Tahoe Dream Vacations Really do Come True

March 27, 2012

Cost is always a big factor when deciding where and when to go for the family’s summer vacation. Since most popular destinations lure travelers near and far, the price tags associated with each can get rather hefty.

A Lake Tahoe Rental

Yet, wise vacation-planning parents have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to saving money. For example, those who head to Lake Tahoe each summer know that staying in a condominium or a single-family home instead of a hotel is a huge cost-saver.

It’s not the equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but the accommodations and the nightly rates one pulls up on vacation rental websites, such as goldfishproperties.com, may be just as amazing.

It’s no magic show or illusion either. The basic fact is the inventory in and around the beautiful alpine setting of Lake Tahoe allows travelers to find great low rates – even in the peak tourism time of summer.

Adding to the benefit is the amount of extra space and bedrooms that come with each non-hotel rental, which means more friends and family members can join in the fun and help lower the rates.

Taking one of the most expensive – and luxurious – homes on the Goldfish Properties website is a great example of just how someone can turn a fantasy vacation into a reality.

Just steps from the lake is a stunning, opulent home that looks like it may be owned by Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. The amenities include: 9,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, 2 master suites, 4 sofa beds, steam shower, movie theater with eight leather recliners, game room with pool table and built-in surround sound speaker system, several large-screen HD televisions, hot tub, large deck with view, and a huge backyard with BBQ.

A Luxury Vacation Rental Home in Lake Tahoe

It is a home fit for a king. And, coincidentally, a few middle-class families.

With a $1400 per night rate, it may seem really expensive on the surface. Upon further review, however, the astute planner realizes this actually may be an ideal choice for a summer family reunion or get-together with old friends.

Not only is it directly across the street from the shores of one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world, but it also comfortably sleeps a whopping 22 people.

That means if five different families opted to reserve this amazing home, it would only cost each of them $280 per night. On the flip side, the Hyatt Lake Tahoe resort down the street charges $400 per night during the summer – and that’s for a basic 1-bedroom option with no lake view.

All high-end accommodations aside, it is finally becoming a well-known fact that renting a condominium, townhouse, or home is a superb way to save money while enjoying a fabulous Lake Tahoe vacation.

Considering there are condos for just $137 per night and spacious homes starting at $200, all within walking distance of the lake, the whole Tahoe vacation-planning process might be magical after all.

Lake Tahoe: The Late Winter’s Tale

March 13, 2012

While sipping a cup of coffee with friends two weeks ago in an Incline Village cafe, the conversation inevitably turned to the lack of snow in the Sierra Nevada. With near record-breaking dry conditions for December, January, and much of February, it is a common discussion among Lake Tahoe locals and visitors.

More Tahoe Snow

As the talk ultimately turned to the effect the unseasonably warm, sunny weather is having on tourism, a slightly hunched over, elderly woman slowly shuffled past the table. As she did, she mumbled something.

“Beware the Ides of March,” she uttered in a hushed, craggy voice.

At first, the thought was she was talking about the popular movie starring George Clooney. But then everyone realized she might actually be referring to the weather after eavesdropping on the conversation.

Either way, just a short time later, amazingly, both interpretations of her warning have proven true.

Not only is the Clooney movie predictable and cliché, but the Lake Tahoe region is once again being hit with another series of storms – the third time in as many weeks.

Considering more snow is expected to fall this week as the middle of March approaches than the previous three months, the long dry winter may finally be over.

Weather experts are calling for snow in the Sierra all week long and quite possibly eight out of the next 10 days. As much as five feet is expected to fall at higher elevations. Here is this week’s forecast according to Weather.com:

While much later than expected, the storms that have marched – and will march – through the area this month are welcoming signs to ski officials and vacationers looking to finally hit the slopes and fresh powder. State water officials are also starting to breathe a little sigh of relief.

In fact, all fictitious soothsayers aside, March is becoming quite a nice little wet weather story that even Shakespeare would be proud of.

