar House Pub and features live music, Olympic athletes from around the region, presentations and an all-inclusive gourmet dinner prepared by Granlibakken head chef Rob Eber, featuring Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Hungarian dishes. The cost is $35 and reservations are required. Call 530-581-7582 or email to ensure your spot.

Cedar House Pub will donate 50% of the evening’s profits to the Sierra State Parks Olympic Snow Trail Restoration efforts.

Guest speakers include Nordic Olympian Wilson who represented the U.S. along with his teammates in the 1960 Olympics held at Squaw Valley. The team won the bronze medal in the four-man bobsledding event.

It is widely held that the seeds of Squaw’s Olympic glory were sown at Granlibakken, famous for its Olympic Hill ski jump and home of the 1932 ski jumping trials. Guest speakers will talk about Tahoe and its contributions to Nordic skiing and the Olympics.

Wilson, a well-known administrator in the resort industry, a founder of what would become the Cross Country Ski Areas Association and author of several books, is now a consultant with Granlibakken’s ski and sled operation.

Olympic Heritage Celebration week champions Tahoe’s place in Olympic history with special events, guided snowshoe tours and meet and greets with past Olympians. Don’t miss your chance to relive Olympic history!

Scarecrows, Urban Iditarod and Tahoe City Grill Fest highlight October lineup

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Government shutdown got you down? Thank goodness Lake Tahoe is a long way away from Washington, D.C. Even though this political potato remains hot, it shouldn’t stop you from heading up to Granlibakken for a few cool days of bountiful fall colors and activities.

You can find pumpkins in Tahoe City this fall at the Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 19.

You can find pumpkins in Tahoe City this fall at the Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 19. {via}

Check into Granlibakken and check out some of these nearby activities lined up through October.

— Now through Halloween is the annual Scarecrows on Parade celebration in Tahoe City. Walk through downtown and see how businesses decorate life-size scarecrows for fall harvest. Photo opportunities are endless with these impressive and artistically creative scarecrows around town.

— October 12 is race day with the running of the first Tahoe City Urban Iditarod. Borrowing  the name ‘iditarod’ from the Alaskan dog sled race and replacing the dogs with people (you) and the sleds with shopping carts, add in team themes, costumes, contests and a food drive and we get the Tahoe City Urban Iditarod.

— The Tahoe City Grill Fest is also Oct. 12, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Tahoe City Marina/Boatworks. Local barbecue experts will bring their best to a friendly throwdown with rival chefs for awards in several categories, but more importantly for coveted bragging rights. Competitors include: Big Blue Q, Dockside 700, Hacienda, Jakes On The Lake, and Men Wielding Fire. Celebrity judges will bring their discerning taste to the event, but attendees will make the final call by voting with tokens for their food favorites.

Of course cold brews will be available to wash down the great barbeque, thanks to beer sponsors Coors, Blue Moon, and Fat Tire. Barefoot brand wine will be available for those who prefer vino to beer and soft drinks as well. Live music will be coming from Sacramento favorites Mental Floss.

— Come on back to Tahoe City the following weekend for the perennial local family favorite, the Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch, Saturday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rideout Community Center. This annual family event features a pumpkin patch, costume contest, barbecue, a pie eating contest, pumpkin seed hunt, carnival games, pony rides and bounce house.

— Looking for that last endurance hike before the snow flies? Guide Jeff Baird will lead you on a 5 to 8 mile journey with a vertical climb of 1,000 to 1,500 feet. Meet at the Cedar House in Truckee on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 a.m.

— Meanwhile, Sunday, Oct. 20 is the 18th annual Truckee River Day. Meet at 9 a.m. for a day of river, meadow and wetland restoration. You will be working side-by-side with other volunteers to plant restoration sites with seedlings and willows, and remove invasive vegetation and garbage. Projects start at either 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. and end between 2 pm and 3 p.m. Register at www.truckeeriverwc.org. After a hard day’s work, you can join in on the festivities, food, beverages barbecue and more at the River Fair to celebrate the Truckee River.

What fall Lake Tahoe events will you take part in?

