Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge - Lake Tahoe
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Lake Tahoe Activities and News

Archive for the ‘Lake Tahoe Events’ Category

Finding your chi on Tahoe’s West Shore

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

wanderlust-logoThe Wanderlust Festival, in its second year, comes to Squaw Valley from July 29th to August 1st. This four-day festival marries the art of yoga with the art of song with headlining yoga instructors Seane Corn and Shiva Rea and music performers Moby and Pretty Lights.

Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge has long attracted visitors and groups who share its values of wellness. Our wooded serene setting offers a contemplative environment, and accommodations provide privacy and flexibility for visitors with special dietary needs.

Granlibakken welcomes participants of the Wanderlust Festival with a special lodging rate starting at $115/night.

In the key of “G”

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Granlibakken is thrilled to be the host lodging site for the Lake Tahoe Music Festival Orchestra Academy and site of the Strictly Classical Performances taking place this month on July 21st and July 28th.

The Orchestra Academy, the only paid residency program on the West Coast, offers a 10-day intensive professional experience with training by world-class soloists. The Academy has recruited 36 of the most talented young musicians from across the country to live and rehearse at Granlibakken Resort.

July 21st’s performance is Classics New and Old featuring special guest Ariana Ghez, principal Oboist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

July 28th’s performance is Music in the Key of D featuring special guest Jerry Grossman, principal Cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Granlibakken’s Executive Lawn Venue is the perfect setting for this musical extravaganza. There will be a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres at 5pm before each concert. Concerts begin at 6pm and end at 7pm.

For those attending either performance, Granlibakken is offering a special Lake Tahoe Music Festival Lodging Package with rates starting at $122. This package includes lodging, full hot breakfast buffet and access to on-site amenities.

Tickets to Strictly Classical cost $10. Seating is limited. Contact to reserve your tickets.

Snowfest, March 5-14: You Gotta See This!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

If you’ve never been to Tahoe’s Snowfest celebration than you have to come check it out. If you have attended it then you need to come back and see all the stuff you missed last time. Snowfest is that big and there’s so much going on that takes a few years to catch it all.

It’s been around since 1982 and has grown each season, shedding some events to add others that are more fun. This year, some smaller events start before the big Torchlight Parade and fireworks at Squaw on Friday, March 5. But this parade is truly an experience and a large draw. One of the new gigs is an ‘80’s Retro Dance Party at the Cornice Cantina in Squaw’s parking lot right after the torchlight.

The next day it jumps into more downhill action with the Transworld Snowboarding Magazine TransAm and the Sick & Twisted Freestyke Tour / Rail Jam. But my favorite things to attend on that first Saturday are the Pancake Breakfast and Tahoe City Snowfest Parade. Since I’ve been here too long I don’t know how this sounds but: the coolest thing in the parade are the loaders hoisting and moving their huge buckets all over the place – actually the most impressive part to me is that half of them are run by twelve-year-old kids! Also on Saturday is the Polar Bear swim at GarWoods – brrrr!

On Sunday you can watch or sweat your pancakes off during the Great Race from Tahoe City to Truckee. This is for insaniacs with ski poles and my strangest friends usually partake. It’s one of the biggest races of its kind in the West. Then there’s the Dog Pull (ever seen a Chihuahua pull a keg in a sled? I didn’t think so.), Human Bowling and the Sunnyside Luau.

So these are the first three days of the 10-day celebration. For more check out the Snowfest website and especially the event schedule. See you somewhere!!!

GREAT EVENT at Alpine Meadows Feb. 19-21

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

This weekend one of Granlibakken’s semi-neighbors plays host to one of the best ski events to hit Tahoe: the Alpine Meadows Telemark & Freeride Festival.

The Buttress at Alpine Meadows - Venue for Day 2 of the telemark steeps contest

The Buttress at Alpine Meadows - Venue for Day 2 of the telemark steeps contest

This event is great because it includes a classic steeps contest with a great viewing area (you need to be on the mountain to see it, i.e. have a lift ticket, etc.!). The it has an awareness raising / backcountry skiing component where people race UP the entire mountain using specialized gear then ski down to a simulated avalanche zone to find buried ‘people.’ It concludes with a no-holds-barred winner-take-all downhill race and a big bash. For more info go to Alpine Meadows’ website.