Snow Comes to Tahoe in Leaps and Bounds

March 6, 2012

It seems only fitting that in a year in which we observe February 29, the majority of winter storms opt to leap over most of the ski season in the Sierra Nevada before they leave heavy snow behind.

With the second driest December on record since state and federal officials started taking measurements more than 65 years ago – and just traces of precipitation in January and February – it’s been anything but a stormy situation in Lake Tahoe.

Yet, as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are expecting an additional 5 to 8 inches in and around the region today. Add that to the 3 to 5 feet from the last storm and the totals in the past three weeks have far surpassed those of the past three months.

In fact, Kirkwood is reporting a base of six feet and Alpine Meadows just over 3 1/2. Even Diamond Peak, which is practically at lake level, has a base of 3 feet. That is quite the change considering just a month or so ago, the only snow was of the man-made variety.

Due to the arid conditions, most skiers and snowboarders have decided to skip out on taking their usual weekend and holiday trips to Lake Tahoe this winter. Thanks to the copious amounts of snow that has fallen in the past few days, however, that is all changing.

While it usually marks the beginning of the end of the ski season, the month of March this year has become the ideal time for many families to take that leap into a trip to Tahoe – and finally into some fresh powder.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Conditions (and climbing)

Alpine Meadows – 44-85″/3″ new

Boreal Ski Resort – 50-80″/3″ new

Diamond Peak – 40-60″/2″ new

Heavenly Ski Resort – 36-52″/2″ new

Homewood – 52-75″/2″ new

Kirkwood – 72-86″/3″ new

Mt. Rose – 33-58″/1″ new

Northstar-at-Tahoe – 36-53″/2″ new

Sierra-at-Tahoe – 26-59/2″ new

Squaw Valley –  25-61″/3″ new

Soda Springs – 24-30″/2″ new

Sugar Bowl – 39-84″/2″ new

For any questions regarding winter conditions or outdoor activities in the Lake Tahoe area – or to inquire about great condominiums and single family vacation homes – please contact Goldfish Properties at (800) 948-7311 or visit us at http://www.goldfishproperties.com.

A Tahoe Winter Forecast to Finally Crow About

February 28, 2012

The winter in Lake Tahoe has been so unseasonably warm and dry, wildlife biologists have said many animals that are normally hibernating at this time are instead wide awake and out looking for food.

Weather at Mt. Rose Ski Resort on Monday

With a few storms bearing down on the area this week expected to leave up to three feet of snow, the forest critters might want to end their midnight snack and head back home for a quick catnap before springtime.

The last three months have been some of the driest on record, with December coming in as the second most arid since weather officials started keeping records more than 65 years ago.

Tahoe was hit with a series of small storms more than a week ago, but all the snow that was left on the ground was no match for the 50-plus temperatures that followed.

Skiers and snowboarders are hoping this week’s storms heading down from Alaska will change things. Instead of sunny skies and conditions more apropos for the month of May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for a forecast more in line with a normal winter.

Here is a quick look at the forecast courtesy of Weather.com (Incline Village, NV):

While it’s always great to know precipitation is on the way, it’s also good to know that the system is a cold one. With snow levels expected to be down to 3,000 feet and accumulations expected to be near three feet at higher elevations, winter may finally be here.

For skiers and snowboarders, that is music to their ears. For all those who should be slumbering right now in their burrows and dens – hopefully they are hearing a lullaby.

Going Cross-Country in Lake Tahoe

February 21, 2012

While most people head to Lake Tahoe in the winter to enjoy a day skiing or snowboarding at one of the popular ski resorts, there are two other exciting and invigorating outdoor activities that visitors might want to cross paths with while on vacation.

Wide open alpine terrain and incredible vistas of the lake below make snowshoeing and cross-country skiing ideal for all those looking for alternative afternoon plans.

Considering there are no lines and no expensive lift tickets associated with escaping to the “great outdoors” only adds to the allure.

