2018 is the year of the never ending winter. Make the most of it, book a last minute flight to Reno, and get in those very last turns of the season. There is absolutely nothing more liberating than shredding that pow in a t-shirt, adult beverage in hand and sunshine on your face. This is the weekend to close out the season and really take in those Tahoe turns!
Spring skiing is an entire genre unto itself—you get to enjoy the slopes with some of the best spring skiing in the country, plenty of snow, the sunshine, and lack of crowds. Warmer temps in April create a sort of mashed potatoes/corn powder on the slopes—imagine little round pieces of snow that help you turn effortlessly.
While conditions vary from year to year, the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the northern California and Nevada border may receive some of their biggest storms late in the season and have occasionally kept a few trails open until late June. Right now, most resorts have their last day of the season scheduled in the next few weeks—so get those last turns in!
WHERE TO STAY: TAHOE LUXURY PROPERTIES
Sometimes you just need a true home away from home. No hotel front desk, no need to eat out for every single meal, and no hassle of other guests (except the ones you come with and actually want to hang out with, of course). Staying with Tahoe Luxury Properties gives you a chance at true solitude, with a home away from home that’s even more luxurious than your regular digs.
Tahoe Luxury Properties specializes in luxury real estate and premier vacation homes in the entire Tahoe Truckee region, so whether you’re headed to Kirkwood or Homewood they’ll find you the perfect home that feels just about ski-in ski-out, with being stuck at one particular resort.
Most ski towns have the one huge mountain resort, and that’s where all the action is—hence why it usually makes sense to stay on mountain. But with all different resorts spread out throughout the entire Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of Northern California, the best way to stay in extreme luxury and comfort, without sacrificing proximity to the mountain, is booking a home with Tahoe Luxury Properties.
They focus on having a huge inventory of ultra-luxe homes that go way above and beyond the typical Airbnb rental and make sure you have the absolute best vacation possible—they even have a concierge style service, a la St. Regis style, so you literally have the best of both worlds.
We stayed in the sun filled five bedroom Mountain Spirit home in the heart of Tahoe City, a lakefront property that captures the magic of Tahoe in every beautiful exposed beam and sparkle of the Sierras from your bedroom window.
WHO TO GET GEAR FROM: SKI BUTLER
Precisely what it sounds like, a customized ski concierge service. How many times have you waited, sardine like, sweating in your over insulated jacket, waiting for the next kid to come hand you a boot? How many hours of would-be-ski-time has been spent rushing back to the rental lodge just to find they already closed?
No more. Ski Butler comes to you. They take all of the necessary info and then show up like Ski-ready Fairy Godmothers, boots of every size and variety to help ensure you have the right fit (same for ski type and length).
Halfway through the day and you realize your boots feel off, just give them a call and they’ll come running. They’ll come and fetch all the gear when you’re done too, one less thing to worry about on your way out. We even had a pair of our own DPS’s that were a little rusty from the road roof rack, and Ski Butlers tuned them right up for us.
WHERE TO GO SKIING: HOMEWOOD, NORTHSTAR AND SQUAW VALLEY
Homewood is a little known locals secret. When all the traffic is jammed and you know the fresh powder is getting skied off, you head to Homewood. Stunning views of a crystal clear Lake Tahoe from everywhere you look, and some fantastic intermediate terrain. It’s the perfect place to explore and adventure a bit without straying too far from the main hub of the Sierra’s. Next head to Northstar. It’s a great family mountain with a unique, laid-back style. The terrain is pretty varied and lets you get a great sense of the mountains while exploring new slopes—with plenty of terrain to keep the adrenaline junkies happy.
There are only so many mountains you can fit into one trip, but spend your last few days at the iconic Squaw Valley. The host of the 1960 Olympic Games, Squaw Valley offers a legendary resort boasting 6,500 acres to explore. Its runs top lists across the world, like off the KT-22 chairlift. It’s a bucket list destination that everyone can’t help but adore. Squaw Valley is known for its quiet, secluded experience near Tahoe City, while still maintaining a fairly epic and iconic party vibe. They’ll stay open till Memorial Day weekend!
WHERE TO EAT: TRUCKEE & TAHOE CITY
There’s nothing after a long day of sunshine and skiing like a really fantastic meal. If you’re out skiing Northstar, Truckee is a super convenient hotspot to find some fantastic grub in. Up and over the hill from Lake Tahoe’s north shore, Truckee offers an easy base that’s away from the hubbub. Once a sleepy logging town, it’s now become something of a foodie hot spot—and the newly opened Truckee Tavern is no exception.
It may be called a Tavern, but this place is anything but your average pub. With a focus on fresh, local cuisine and a fantastic team of innovative mixologists and creative farm to table chefs behind the menu, Truckee Tavern is a wonderful dining experience. The atmosphere is rustic, the live music abundant, and the food super fresh, creative, and rustic.
Truckee Tavern’s food and beverage offerings include the freshest, highest quality local ingredients, farm raised, hormone free meats and locally grown produce to give a sense of Truckee Tavern’s spirit program draws from Truckee’s rich history of bootlegging during prohibition and focus on artisanal small batch gin and whiskey, the two main distillation products from Truckee during that era. Order a round of Wet on Wets (rye, cognac, maraschino, bitters, dry vermouth) and then start with the baked raclette accompanied by house made mustard (everything but the Heinz here is house made), move on to the agnolotti (or whatever the crazy fresh pasta of the season is), devour a truly simply and perfectly cooked rib eye, and save room for the pear galette. Truly deserved gluttony.
When on the other side of town, Tahoe City-esque, coming home from Squaw, Homewood, or just looking to explore, Sunnyside Restaurant is our go to. The most stunning dining views paired with a fantastic wine list and really delicious mountain food—hard to go wrong. Sunnyside has been a staple in Tahoe City since the ‘70s, and also has a location in Hawaii—hence the breathtakingly large (and scrumptious) Hula Pie on the dessert menu.
If you get to Sunnyside early enough to catch the sunset you’ll see an incredible alpenglow take over the entire lake while you sip on a bottle of Blackbird Vineyards Arise and nibble on Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns, a Mixed Seafood Hot Pot and Hula Pie for all.
The famous Hula Pie is billed as “this is what the sailors swam ashore for in Lahaina,” developed at Sunnyside’s sister restaurant, Kimo’s, long ago. A towering pile of macadamia nut ice cream on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. We each got our own—completely unnecessary, but there were still no leftovers!
WHAT TO DO ON REST DAYS: SCENIC RIDE WITH MOUNTAIN LION AVIATION
There’s no way to truly appreciate just how beautiful this part of California is from sea level.
The only way to really understand the enormity of the lake and mountains surrounding you, to see and feel the pull of a town that has been driving tourists to become locals for decades upon decades, is from the air.
Mountain Lion Aviation is a local aviation company who operates flights between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, for those discerning travelers who don’t have the time/energy/snow tires to trek through the often standstill traffic of the area.
For those looking to just explore and see the scenery of it all (sometimes you have to give those glutes a rest day), they offer scenic rides around the lake.
On our very last day, before heading back to the hustle, bustle, and chaos of it all, we headed out to Mountain Lion for a morning ride on brand new, rather impressive G-6. Within moments of takeoff we were in the clouds, just a little bird in the sky, breezing over the vast mountainous range that is the Sierra Nevadas. The lake glistened expertly, the sky was whisper quiet, and the beauty overwhelming.
Lake Tahoe is an incredibly special place, for a million reasons. Whether you make it out for the last of Spring Skiing or start to plan for your 2018-2019 adventure, just make sure you get there. it’s a bucket list region that always leaves you wanting more.