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Lake Tahoe Activities and News

Tough Mudders grind through Tahoe Fall challenge Sept. 28-29

September 23rd, 2013

Fall at Lake Tahoe is a season known for bringing out the inner-competitor. Last week’s Ironman competition is followed by this weekend’s running of the Tough Mudder at Northstar California Resort, Sept. 28-29.

Founded in 2010, Tough Mudder bills itself as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet” with each Mudder taking on endurance challenges that test toughness, fitness, strength, stamina, mental grit and teamwork.

Tough Mudder isn't about personal records, it's about teamwork.

Tough Mudder isn’t about personal records, it’s about teamwork.

Costume-clad and fired up, Tough Mudders run through a series 10 to 12 miles of hardcore obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test a competitor’s all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. Featuring wide runs, steep terrain and plenty of mud, Northstar offers an ideal location for Tough Mudder Tahoe Fall 2013.

If you’re planning to participate or just to watch, Granlibakken offers several lodging options where you’re guaranteed a nutritious carbo-fueled breakfast and a good night’s sleep before taking on the endurance challenge.

With the most innovative courses, over one million inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $5 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder bills itself as the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

But it doesn’t take itself too seriously, either. After competitors have gone through it all, there’s a mob of folks and a live band waiting at the finish line with beers in hand, food on the barbecue and a full-on party to celebrate those participating in the toughest organized human event ever created.

Veterans say it is more than an event: Tough Mudder is a way of thinking. By running a Tough Mudder challenge, participants say they’ve unlocked a true sense of accomplishment while discovering a deep camaraderie with fellow runners. At Tough Mudder, participants don’t get through it alone. It takes the help of fellow Mudders to cheer ’em on and push them through.

Tough Mudder by the Numbers:

  • 78 percent of participants finish a Tough Mudder
  • 80 percent of Tough Mudder participants do it as part of a team
  • 1,000-plus participants have the Tough Mudder logo permanently tattooed on their body
  • 3.5 hours is the average time it takes to finish a Tough Mudder course which is usually between 10 to 12 miles.

It’s never too early or too late to start preparing for next year’s Tough Mudder. Granlibakken offers High Altitude Training options featuring cycling, biking, hiking and its Treetop Adventure Park, recently voted No. 1 Tahoe activity by readers.

Where do you plan to stay and train for the Tough Mudder?

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High Altitude Training the Granlibakken way

September 16th, 2013

Athletes preparing for Iron Man, Tough Mudder or the Lake Tahoe Marathon know the best way to get ready for the main event is to train in the high altitude of the Sierra itself.

A few days or weekends spent acclimating can shave minutes from your personal best come race day. Whether you’re a weekend warrior looking for a “no pain no gain” vacation built on a strenuous workout, or if you’re a serious competitor, Granlibakken Resort offers the ideal place to stay and train.

Train above sea level to get ready for your big race.

Train above sea level to get ready for your big race.

Granlibakken offers any number of lodging options where you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep as you prepare for your training days ahead. Teams preparing for special events such as Iron Man or Tough Mudder can purchase an all-inclusive package including meals and meeting space.

Your adventure begins early as you wake up to a super-charged hot and hearty breakfast buffet, ideal for storing the energy required for the day’s challenge. Granlibakken can accommodate special dietary needs with fresh fruit, gluten-free oatmeal and other tasty, energy producing food.

Ready to rock and roll? With access to the Tahoe Rim Trail from the 74-acre resort those wishing to hike or mountain bike to build their high altitude stamina can take trails that run from Granlibakken north to Truckee or South to Sugar Pine Point State Park. There are many mountain bike trails in the area, here are three of our favorites that are perfect for training. Prefer to hoof it on the high-tail fly? There’s plenty of moderate to strenuous hiking trails around Granlibakken that will hook you up with the Pacific Crest Trail, the Tahoe Rim Trail or both.

Want endurance added to your strength, balance and stamina? Try a half-day at Granlibakken’s Treetop Adventure Park, a ropes course and zip line where you can climb and jump through obstacle courses 15 to 50 feet above in the air. Recently voted No. 1 Tahoe activity by readers, the course is not only a hoot to go through, but it definitely gets the heart pumping, especially if you’re competing with others.

