North Tahoe Ski Resorts Groomed for Families

November 29, 2011

With daily lift tickets approaching $100 at many resorts across the country, skiing is becoming quite an expensive venture these days. Like successfully navigating the moguls of a black diamond run, finding affordable places to hit the slopes is proving very difficult.

View from Diamond Peak

Thankfully, the north shore of Lake Tahoe has a few diamonds in the rough when it comes to inexpensive ski lift tickets.

Located in Incline Village, Diamond Peak not only contains challenging terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels, but the lake views are spectacular. It also has ticket prices that will bring a smile to anyone’s face – especially a parent’s.

Designed with the family in mind, there are a variety of different discount options. For those just learning to ski or snowboard, there is the “beginner lift access” ticket that can be purchased for just $25 and can be used at both of Diamond Peak’s beginner ski lifts.

Realizing that many children may not want to hit the slopes alone or have the skill to do so, there is an “interchangeable parent” option, which allows one ticket to be swapped back and forth between mom and dad throughout the day. It has proven wonderful for parents who need to split their time watching children on the slopes and perhaps a younger one back at the lodge.

Speaking of little ones, there is also a Child Ski Center for kids ages 3-7. It is separate from the rest of the resort and contains its own powerline lift. As if that weren’t enough, kids 6 years and under ski for free.

Just over the rather large hill from Diamond Peak is Mt. Rose Ski Area. Somewhat forgotten since it’s on the eastern slope of the Sierra facing the city of Reno, this resort has panoramic views of both Lake Tahoe and the vast Nevada desert. It, too, is nicely designed for families from both a terrain standpoint and a pricing one.

While other resorts on the lake may run upwards of $85 per ticket, adults can get a ski pass for $67 after December 16th. Teenagers, ages 13-17, are $37 and children, 6-12, are just $17. With Tahoe’s highest base elevation and only 25 minutes from both Lake Tahoe to the west and Reno to the east, Mt. Rose is a very nice choice for any family to consider.

Ticket prices at Northstar-at-Tahoe are definitely higher than other resorts in the area, but with its own rustic village and a plethora of family-friendly restaurants and attractions, including an ice rink, it, too, may be an ideal destination when traveling to the north shore this winter.

There is no doubt that skiing and snowboarding is getting expensive these days. Yet, while some resorts offer prices only corporate moguls can afford, thankfully there are others that keep the moguls on the slopes and ticket costs much more affordable.

NOTE: All ski resorts offer early and late season discounts, online deals, season passes, and a variety of ski packages that help parents save money. Feel free to contact the ski resorts directly. For more information on local ski resorts or help planning your next ski vacation, please contact us at 1-800-948-7311 or visit us at

Feast Your Eyes on Tahoe This Thanksgiving

November 16, 2011

While there isn’t enough snow on the ground for most ski resorts to be open, the cool temperatures, crisp mountain air, and scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe still make it the ideal place for visitors to gobble up a nice vacation rental for Thanksgiving.

Just like a savory gravy poured all over the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, the fact that the area won’t be crowded makes the idea of taking a trip to Tahoe even more enticing.

Over the extended four-day weekend, most people will stay at home or travel to a family member’s house because they prefer a familiar, comfortable setting. Having a kitchen one knows very well and room enough for everyone to spread out and enjoy themselves as the eat, drink, play games, and watch football is very important.

Although the holiday is one to honor all those that deserve thanks for making our lives better – as the Native Americans did so long ago when the first European settlers came to the New World – it is perfectly designed to bring family and friends together for a few hours of relaxing and bonding.

With very affordable rates and spacious accommodations, renting a condominium or house in beautiful Lake Tahoe is also ideally designed for Thanksgiving. There are a plethora of cozy options that come with all the comforts of home – including oversized kitchens for memorable turkey (or tofurkey) feasts and large HD televisions for top-notch football viewing.

The fact that it all takes place amid huge pine trees, towering Sierra peaks, and a crystal clear blue backdrop only makes it that much more special.

While the lack of snow this November may be disappointing to skiers and snowboarders, Lake Tahoe still remains an ideal place to gobble down a fantastic Thanksgiving feast – along with a memorable family vacation.

Tahoe Vacationers: Time to Check Out Condos

November 8, 2011

When it comes to planning a family vacation, most people research and book a reservation at the best, and hopefully least expensive, hotel in and around their respective destination.

In the case of Lake Tahoe, however, most travelers are finding condominiums and houses the most accommodating of accommodations.

Crystal Bay Condo View

Not only is there a plethora of spacious, top-notch townhouses and single-family homes all within a short walk or drive to the lake, ski resorts, golf courses, shopping, and other points of interest, they usually are much less expensive than a hotel.