Food, birthday cake and barbecues highlight Labor Day weekend at Lake Tahoe

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Memories and history will be made at Lake Tahoe over Labor Day weekend with a blowout 150th birthday celebration that include food and wine tastings, a free concert, barbecue and the grand opening of a museum that highlights the the history of high Sierra skiing and the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

Find out why the locals love Tahoe City with a Labor Day birthday bash.

Find out why the locals love Tahoe City with a Labor Day birthday bash.

This year Tahoe City celebrates its 150th year with its own Labor Day bash to celebrate. Festivities begin with a kickoff celebration at the Lake Tahoe Dam Friday, Aug. 30, followed by the grand opening of the Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Olympics at Boatworks Mall.

The celebration continues Saturday, Aug. 31 with free guided walking tours around Tahoe City beginning at 10 a.m. and the TC150 Sesquicentennial Dinner on Aug. 31 at the Gatekeepers Cabin Garden.

Sunday, Sept. 1 events at Commons Beach include a pancake breakfast, guided walking tours, games, a community aerial photo, a community picnic celebration and free concert.

Granlibakken’s own history involves the evolution of skiing in the Sierra. The Lake Tahoe Ski Club had already put the Tahoe on the map for winter recreation, having hosted the 1931 Winter Olympic Tryouts, as well as the 1932 National Jumping and Cross-Country competitions. This all took place at present-day Granlibakken, then known as Olympic Hill, which was owned by the Tahoe Tavern.

The Labor Day weekend will also launch the 28th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival featured at ski resorts throughout the North and West Shore’s of Lake Tahoe. The festival pairs savory adventures with the finest in regional food and wine delicacies. Foodies are invited to enjoy nine days of cooking seminars and demonstrations, culinary competitions, wine tastings and food-themed excursions.

Activities kick off Saturday, Aug. 31 with the Farm to Peak Mountaintop Dinner at Homewood Mountain Resort, the Taste of South America Wine Walk at the Village at Northstar, the 24th annual Foam Fest at Squaw Valley, Uncorked Tahoe City Winemakers event, and the Tahoe City Celebration Dinner at Gatekeeper’s Cabin.

Sunday, Sept. 1 events feature the Lake Mary Cabin Dinner Series at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, the 25th annual Alpen Wine Fest at the Village at Squaw Valley and the Northstar Brew Walk.

Monday, Sept. 2 includes the Labor Day Dinner Cruise with Mark Tahoe aboard the Tahoe Gal Paddlewheeler in Tahoe City and a Bloody Mary Brunch at Jake’s on the Lake.

How do you plan to spend your Labor Day weekend in Tahoe City?

Tahoe City celebrates 150 years with parade and party

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Granlibakken’s hometown of Tahoe City is known for throwing some pretty spectacular parties. But there will never again be a birthday bash like the one planned for Thursday, Aug. 8. The best part is — everyone is invited.

Tahoe City is celebrating 150 years starting Thursday, August 8.

Tahoe City is celebrating 150 years starting Thursday, August 8.
Photo: Tahoe City Downtown Association.

Tahoe City 150, aka ‘TC150′ the Sesquicentennial, culminates this week with a parade on the Tahoe City Lakeside Trail followed by a big town birthday bash at the Tahoe City Golf Course.

Parade-goers are encouraged to come in costume for this parade, which will celebrate Tahoe City past and present. Beginning at 5 p.m. the community and visitors are welcome to walk, skate, ride or paddle among locals along the parade route, which begins at the Lighthouse Shopping Center and runs to Commons Beach along the lakeside trail.

The party continues from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with the Tahoe City Town Party at the Tahoe City Golf Course. Partygoers can feast an old fashioned hamburger and hotdog barbecue and enjoy beverages on the patio while listening to live music by the Groove Foundary.

By the late 19th century, Lake Tahoe had become a popular vacation spot for wealthy San Francisco residents. Beginning in 1887, Robert M. Watson, who later became Tahoe’s first constable, ran an inn called the Tahoe House with his wife and five children. In 1901, the original Tahoe Tavern was constructed by Walter Danforth Bliss. Over the next several decades, the Tavern was expanded to include such amenities as a casino with a bowling alley, ballroom (which was later converted to a movie theater), physician’s office, laundry, steam plant and water system. Both the Tahoe House and Tahoe Tavern were located in Tahoe City on the West Shore.