Triathalon training? Lake Tahoe is a mile from Granlibakken. Lap swimming is available in the Granlibakken pool open daily from 10 to 10, early morning swim times can be arranged in advance. Donner Lake is a good spot for bikers to ride up old highway 40 and then back to the Donner for a long distance swim (Donner Lake is a little warmer than Tahoe). The Donner Ride is a steep and challenging ride. You can warm up with a 15 mile ride from Granlibakken to Donner Lake.

At the end of the day, get those sore muscles rubbed out nicely by treating yourself to a relaxing massage at Granlibakken Lighthouse Spa. The spa offer a variety of treatments by reservation.

What’s on your Lake Tahoe weekend warrior plate?

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Leave your laptop at home and reunite at Granlibakken with friends and family

September 10th, 2013

Connecting with family and friends has been made easier over the years thanks to social media. But there’s more than a few things websites cannot do.

Laptops cannot hug or handshake, raise a glass to propose a toast, race down a mountain on a pair of skis or zip through a challenging obstacle course set on platforms above the trees.

Sure Facebook is an important tool but nothing beats being in a room full of family and friends, sharing details and memories that usually get overlooked in our written thoughts. There’s only one true way to engage in conversation and laughter and that’s being right in the center of it, side by side and face to face.

Get your family together for a reunion at Granlibakken!

Get your family together for a reunion at Granlibakken!

Granlibakken makes it easy for you to get your extended family, high school class or college chums together for some quality catch up time. Spacious lodging, an abundance of activities and delicious meals all figure into planning a reunion and all are available at Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge making it an ideal place for your reunion plans.

With 74 secluded acres of onsite play area, the resort is designed for large groups and offers packages to accommodate families and friends of 4 to 400. Granlibakken offers spectacular lodging options, and plenty of onsite amenities, including a spa, onsite yoga, a luxurious pool, hot tub and sauna, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, beach combing or boating and nearby golf courses.

A favorite onsite activity among family and friends is Granlibakken’s Treetop Adventure Park. Made up of a series of courses linking tree platform to tree platform with a variety of bridges and zip lines, those up to the challenge can ascend to a initial tree platform and then travel through the forest on an aerial trek anywhere from 15 to 50 feet in the air.

So whether it’s the youngest of tykes in the family tree or your college chums with competitive edges, the adventure park is an ideal place to gather, test skills and have some camaraderie in the name and spirit of togetherness.

This winter you and your extended family can can ski all day at nearby resorts, on-site at Granlibakken’s own ski hill or you can go sledding and then head into the woods on cross country skis and snowshoes. Return to the lodge from your day’s adventure to a nice banquet dinner, with dancing, entertainment and memories made for a lifetime.

Where do you plan to spend your next college or family reunion?

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The days may be getting shorter but the adventure never ends

September 3rd, 2013

With the kids back in school and the roads becoming less congested, there’s a fifth season that envelops Lake Tahoe this time of year. From September to early October, Indian Summer, offers warm weather, sparser crowds and plenty of fun. It is one of the best times of the year to visit.

Fall might be just around the corner, but don't but those bathing suits away yet because now is one of the best times to visit Lake Tahoe.

Fall might be just around the corner, but don’t but those bathing suits away yet because now is one of the best times to visit Lake Tahoe.

Sunshine abounds at Lake Tahoe during these shorter days, with a hint of fall in the air that makes for superb hiking, biking and boating pursuits. Relax on a nearby beach during the week and it will seem like your very own private beach.

Or perhaps you’re up for a challenge that puts your physical and mental skills to the test. If that’s the case, you can zip, glide and soar through the trees at Granlibakken‘s Treetop Adventure Park, recently ranked by as the No. 1 among things to do around Lake Tahoe.

The high-tree adventure course is among a couple dozen in the nation and consists of platforms installed along tree tops that are connected by various configurations of cable, wood, rope and zip lines to form bridges.