The skis needed for a little back-country adventure are designed much differently than regular downhill skis. They are much skinnier and allow for the heel of the boot to come up in order to help propel the skier forward through the snow. Because of this, most people don’t own their own pair of cross-country skis.

Since snowshoes, too, are so uniquely designed, most outdoor enthusiasts opt not to purchase these items either.

Yet, that shouldn’t discourage anyone from heading out into the wilderness – such as the Mt. Rose Meadows – as there are plenty of ski shops on the north shore that carry all the necessary equipment.

Here are just a few of the more well-known local establishments to visit:

Porter’s Tahoe – Tahoe City, Truckee (www.porterstahoe.com)

Tahoe Dave’s – Tahoe City, Truckee, Kings Beach, Squaw Valley (www.tahoedaves.com)

Village Ski Loft – Incline Village (www.villageskiloft.com)

Lake Tahoe is a mountain paradise where people “get away from it all.” The last thing anyone wants is to battle crowds and wait in long lines, only to be left in bumper-to-bumper traffic as he or she leaves the ski resort.

Since that is what many face during the week as they travel to and from work, escaping to the tranquility of a pristine mountain pine forest for a little family picnic or light exercise could be the next perfect Tahoe winter vacation idea.

It’s at least worthy of trying – and crossing off your list – before heading back to the ski resort for a little downhill fun.

When renting equipment from one of the many top-notch local ski shops, be sure to ask about places to go as well as current snow conditions. If needing help with accommodations in Lake Tahoe, be sure to visit Goldfish Properties at http://www.goldfishproperties.com or call 800-948-7311.

Presidential Decree: Snow Ideal for Tahoe Trip

February 13, 2012

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

While he was talking about life in a metaphorical sense, with a small storm currently hitting Lake Tahoe and another coming Wednesday, that right place may be on the slopes of a local ski resort.

After a record dry December and mostly sunny days in January, Old Man Winter has decided to wake up from his extra long nap.

The storms rolling through aren’t very big, but a slow, steady stream of snow showers is finally leaving behind the fresh powder skiers, snowboarders, sledders, and snowman builders have been anticipating.

With sunny skies expected after the next storm rolls through, Lake Tahoe is shaping up to be the ideal place to be for the upcoming Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. That is double good news for all those who opted to skip going to the mountains over the Christmas break due to lack of snow.

The current storm, which is expected to leave 4 to 9 inches of snow behind, comes on the heels of a small disturbance that moved through a few days ago that left 3 to 12 inches. The storm later in the week will only add to those welcoming totals.

As George Washington said, “Truth will ultimately prevail when there is pains to bring it to light.”

The truth of the matter is with optimal weather expected and fresh snow on the ground, doing anything else but heading to Lake Tahoe for the Presidents’ Day weekend might be a pain too much to bear.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Conditions (and climbing)

Alpine Meadows – 26-58″/12″ new

Boreal Ski Resort – 29-36″/8″ new

Diamond Peak – 30-40″/4″ new

Heavenly Ski Resort – 25-35″/6″ new

Homewood – 33-46″/8″ new

Kirkwood – 52-58″/12″ new

Mt. Rose – 28-46″/6″ new

Northstar-at-Tahoe – 26-34″/5″ new

Sierra-at-Tahoe – 39″/9″ new

Squaw Valley – 26-41″/8″ new

Soda Springs – 24-30″/8″ new

Sugar Bowl – 19-38″/8″ new

For first-rate Lake Tahoe and Truckee accommodations, feel free to visit Goldfish Properties at http://www.goldfishproperties.com or call 1-800-948-7311.

Take a Scenic, ‘Free’ Trip to Lake Tahoe

February 7, 2012

As the popular saying goes, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  As any vacationer knows, when it comes to taking the family on a trip, all those lunches – and the rest of the expenses – can get rather pricey.

Emerald Bay in Winter

Good thing when it comes to popular winter destinations such as Lake Tahoe, people can feast their eyes upon the incredible natural beauty at no charge.