In 1904, when Tahoe House owner Watson returned from trying his luck at gold mining, the west and north shores of Lake Tahoe were so well populated that the citizens decided a full-time constable was necessary, and they elected Watson to the position. Watson, who was known to local youth as “Grandpa,” is famous for having declared the Tahoe City jail unsuitable even for miscreants and allowing prisoners to sleep on his kitchen floor.

Early guests to the lake could take a South Pacific train from San Francisco all the way to Truckee. The Lake Tahoe Railway would then take them into Tahoe City, where they either settled down into one of the nearby lodging options, or climbed aboard a steamship that could deliver them to several spots around the Lake.

Granlibakken’s own history involves the evolution of skiing in the Sierra. The Lake Tahoe Ski Club had already put the Tahoe on the map for winter recreation, having hosted the 1931 Winter Olympic Tryouts, as well as the 1932 National Jumping and Cross-Country competitions. This all took place at present-day Granlibakken, then known as Olympic Hill, which was owned by the Tahoe Tavern.

In 1960, Tahoe’s reputation for winter sports gained international recognition when Squaw Valley hosted the Winter Olympics. For interesting facts about Tahoe City you can visit the Gatekeepers Museum or the Watson Cabin.

Either way don’t miss the celebrations for Tahoe City Day!

Floating the Truckee River

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

A variety of adventure opportunities are waiting outside during your stay at Granlibakken, — from hiking and biking to the ultimate ropes course and zip line challenge at the Treetop Adventure Park — you can also add a float trip down the Truckee River to your list.

Beat the heat on the Truckee River.

Beat the heat on the Truckee River.

Enjoy a relaxing river raft adventure through tranquil stretches of scenic meadows, mountains and small rapids along the Truckee River to cool off. Pack your cooler with snacks and drinks (no Styrofoam or glass) and ride the river in solitude.

Located on River Road/Highway 89 in the heart of Tahoe City, you’ll load up your rubber boats at Truckee River Raft Company.

Ideal for family and friends, five-mile raft outings are leisurely and self-guided where rafters float along the meandering river. You’ll cruise through mellow and serene areas with picturesque mountain views and lively little rapids, punctuated with perfect swimming holes and picnic spots.

The adventure usually takes 2 to 3 hours to complete with a concession area that exits directly onto the River Ranch patio. There you can sip on cool beverages and get a sandwich or burger.

There’s a large parking lot across from the River Ranch called Hidden Valley where rafters can sign up and ride a free shuttle bus to the start of the trip. This is a great place to park because you take the bus in the beginning and end up at your car after the float. The shuttle bus runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Trips include free parking, shuttle bus, paddles, and life jackets for rafters 2 years and older. Young rafters of all ages are welcome. If you have children younger than 2 a proper life jackets for them is required.

Will you go out on a float during your stay?

July 4 holiday celebrated through the weekend around Tahoe City

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The weekend begins early for Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge guests with July 4 holiday fireworks shows and activities celebrated around Tahoe City.

A pre-July 4 fireworks show will kick things off Wednesday afternoon, July 3 with fireworks and a beach party at Kings Beach hosted by the North Tahoe Business Association. Skies will shine red, white and blue with a dazzling fireworks display. The beach party begins at 2 p.m. on the North Tahoe Event Center deck and includes a DJ, live music, food, beer garden and vendors. At approximately 9:30 p.m. the skies will light up with a dazzling fireworks display which is free to the public.

Don't miss the fireworks on July 3 and July 4 in Tahoe City.

Don’t miss the fireworks on July 3 and July 4 in Tahoe City.

Kick off Thursday morning with fresh local produce, delicious food and great company at the Foothill Farmers’ Market.

The 67th Fourth of July Fireworks Show in Tahoe City will take place at Commons Beach on Lake Tahoe‘s west shore. Bring a picnic and enjoy the fireworks starting at dusk Thursday. It’s free to attend and donations to support this and future fireworks shows by the Tahoe City Downtown Association are accepted.