Fully harnessed guests can zip, climb, walk, and maneuver their way through various obstacle courses, each with varying degrees of skills and challenges that promotes teamwork at 30-feet above the ground.

Outfitted in climbing harnesses and helmets, guests are connected to a belay system for added safety where adventurers of all ages can take to more than 50 platforms and bridges. There’s even a Flying Squirrel zone that caters to the young adventurers, ages 4+ and beginning climbers. The Flying Squirrel zone consists of 3 different kids’ ropes courses and includes a variety of bridges and zip lines, some nearly 300 feet long.

Maybe you’re up for a bike ride instead? You can check out a bicycle at Granlibakken courtesy West Shore Sports. Prefer to keep your feet to the ground?  You can hike through Granlibakken’s 74-acres to connections the link up with the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail or get in 9 holes at the Tahoe City Golf Course.

On the water you can rent a power boat at Tahoe City Marina, cruise the lake aboard the Tahoe Gal paddlewheeler or try your luck at catching the big one on a fishing charter.

What’s your favorite Indian summer activity at Lake Tahoe?

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Tee up at surrounding Lake Tahoe golf courses

August 26th, 2013

Leave your slice at home and tee it up for a late summer or early fall golf outing at any number of challenging golf courses near Granlibakken.

Whether you prefer your game in morning or like to swing at it in the afternoon, a round or two of golf will stand on its own merit because even if you don’t play well, you’ll have all the benefits of spectacular scenery set against an awesome Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada backdrop.

Hole No. 6 at the Resort at Squaw Creek captures the High Sierra beauty. Photo: Rod Hanna.

Hole No. 6 at the Resort at Squaw Creek captures the High Sierra beauty.
Photo: Rod Hanna.

Closest to Granlibakken is the Tahoe City Golf Course. This 9-hole, par 33, 2,700 yard executive golf course is the locals’ favorite and has one of the longest seasons of any course in Tahoe. Lake views are available from several holes, and if you go long on hole 2, your water hazard will be the Lake itself. This is a “good time golf course” with forgiving greens but still a challenge for the experienced golfer.

Other nearby courses are:

Old Brockway Golf Course: This 9-hole, par 35, 3,400 yard executive course in Kings Beach designed by John Duncan Dunn was home to the first Bing Crosby Golf Tournament in 1934-1935. The course is often referred to as a “Dean Martin Loop” for the fact that one can skip straight from hole 4 to hole 8, thereby quickening the pace back to the bar for a Martini. Located in the Banana Belt of North Lake Tahoe, Old Brockway is often the first to open and the last to close due to the sun exposure it receives.

Resort at Squaw Creek Golf Course: This is a classic Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course with link-styled play and frequent marsh hazards. Located at the base of Squaw Valley USA, every hole provides a magnificent view of the surrounding mountain range. The course’s signature 6th hole is an island green and stretches 155 yards from the middle Tees. 3 PGA pros on staff, valet bag-drop and caddy services make this one of the most player-friendly courses in Tahoe.

Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort Golf Course: This challenging and affordable course 18-hole par 72, 6,781 yard course designed by Robert Muir Graves is characterized by two very distinctive nines. The mountain nine is tree laden, target golf, while the meadow nine are more forgiving holes meandering through wider meadow areas. And with Tahoe’s earliest twilight rates beginning at 1 p.m. it’s popular with many locals.

Incline Village Championship Golf Course: Following its recent $10 million renovation, this 18-hole Par 72, 7,106-yard signature Robert Trent Jones, Sr. target golf course features plenty of challenge with several water holes and bunker hazards. One of the most impressive views from any North Lake Tahoe course comes at the signature 16th hole, where the view of the entire east shore of Lake Tahoe serves as a reward for making it so far along this challenging course.

Incline Village Mountain Golf Course: With spectacular green sites and contours, the Mountain Course demands more accuracy than distance. “Shot making” skills are necessary to navigate the mountainous 18-hole par 58 terrain. Carved out of the pines with no harsh transition areas and no artificial landscaping, this course is all natural and a real challenge and joy to play. It’s a tribute to its brilliant designer, Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

What’s your favorite Lake Tahoe golf course?

