Email More Proof Tahoe is a Special Vacation Spot

January 10, 2012

Dear Sirs/Madams,

Hello! I just wanted to quickly thank you and your entire staff for a wonderful vacation! We always wanted to go to Lake Tahoe and we finally busted the move this past holiday season.

I have to say, that despite the lack of snow, the move was well worth it. I didn’t even know they could make snow in such abundance. Good thing since I don’t think a storm has come to the area in a month. Not that I’m an expert by any means, but the snow seemed just fine to me. It certainly looked, tasted, and smelled like the normal, natural stuff. 🙂

Before we booked our vacation, we seriously thought about staying at a hotel. At the last minute, we decided that staying in a condominium would be better since we wanted to make our own meals – especially dinner. Plus, the kids really like to play catch and explore, so being able to open the door and step outside was much more appealing than the idea of taking an elevator up and down all day.

Also, while my husband and I do enjoy a little gambling here and there, it looks as though the only hotel in the area was also a casino. I’m sure it would have been fine, but we were a bit hesitant on how family-friendly that place truly was.

At any rate, I don’t want to bore you all, I just wanted to extend our thanks.

The condominium was so clean and spacious, it truly exceeded our expectations. Having all the comforts of home – a nice kitchen, living room with a flat screen TV, and multiple bathrooms – is the way to go while on vacation. The fact that we could walk to the shopping center and several really good restaurants was added bonus.

Suffice it to say, we will be back to Lake Tahoe and renting from you again. Most likely this summer as the kids want to swim in that gorgeous blue lake!  (My youngest son actually thought it was the ocean as we took a stroll along the shore.)

The entire family is extremely jealous of all you lucky people who get to live in such a beautiful, peaceful alpine location year-round. I will think of Tahoe often as I stare out my downtown office window at the honking cars and smog below.

Thanks so much again and see you this summer!


Shirley (aka Tahoe Daydreamer)

Time to Dance to a New, Wetter Tahoe Tune

January 5, 2012

It is reported to be the driest December in the past 100 years for the Lake Tahoe area. With no precipitation in more than a month and none expected for at least another week, winter outdoor enthusiasts and state water officials are far from dancing with joy.

Yet, despite the lack of enthusiasm – and snow – maybe that’s exactly what’s needed.

The rain dance has been performed by Native American tribes for centuries. While most people these days feel it’s meaningless, fun pomp and circumstance, there are others who still strongly feel these ceremonies help ensure the stormy weather will return soon.

Despite the modern-day doubt, all those tired of the extreme dry conditions and looking to bring snow back to Tahoe, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when performing that potentially winter-saving rain dance:

1) Wear turquoise and feathers if possible. Turquoise represents rain and feathers the wind in many Native American tribes.

2) Find an open, flat, outdoor space that allows you to move around freely and has a clear view of the sky above.

3) Spin around in slow clockwise circles.

4) Start Chanting. Any pro-rain, storm, snow dialogue will suffice (i.e. “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”). Repeat chant over and over.

5) Raise your arms up to the sky as you chant and spin.

6) Close eyes and take deep breaths.

7) Speed up spinning and chanting.

8) End rain dance by dropping to your knees.

9) Remain on knees in silence.

10) Rise slowly.

With no snow on the ground and the weather forecast calling for sunny skies through the first part of January, it’s time steps were taken to help turn things around. While it may seem ludicrous, those steps could be in the form of a traditional rain dance.

Sure, the neighbors may think the record-setting dry conditions have gone to your head as you chant and spin away in the backyard, but when it starts snowing again, everyone will be dancing with joy.

Visitors Have Some Man-Made Tahoe Fun

December 30, 2011

It is reported to be the driest December in the Lake Tahoe region in the past 100 years, but that hasn’t kept skiers and snowboarders from hitting the slopes and wetting their whistle at the respective ski lodges.

Village at Northstar

“The snow is actually pretty darn good,” said one patron as he enjoyed a cold beer after a day at Diamond Peak Ski Area. “I probably couldn’t tell the difference between the man-made stuff and the real stuff. The conditions seem normal to me.”

While the snow may seem normal on the slopes, the conditions are anything but. With pretty much no precipitation since before Thanksgiving, ski resorts throughout Northern California have been forced to make their own snow.

With extremely frigid temperatures, sometimes dropping to the low teens, that has not been a problem.

Yet, the brown panoramic views around Lake Tahoe have almost all locals and tourists wondering when the next storm will bring the white stuff. Outside a few north-side patches,  the only consistent snow that can be seen is under chair lifts.

Or in the case of Diamond Peak – chair lift.

“They only have one top-to-bottom run open, but I am pleasantly surprised at how good the conditions are,” said another skier.

Despite the lack of precipitation, it seems as if it’s business as usual. Just like all the Whos down in Whoville celebrated Christmas without any presents, outdoor winter enthusiasts are celebrating in Tahoe without the presence of natural snow.