Cross Country Skiing & The Great Race

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I hadn’t been on cross countries since I was 12. Then, six years out of college and six hours into a keg party it seemed a good idea to go downhill on these tiny skis with no edges. “See you guys where the road meets up again below.” We pointed straight down from the parking lot and picked up speed steadily. The skis made that queer sound as they accelerated, the plastic scales on the bottom going zip, ziP, zIP, ZIP. Having no idea how to scrub speed, I kept one ski straight and put the other almost completely sideways. I looked back to see my friend Tommy doing the same and laughing madly. Emboldened, we let off the brakes a little bit and started screaming toward the berm that marked a turn in the road and the beginning of the power line run. We hit it at high speed and flew through the air, landing in ridiculously deep pow. As the lights from our friends’ cars approached we stood and waved them down, finished with our cross country ski for the night.

Strapping on freeheel gear is one of the oldest forms of winter transportation. Tahoe has it’s own legacy of telemark skiing that dates back to the mid-1800’s when Snowshoe Thompson carried mail from Placerville to Genoa. The route was a difficult 5-day trudge on 25 pound skis that were made for going across and over mountain passes. But on his return to Placerville the people said he would let the 10-foot long skis pick up speed down the hill, “swaying his balance pole to one side and the other in the manner that a soaring eagle dips its wings.” So cross country led to downhill as it does for many people today who use the sport as cross over training.

Of course, competition is bred from just about anything where humans are involved, and so Tahoe also has one of the most prestigious skate skiing races in the country. Usually attracting over 1000 entrants The Great Ski Race forces hardy souls to start at Lake Tahoe and go over Mt. Pluto then down into Truckee, a distance of 30km (almost 18.5 miles). ”I thought I’d never make it,” said Scott Bevill, a Vermonter, of the grueling 1300’ ascent that greets entrants at the start. The Great Race benefits the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team and celebrates its 34nd running on March 7.

Granlibakken has one of the most beautiful tracks for XC skiing and it’s expanding the offering to include a little manmade assistance. Cross country skiers can now ride The Big G’s surface lift to the top of the ski hill then continue up to the incredibly beautiful Paige Meadows – incidentally the site of this story’s intro. High peaks, wide meadows and picture-book serenity await – and a beer at the Granlibakken Ski Hut probably does, too….

Labor Day Events & High Camp

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

So you’re one of those people who don’t have any plans for the last big weekend of the Summer? Don’t worry there are plenty of others just like you and with things the way they are, these days you get rewarded for making last minute travel decisions.

View from High Camp looking dooooooown

View from High Camp looking dooooooown

Let me start with the deals then move on to a little something about one of my favorite places up here…

First and foremost, Granlibakken is offering a Stay Two Night and Get the Third FREE special for Labor Day, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.

Thursday – Saturday: Jake’s Restaurant in Tahoe City is having an awesome Full Moon Date Night: $79 per couple including tax and tip for a four course meal.

Friday is the first ski flick premier: ‘Black Winter’ by Standard Films is showing at Squaw’s Olympic Village Lodge at 8pm ($8 advance, $10 at the door)

Also on Friday the Tahoe Rim Trail Association is hosting a free guided hike from Kingsbury to Spooner Summit, a 12 mile trek with some of the best views you’ll ever see. (

Sunday is the Alpen Wine Fest benefiting the Jimmy Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis. This is a classic Tahoe late summer-early fall event now on it’s 21st year.

Four-time Grammy nominee Marcia Ball plays a FREE Commons Beach Concert in Tahoe City on Sunday. Granlibakken guests who want to go will get a free picnic lunch 0 be sure to ask at the front desk in advance.

Also Sunday is the Truckee Reggae Festival at the Regional Park – one of the best mini-amphitheaters in the country featuring some solid reggae acts including Israel Vibration and Giant Panda ($20).

Northstar’s Mountain Bike Park is open til October.