After the fireworks, the party continues at Lakeside Nightclub and Hacienda del Lago in Tahoe City with the Vote 4 Funk Festival starting Thursday night and continuing through Friday. The festival features DJNU-Mark, the Gaff, Pleasure Maker, Zebuel, Tre Tuna, Chango and others. The event features 10 DJs and four stages along two venues.

On Saturday at 10 a.m. join the Tahoe City Historic Walking Tour. On this free walk you’ll learn all the local legends, facts and history of Tahoe City, plus there’s plenty of shopping and dining opportunities along the way. Led by Tahoe City local resident Karen Willcuts, her professionally trained guides take walkers on a tour that includes facts and figures about beautiful Lake Tahoe. After the tour, visitors will have a better appreciation about their pristine surroundings as well as knowledge about the best places to eat, shop, and enjoy Tahoe City.

You’ll want to stick around through Sunday to catch the free concert at Commons Beach in Tahoe City featuring the Tumbleweed Wanderers. The concert runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Oakland, California’s Tumbleweed Wanderers combine soul, folk, and rock and roll to create a hugely dynamic musical experience. They weave through their shows with smooth transitions, bringing the listener from dark chaotic banjo-rock, through intimate acoustic harmonies, to energetic explosions of soul.

And, of course, there’s plenty of onsite activities at Granlibakken including hiking, biking, tennis, lounging poolside or a nice day of challenge and adventure along the ropes course and zip line at the Treetop Adventure Park.

How do you plan to spend the July 4 holiday week?

The Great Pumpkin Patch and Bounce-0-Ween highlight Tahoe City Halloween festivities

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

With fall colors firmly set and those night time Lake Tahoe temperatures dropping, the snow has already begun to fly. Ahead of the holidays is Harvest and Halloween.

Downtown Tahoe City’s “Great Pumpkin” can be found Oct. 27 during the Community Festival and Pumpkin Patch at Rideout Community Center, 740 Timberland Lane in Tahoe City. This family event features costume contests, carnival games, pony rides, bounce house and face painting. Back for the third year is the Giant Pumpkin Seed Hunt, a favorite activity for kids and perfect photo opportunity for parents.

Don't miss the Pumpkin Patch at Rideout Community Center Oct. 27.

Night time pre-Halloween venues include Bride of Bounce-O-Ween at Lakeside Pizza and Sports Bar, Saturday, Oct. 27. This glitch-hop dubstep party features Ft Russ Liquid, Thriftworks and Hamm FM. Show begins at 9 p.m.

You’re sure to find plenty of drink and food specials for Halloween at any number of downtown bars and restaurants including the Blue Agave, the Bridgetender, Pete N’ Peter’s, Lakeside Pizza and Sports Bar, The River Grill and Rosie’s Cafe.

Fall family activities within minutes of Granlibakken

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Whether you’re looking to stay in or venture out, there’s plenty to do and see within minutes of Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge. Summer is winding down, but there’s no shortage of activities now through fall in and around Tahoe City. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:

Who doesn’t like fine food and wine? Take a stroll and sample Lake Tahoe’s finest gourmet dishes during the 27th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival, Sept. 1-9 at multiple venues around Lake Tahoe’s west and north shores. The annual Tahoe City Grape Stomp, a favorite during this festival, at the Cobblestone Center in the middle of Tahoe City is Friday, Sept. 7 from 5-7 p.m. Teams of four will stomp their feet for a  chance to win great prizes. Come and watch or participate.

Bring a picnic, chairs and blankets and enjoy the music of North Tahoe Jazz Band a Commons Beach Sunday, Sept. 9 at 3:00 p.m. If you don’t pack a picnic, enjoy community barbecue and beer garden.

Ever look up at the night sky and wonder which constellation is what? Bring the family and join with fellow star gazers from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 15 for a guided star tour and hike adventure. Tahoe Adventure Company and professional astronomer Tony Berendsen feature the telescopic tours, beginning with a 2-hour guided sunset hike, followed by a brilliant 1.5 hour tour of the sky where Berendsen shows you what to look for through high-powered Celestron telescopes.