While most people do in fact come to the Sierra Nevada to go skiing or snowboarding, the alpine scenery is so soothing and stunning, some just sit back and bask in the mountain glory on the back or front porch.

Another popular activity that doesn’t cost anything is simply taking a walk around town or the lake’s shoreline. Since many beaches are public – and some private ones such as Incline Village are open in the winter – there are plenty of great locations to take a stroll along the water’s edge and take in the postcard views.

With so many fantastic stops along the 72-mile Lake Tahoe loop, another superb idea is a sightseeing trip. Places like Sand Harbor, Zephyr Cove, Camp Richardson, Emerald Bay, and Crystal Bay offer such amazing views, enjoying a day out may be as simple as going for a drive in the car.

The Tahoe Basin also provides many fantastic trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or just a picnic. In the shoulder months or years of low precipitation, many of these trails may also be ideal for hiking and mountain biking. Two popular spots for a little off-road north shore fun are the Mt. Rose Meadows and Brockway Summit.

It is a well-known fact that vacations can get rather expensive. Airfare, rental car, rental property, food, and the price tags that come with all the many activities to entertain the family.

Good thing there are places like Lake Tahoe where visitors don’t have to pay anything to feast their eyes upon the incredible natural beauty.

As the popular saying goes, “Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.”

Tahoe Traveling: Stop and Smell the Mt. Rose

January 31, 2012

When travelers arrive at the Reno airport for their Lake Tahoe vacation, they want nothing more than to get up the mountain as fast as possible. While the sapphire water of the enormous alpine lake is breathtaking, there are a few gems tourists might want to check out along the way.

There are several avenues one can take when heading to Lake Tahoe from The Biggest Little City in the World, such as through Carson City and up Highway 50 into South Shore or Interstate 80 through Truckee and ultimately into either Tahoe City or Kings Beach. The quickest route, though, is Highway 431, also known as Mt. Rose Highway.

Mt. Rose Meadows

Lake Tahoe is definitely the pot of gold at the end of the vacation rainbow, but there are some other nuggets to see along the 37-mile Mt. Rose journey.

The Summit – OK, so shopping may be the farthest thing from a vacationer’s mind, but the sheer abundance of quality stores and restaurants located at The Summit, warrants mention. Before spending time enjoying the great outdoors, immerse yourself in a little indoor decadence. Stores include Banana Republic, Gap, Hollister, Patrick James, bebe, Ann Taylor, Chico’s, J.Crew, Talbot’s, Sketchers, Bath & Body Works, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, and the always-popular Apple store.. For those looking to eat after hitting the shops and before hitting the road, there is BJ’s Brewhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chocolate Bar, FatBurger, and the omnipresent Starbuck’s.

Galena Creek Park – Nestled at the foothills of the Sierra, right along Mt. Rose Highway, this regional park offers incredible hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. Feel free to inquire about ranger-led expeditions through the park, the exhibits in the old stone visitor’s center, and the campfire opportunities. There is also fishing and a plethora of picnic areas to choose from.

Mt. Rose Meadows – A local favorite for its stunning views of both Nevada to the northeast and the Tahoe Basin to the southwest, there is a myriad of hiking and mountain biking paths to enjoy in the summer – including a single track that leads off the mountain and south down into the Carson City area. To the north is a popular trail to Tamarack Lake. In the winter, this is a favorite locale for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and sledding.

Mt. Rose Turnoff – Yes, just a tiny concrete space on the side of Mt. Rose Highway, but should be mentioned as almost the entire lake can be seen from this vantage point. As far as tiny concrete highway pull-outs are concerned, this one rivals the parking lot overlooking Emerald Bay and the “Tea House” on Fannette Island.

There are many other great options to choose from depending on the season, such as skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Resort, heading east into Virginia City, or playing golf at Arrowcreek Country Club or if you know somebody at the private Montreux Gold Club where the PGA Tour stops once a year.