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

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?

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Plenty of big fish to be caught around Lake Tahoe

August 12th, 2013

Picked by readers of USA Today as America’s best lake, big blue Tahoe is an adventure of epic proportions just outside the door of Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge.

Sure there’s plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore and miles of beaches to comb, but what is lurking off the shore and in the deep blue water are stories of great fish caught and some lost.

You could catch some fish from Lake Tahoe on a fishing charter during your stay at Granlibakken. Photo: Mickey's Big Mack Charters

You could catch some fish from Lake Tahoe on a fishing charter during your stay at Granlibakken.
Photo: Mickey’s Big Mack Charters

Lake Tahoe is abundant with lake trout, otherwise known as Mackinaw. These deep lake fish can weigh more than 30 pounds and are quite a thrill to catch. Mickey’s Big Mack Charters launches fishing boats daily to catch these underwater giants.

The Lake Tahoe record for Mackinaw trout is a 37-pound, 6-ounce (44 inches in length) trophy caught way back in 1974. To date, only a handful of Macks have been caught that have weighed 30 pounds or more. The best fishing spots around Lake Tahoe are usually kept as secret as a gold miner’s claim.

But they are out there, waiting to be caught.

Mackinaw isn’t the only fish in the lake. There are plenty of rainbow, brown and brook trout and Kokanee salmon to be caught too, with a little patience and some practical tips, pointers and advice. The daily limit for Lake Tahoe is five trout and two mackinaw.  Most other lakes and streams in the Lake Tahoe Basin have a limit of five trout.

Besides the big Lake, the west and north shore region is home to many streams, rivers and smaller bodies of water. Hang around at one of the tackle shops and get the inside scoop on where to go and check out some local favorite spots in the area.

Note that fishing regulations and license fees vary between California and Nevada and that a license is always required to fish in either state. Before fishing, pick up a current copy of the State Fish and Game regulations available online or at most sporting good stores that sell fishing licenses.

Where’s your favorite place to throw a line around Lake Tahoe?

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Tahoe City celebrates 150 years with parade and party

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!

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Check into Granlibakken and check out a bicycle

July 31st, 2013

Don’t feel like packing your bike for your Lake Tahoe getaway to Granlibakken? Don’t worry. You’re all taken care of thanks to West Shore Sports.

Take a bike adventure with a set of wheels from West Shore Sports.

Take a bike adventure with a set of wheels from West Shore Sports.

The adventure begins onsite at Granlibakken. West Shore Sports offers the most comfortable “bike path” bikes on the West Shore. Feel like powering up the pavement?

You can check out a 15-speed road bike and circumnavigate the lake. Looking for a less strenuous trip closer to shore? Try a seven-speed beach cruiser. Want some intense backcountry adventure? Try the ascent up Blackwood Canyon and then thrill ride down on a mountain bike.

Whatever you have in mind, West Shore Sports will put you in any saddle you like, and outfit the family, too. They offer kids 20-inch and 24-inch mountain bikes, younger kids Adams Trail-a-Bikes (third wheels) and Croozer trailers that can hold two little ones up to 100 pounds.

All bike rentals come with helmets, bike locks and trail maps at no extra charge. West Shore Sports staff can offer personalized route directions, based on the needs of your group, to send you off on a great adventure.

Throughout the Tahoe City region there are dozens of on and off-road trails, fit for novices to experts. The Tahoe City Public Utility District and Caltrans fund bicycle trails in and around Tahoe City. Paved trails run from Tahoe City to Dollar Point, Tahoe City to Sugar Pine Point State Park and from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley.

If you’re looking for something to do on the water, you can head on over to West Shore Sports and check out any number of stand up paddle boards, kayaks and accessories. Or you can call ahead of time and have a kayak or paddle board delivered to Granlibakken.

West Shore Sports is also your one-stop for winter, with alpine skis, snowboards, snowshoes, cross country skis, tuning and repair.

Where will your bike adventure take you when you visit Granlibakken?

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Floating the Truckee River

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?

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