While a room at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village may run $150 on a Saturday night during the month of December, a visitor to the north shore can get a very nice 2- or 3-bedroom condominium with two bathrooms and a kitchen for the same price.

For those looking to really stretch their dollar this winter, there are condo options for even less, such as two-bedrooms close to the ski resort, Diamond Peak, and other conveniently located options near downtown Incline Village. For those who require smaller places, there are one-bedroom rentals scattered throughout the Tahoe Basin that carry a nightly winter price tag of below $100.

Unlike the one-room accommodations at a hotel, condominiums and homes come with multiple rooms, lofts, cots, pull-out couches, and other amenities that make it easier for families to arrange and enjoy their sleeping arrangements.  Not to mention multiple bathrooms, possibly a washer and dryer, and a kitchen with cupboards, dishwasher, refrigerator, and other comforts of home.

For those with small children who go to bed much earlier than teenagers and older adults, multiple-room places are essential to a good vacation. At a hotel that means purchasing an adjoining room unless there’s an extended stay or special family-oriented resort in the vicinity.

Traveling in large numbers certainly has its advantages when it comes to lowering room costs. Even some of the finest luxury rental homes found near the shores of Lake Tahoe may at first appear to be quite the pretty penny until one realizes how many people the place can comfortably house. One of the featured homes on the Lake Tahoe property management website, Goldfish Properties, costs $1400 per night.

At first glance, that seems like a hefty price tag for one night. Yet, upon further investigation, it actually turns out to be a pretty good deal for anybody planning a special occasion where multiple families and friends are getting together. For one, it is a stunning, absolutely gorgeous property just across the street from the lake.

It is also a whopping 9,000 square-foot home with a huge outdoor deck, a hot tub, large back yard, a pool table, eight leather recliners, and a home theater system. Oh, and it has six bedrooms and sleeps 22, which brings the price tag down to a respectable $70 per night per person.

While hotels definitely have their advantages, such as restaurants, a pool, and a spa on the premises, the outdoor beauty of Lake Tahoe coupled with the economical price tags, really make it the ideal location for most families to go with a condominium or home for their next vacation.

With multiple rooms and all the amenities of home, they really are the most accommodating of accommodations.

It’s a ‘Normal’ Tahoe Winter According to La Niña

November 1, 2011

While nobody enjoys the negative effects a winter storm can have on our everyday lives, such as loss of power and treacherous driving conditions, the amount of white stuff that fell in the Northeast recently had skiers and snowboarders on the West Coast green with envy.

Since it caused such havoc from Maine to Maryland, the early season blizzard made very little friends. After all, the best place for so much snow is on the ski slopes, not on the slopes of city streets. Still, with reports of 30 inches in some areas, the total quantity was impressive and reminded everyone – especially sports enthusiasts – winter is coming.

Besides those living on the upper East Coast, the idea of winter coming might be hard to believe as warm and sunny weather continue to dominate in California.

Behind the scenes though, officials at Lake Tahoe ski resorts are already preparing and getting ready for the upcoming season. With temperatures dipping into the lower 20s at night, many are already making snow and at least one – Boreal Ski Resort – has already opened a few runs on select days for those who just can’t wait for the natural stuff to fall from above.

As for the winter season on a whole for the Lake Tahoe region, scientists believe this will be a la Niña year. That means the Pacific Ocean is colder than other years, which changes the air path around the continuous United States. Basically, for many ski resorts, that’s a good thing.

“On the la Niña front, we are not sure. We think there is another la Niña year, this year,” M. Sanjayan, a lead scientist with The Nature Conservancy told CBS News. “I, for one, am buying my ski passes already.”

In a winter such as the one predicted for 2011-2012, the weather pattern usually favors the norther portions of the country. In general, the northern states are much wetter during a La Niña year and the southern states drier. Even though the Northeast was the target of the first big storm of the year, it is the Northwest that usually bears the brunt of La Niña weather, according to scientists.

What that means for Lake Tahoe, however, remains a mystery. The area sits in between the wet north and dry south regions and so it is predicted to be a “normal” winter in terms of precipitation.

Also, while climatologists are fairly accurate at predicting patterns, nobody knows exactly how much precipitation will fall during each respective weather disturbance. So, while a few storms over the long haul may be pushed to the north due to cooler ocean temperatures, the storms that eventually pass over Tahoe could still bring a whole slew of snow.

As most residents and visitors to Lake Tahoe know, that is exactly how most years go anyway. The total number of storms to hit may be fewer than other locations, but, like the one to hit the Northeast recently, some bring a ton of the precious white stuff.

And that has most officials at ski resorts in other parts of the country green with envy.