Considering just how spectacular, though, Lake Tahoe truly is, it’s understandable if most tourists just head straight there. After all, it is a diamond in the Sierra rough.

But for those who want to take their time and enjoy what Mt. Rose Highway has to offer, there are certainly a few pearls to discover.

There’s Snow In Dem Der Tahoe Hills!

January 24, 2012

As the popular saying goes, “What a difference a day makes.” Or in the case of Lake Tahoe skiing and snowboarding, a storm.

Just a few days ago, locals and visitors were walking the sandy, rocky shores of Lake Tahoe as if it were early summer. The blue skies and bare ground made it look like any other time than the middle of January.

Hello New Snow!

Yet, those familiar with weather in Lake Tahoe know that when a storm does finally hit, it can bring a whole lot of the white stuff with it. And that is just what happened.

The landscape around Lake Tahoe that used to be brown and gray is now nothing but bright white. The way it should be in winter.

Ski resorts that only had a few runs open due to man-made snow are now in full operation – opening up lifts and lines for everyone to take advantage of the abundance of fresh powder.

In the past four days, Diamond Peak reported more than 40 inches of snow. Alpine Meadows reported more than 70 inches of new snow on its peaks in just the past 48 hours.

It may be almost one month into the new year, but it is finally time to go skiing and snowboarding – Natural Style!

For those ready to dust off their boots and leave their buddies in the dust on a double diamond slope, here are the latest numbers of new snow that fell in just the latest storm:

Alpine Meadows – 72 inches

Boreal Ski Resort – 50 inches

Diamond Peak – 24 inches

Heavenly Ski Resort – 48 inches

Homewood – 40 inches

Kirkwood – 48 inches

Mt. Rose – 28 inches

Northstar-at-Tahoe – 37 inches

Sierra-at-Tahoe – 47 inches

Squaw Valley – 60 inches

Soda Springs – 40 inches

Sugar Bowl – 52 inches

As they say, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”

It sure took a whole lot of minutes into the ski season for it to change, but considering there is now several feet of fresh powder on the ground, it’s pretty safe to say most people are finally liking the Tahoe weather.

Let the Tahoe Storm Parade Begin

January 16, 2012

According to the national weather service, a significant storm is finally on its way to drought-ridden Northern California. That is extremely good news to residents and visitors of the greater Lake Tahoe area since it’s been the driest start of the winter season in recent memory.

Further drumming up excitement is the fact that experts say the storm expected to arrive later this week is just the first in a parade of stronger ones to come.

“The vigorous winter Pacific jet stream will give weary Alaskans a break and instead will make the entire roughly 5000-mile long voyage to the West Coast, bringing several wet, windy storms into the West Coast beginning midweek,” reported  Jonathan Erdman, Senior Meteorologist with Weater.com. “Each of these storms should bring soaking rain and heavy mountain snow to the Northwest, heavy snow to the northern Rockies, and at least some rain and mountain snow to thirsty northern California.”

While the brunt of the incoming weather will push to the north, this is extremely good news to both water officials and outdoor enthusiasts looking to finally introduce their skis and snowboards to fresh powder.

All in all, three storms are expected to move into the area starting Wednesday or Thursday – all of which are listed as “moderate to strong.” That is three more storms than the region has seen in almost two months.

In the Pacific Northwest the total snow fall will be measured in feet, not inches. The Sierra Nevada won’t rival the Puget Sound or the Cascades, but the amount of rainfall will be significant and mark a huge shift in the weather pattern.

“This should put a dent in the drought worries for at least parts of California, currently plaguing half of the state. Fortunately, California’s reservoir levels are still high from a wet winter/spring 2010-2011, so, there are no long-term water supply worries just yet,” stated Erdman.

With a procession of storms expected to march into the area in the week to come, perhaps the blizzard conditions will finally beat away any long-term water worries. And skiers and snowboarders can once again parade down to the local resorts to enjoy a little fresh, natural snow.