Mountain bikers unite at the Tahoe Fat Tire Festival, Sept 20-23, at Squaw Valley. This inaugural event celebrates all things mountain biking and features cross country, short track and gravity racing, rides, trail work, demos and vendor expos. Let the kids ride with you during the day and then at night enjoy the beer garden which features movie screenings and local bands.

The Gatekeeper’s Museum will feature Native American intricate basket making Sept. 22-23, during the 9th Annual Basketweavers’ Gathering. Weavers throughout California and Nevada will provide demonstrations. Also featured will be “Soup to Nuts” where participants will process acorns from the raw nut to the finished soup. Ancient traditions of the Washoe will be shared and explained throughout the events.

Celebrate OktoberFest at Squaw Valley Saturday, Sept. 29. The event will feature traditional Bavarian music, folk dancers, bratwursts and sauerkraut, beer and games for adults and kids. The event runs from 2-6 p.m.

Even more fine food will be dished up with the 3rd annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, Oct. 7-14. The week gives food aficionados an opportunity to enjoy a 3-course, prix-fixe menu at over 25 participating restaurants, both new and established favorites, throughout the Lake Tahoe region for $20-40 per person.

Looking for a good run? Check out two events: The Truckee River OktoberFest Trail Run, Oct. 6 and the Snowfest Scarecrow Sprint & Stroll, Oct. 13. The OktoberFest run is a 7.9 mile trek from scenic Tahoe City along the Truckee River with a finish at Squaw Valley. The Oct. 13 Scarecrow Run starts at Commons Beach and goes along the new Tahoe City Trail. It offers 5K and 10K races or races designed for kids. Scarecrow costumes are encouraged!

North Shore: The Gentle Side of Tahoe’s Ski Scene

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

by Yvette Cardozo, RFT Ski Editor

 

Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Ski Resort.

 

Think Tahoe in winter and what comes to mind? Skiing at Heavenly? Casinos? Headliner shows?

Ah, but there is another Tahoe … less intense, gentler, slower and yes, more family friendly.

The thing about Tahoe is it’s never been 100 percent about skiing in winter (or hiking, kayaking, whatever in summer). In a way, Tahoe is a bit like Europe, where skiing is only a fraction of the experience with inns on the ski hills and long, leisurely lunches and so much more to do besides keep track of your vertical on your wrist GPS.

So … enter North Tahoe, which is oddly what folks call stuff along the west side of the lake. And Bleu Wave’s yacht ferry. And Homewood. And Granlibakken. And, well, yes, a very special kid-wow run at Alpine Meadows.


Ski Via Yacht

The start of all this was via a slick yacht-ski package started last season by Bleu Wave. We arrived at the dock in South Lake Tahoe to board the ferry, which is actually a rather upscale yacht, at 8 a.m. We were dressed for skiing. As we pulled away, we munched on breakfast, which was a decent continental affair … muffins, fruit, yogurt, hot chocolate, coffee. But the star of the morning was Lake Tahoe’s scenery. Jagged, snow capped mountains rose around us, reflected in the still dawn water of the deep blue lake.

An hour later, we pulled up at the foot … and I do mean very foot … of  Homewood Mountain Ski Resort. The runs seem to spill down onto the beachfront. And actually, they do end just a hundred or so yards away from where you dock.

What's better than a cruise across Lake Tahoe to terrific ski venues?


Though we were transferring to stay on this side of the lake, others were there for the day package, which for $99, gets you a shuttle from your hotel, round trip ferry, lift ticket, and discount on lunch. And though Homewood might seem smallish compared to say, Heavenly, its 1,260 skiable acres and 1,650 vertical, with everything from beginner runs to expert trees,  provides more than enough fun for a day.

Nearly every run offers a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort.

The stunning lake views are what sets this place apart. You’re so busy gawking, it’s almost dangerous. The dropoff along Rainbow Ridge just after Mid Mountain Pavilion (it’s the white tube tent with the picnic chairs) will blow your mind. A friend once said the drop on some of Tahoe’s lake view runs make you think you need to wear a life jacket. This is one of those places.

There are hefty plans for expansion. Some half a billion dollars of condos, base lodges, restaurants and lifts are expected to stretch to 2020. But meanwhile, Homewood is nice and laid back for a day of something different.