Pulling into the 8th Wonder

Pulling into the 8th Wonder

And now a quickie on one of the coolest things around (and it’s only open til Sept 13):

High Camp at Squaw Valley

Squaw’s founder and one of Tahoe’s leading visionaries believed in the mantra ‘Build it and They will Come.” He built this crazy structure on top of the mountain then billed it the 8th Wonder of the World. Remember this is the same guy who brought Siberian Tigers in for the opening of the new Siberia quad chair (later he wanted to prove the size of Squaw’s new aerial tram by shoving an elephant inside!).

High Camp has seen some changes so although a couple really cool things aren’t there any more (bungee jumping, golf range) it is still an incredible place to spend a day. If you can, pick one with calm weather and get up there when it opens. You can go for little day hikes, swim laps, float, ice skate, drink beers in a hot tub and eat some lunch – all out in the open and with a spectacular view of the infamous Palisades. Also the Olympic Heritage Museum has been re-upped and is a pleasant place to spend an hour. It’s just one of those wild places and if you make friends with a local or employee you might find yourself marveling at the counter-weight room that keeps the trams from plummeting to the ground….

I brought my grandma up there once and by the time she was ‘over’ her fear of heights from the tram ride, she was just about ready to give ole Alex Cushing a high five. Everyone loves High Camp so go see why!

© 2009 Alex West (incl. photos)

“Shhh…it’s still summer!”

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Sounds like summer is in full swing in the City – word is that fog plus cold, blowy temps are a fixture of the Richmond district and all the other usual places these days. It’s one of the things that makes that place so darn romantic sometimes. Well, up here at Tahoe we have Summer in Disguise. Some days are full-blown four-alarm sunshine but we seem to be collecting a few more of those ‘other’ days where we actually see clouds.


Lots of us love it because not only is natural variety the spice of a place with little culture but also because it’s a change from the Big Tahoe Sun days of mid-summer. And the great thing about it is that you can do just about everything that’s so popular in the middle of summer – the difference now is that you have to be a little more self-reliant, oh, and there’s no traffic.

Want to raft the river?
Rafting co.’s are closed – bring your own floatation and you’re off!

Want to swim on top of Squaw?
Hike Shirley Canyon and get in the river!

But come to think of it, most other businesses are still open for one more week. Shakespeare performances at Sand Harbor are still happening. Boat, paddleboard, kayak, and bike rentals (Granlibakken also has rental bikes) are full swing. You can go high up on a parasail or hot air balloon over Tahoe. And most importantly, all the major restaurant decks are still open: Sunnyside, Jake’s, River Grill, River Ranch, The Bridgetender, GarWoods, Blue Onion, Caliente, Jason’s, Steamer’s, and on and on!


Not too busy in the lineup

Not too busy in the lineup

One of the most summery things you can do up here is go surfing off the back of a boat. It sounds weird but with the right boat and the right driver you can do take up this sport easily. If you don’t have access to a boat you can still rent an instructor and boat right in Tahoe City or at the Sunnyside Marina, both within a ten minute spin down the bike path (or five minutes’ drive) from Granlibakken.

My little family got treated to an afternoon of wakesurfing with Surf Tahoe, located at the Grove Street pier in Tahoe City. Our instructor was Chris Lange who we met while he was bilging water into two huge fatsacks used the make one rear corner of the boat super-heavy so our wave would be huge. After some easy instruction we were on our way – just 20 feet of rope from the stern of the boat and chatting with Chris all the while, we could throw the rope back into the boat and surf Tahoe with only the ramp of the wake propelling us. This is Surfing Tahoe and it is very cool.

Although it doesn't LOOK that cool!

Although I don't look cool doing it...

If you do have a boat (and you’re still reading this) it probably isn’t built for wakesurfing. So have fun with it. Grab an old surfboard and pile some buddies on a rear corner of whatever old bucket you’re running. I did this the other day with a friend who’s engine stuck out the back of the craft – not the best set-up for having your face right off the rear transam while learning to surf. So we long-lined it at regular wakeboarding speed – it was hilarious. Massive higher-speed splashes, rope-splitting pulls on the line, and sore consequences from new moves tried – these were the name of the game that day. And although it wasn’t real wakesurfing the thrill was there.

So no matter how you end up going about it, give this new rave a try and how it catches you!

© 2009 Alex West

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