Our lodging was at Granlibakken, a resort that meanders up a thickly wooded hill with 200 hotel and condo rooms and a main lodge that reminds you of those family-owned resorts of the Northeast where generations would spend their holidays. The name, by the way, is Norwegian for “a hillside sheltered by fir trees,” and ski history in this area goes back nearly 100 years.

This is about as family friendly as it comes. There’s a small ski hill (300 vertical with two poma lifts), swimming pool, trails through the woods and a treetop adventure with rope bridges and platforms.

From Granlibakken, we day skied at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Squaw has the reputation, the Olympic history, and the crowds. Alpine Meadows has Hot Wheels Gully.

Don't get carried away by the incredible views while skiing the runs at Homewood Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort.

If you are on the west side of the lake you, of course, have to ski Squaw. This is where the big guys go, along with enough waist high future racers to make your head swim. While the Lake Tahoe area has dreams of a new Olympic bid for 2022, it’s interesting to remember a bit about the original one in 1960.

The Olympic venue back then wasn’t supposed to be in Squaw Valley, but while the Olympic committee argued over which European ski hill should be the spot, Alex Cushing, owner of what there was of Squaw, pointed out that maybe, since the Olympics were supposed to be a ‘world’ activity, it was time to hold them in North America.
Those Olympics included an amazing list of firsts … first use of instant replay (courtesy of grainy videotape), first use of skis that weren’t all wood, first athlete’s village, first really blow-out opening ceremony. (Walt Disney, himself, designed it with Disneyland-style statues and fireworks much to the whining from Europeans). Oh yes, and first sale of exclusive broadcast rights … to CBS for $50,000m which led to a young, new hire Walter Cronkite at CBS hosting it.
For those with inquiring minds, London’s 2012 Olympic broadcast rights went to NBC for $1.1 billion … that’s with a B.

Alpine Meadows: Hot Wheels Gully

Okay, now on to Alpine Meadows. It’s smaller than Squaw, a bit more intimate, but definitely one of Lake Tahoe’s ‘big seven’ ski resorts, which include Heavenly, Northstar, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Mt. Rose, Sierra at Tahoe, and Kirkwood Meadows.
You can get hairy chutes and mellow groomers just about anywhere in the Tahoe area. But only Alpine Meadows has Hot Wheels Gully.

No matter how old (or young) you are, you can learn to ski at Tahoe's GranlibakkenLodge. Photo courtesy Granlibakken Lodge.

I was leaving the base area at the end of the day when a 10-year-old bounced by me, calling to his father.

“We skied the funnest thing of my whole, entire life. The FUNNEST!” he yelled while literally jumping up and down (in skis).

It was called … Hot Wheels Gully!”

The run traces a narrow riverbed that twists and drops through the forest … not for anyone on long skis and, honestly, best enjoyed by someone about 4 1/2 feet tall. You slingshot from side to side like in a mini halfpipe and, at one point, actually hit a short drop. It is, honestly, a pre-teen’s dream run.

Dinner is a pleasure in the main lodge at Granlibakken. Photo by Granlibakken Lodge.

The week we were in Tahoe, it was hot and sunny. Perfect spring skiing. But snow was on the way and within a couple of days, four feet of fresh had fallen. Sigh. We figured we’ll just have to go back.

ALPINE/SQUAW APP
If you want a true giggle on the mountain at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley and you have either an iPhone or Android phone, go to your online market and download the free interactive apps for those two resorts. It’s more than just a map, it even shows you where you are on the mountain along with a real time list of what trails are open, where the restaurants are, weather, real-time webcams, some amazing thing that lets you find your friends on the hill and, best of all, a real time record of your own personal stats (speed, vertical, lifts and more). You need to activate your GPS and, as I found out the hard way, if you turn your GPS off at the end of the day to save battery, your personal stats will reset to zero. Just don’t try looking at it WHILE skiing.

– by Yvette Cardozo, RFT Ski Editor

Check out Yvette’s favorite Tahoe after-ski snack, West Shore Café and Inn’s Mushrooms with Dipping Sauce.

 
 
 
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