With parking lots full and a huge crowd enjoying all the amenities the Village has to offer, Northstar-at-Tahoe is all abuzz this holiday.

“Wow. It was extremely enjoyable out there on the slopes, but a little bit crowded. Getting through the Village, past all the people at the ice rink and everywhere was quite the slalom course in itself,” said a young skier as he waited in the parking lot for his ride home.

No snow in the month of December is very unfortunate for a variety of reasons, but visitors and locals continue to make the most of it. Still, the dry conditions only continue to whet everyone’s appetite for some fresh powder skiing and snowboarding.

Tahoe Ski Resorts Ready to Ring in Holiday Crowds

December 20, 2011

As the popular saying goes, “Use what Mother Nature brings you before Father Time takes it away.”

While a very astute quote regarding life, when it comes to skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe this holiday season, resort officials have decided to bring in their own weather as time continues to tick away.

Snow Making

There is no substitute for Mother Nature, but apparently  those in Tahoe are doing the best they can to make up for her interim absence.

Despite not a single snowflake falling from a cloud in weeks, there are more than 10 area resorts open for the holidays thanks to man-made snow. Below is a list of open ski areas, with a rough estimate of snow conditions in parenthesis:

Open Tahoe Ski Resorts

Alpine Meadows (18″)

Boreal Ski Resort (24″)

Diamond Peak Resort (24″)

Heavenly Ski Resort (24″)

Homewood (6″)

Kirkwood (11″)

Mt. Rose (16″)

Northstar-at-Tahoe (18″)

Sierra-at-Tahoe (8″)

Squaw Valley (12″)

Sugar Bowl (21″)

Having so many resorts open without a storm hitting the region in more than a month may seem odd. After all, the sunny skies are more apropos for a nice hike or day at the beach.

Yet, while Mother Nature refuses to bring what ski resort officials really want – white, fluffy snowflakes and lots of them – she is offering extremely low temperatures. And that has allowed snow-making machines to cover several designated areas and runs in frozen white gold.

Thus, while there are only a few scattered white patches on the north sides of roads throughout the Tahoe Basin, many mountain ski runs are covered at least a foot deep in snow.

As the popular saying goes, “The condition that Mother Nature is in, is the condition we are all in.”

While Father Time rapidly takes away the last few remaining days of 2011 and the weather continues to remain sunny, those conditions at Lake Tahoe ski resorts – to the delight of skiers and snowboarders – remain stormy.

Have a Wonderful Tahoe Holiday!

May Your Tahoe Christmas Be White

December 12, 2011

Irving Berlin wrote it more than 70 years ago in sunny Arizona of all places, but the setting might as well been modern-day Lake Tahoe. With no snow on the ground and less than two weeks until December 25, everyone is dreaming of a “White Christmas.”

While Bing Crosby’s version of the song is the best-selling single of all time, if snow doesn’t come soon, many Tahoe-area residents and vacationers may be following the tune of Elvis Presley by having a “Blue Christmas” instead.

Last week, business owners relayed their confidence that the season on the whole will be a good one. Their unwavering aplomb is mostly buoyed by last year’s extremely deep snowpack and the subsequent strong economic numbers.

After all, it’s not every year there are several ski resorts open on the Fourth of July.

It is still considered early in the season as winter doesn’t officially start until December 22. Thus, most still cling to the hope and feeling that it will be yet another good ski and snowboard season.

Still, it is an economic boon to have all resorts open during the holidays, especially before New Year’s, as that is one of the most busiest times of the year. Even though it might not look too good at this point, history states there’s a good chance snow will be on the ground come Christmas Day.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, the historic probability of a white Christmas in Tahoe is 90%.

With mostly sunny skies forecasted for the next week or so, there may be a lot of doubters that history will repeat itself.

But, hey, at least the odds are better than they were for the original  “White Christmas” dreamer back in 1940’s Arizona.

Economic Winter Outlook for Tahoe Remains Sunny

December 6, 2011

Despite the lack of white stuff on the ground and the weather forecast calling for blue skies ahead in the days to come, most Lake Tahoe, tourist-based business owners remain confident they’ll be in the black this winter.

“All of our indicators are pointing toward a very positive season,” Andy Chapman, director of tourism of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspaper. “We’re seeing a constant increase in growth.”

While a rain dance – or snow dance in this case – surely couldn’t hurt, the very cold temperatures have led to nearly round-the-clock snow making at several ski resorts. In fact, recent overnight lows have been in the single digits in the greater Tahoe-Truckee area and the highs only around 40 degrees.

Because of these frigid conditions, Boreal, Northstar-at-Tahoe, and Heavenly are already open even though there hasn’t been a non-mechanical storm to hit their respective resorts in weeks.

Northstar is reporting a base of 18 inches and Boreal, which opened in late October, is reporting roughly the same. Perhaps it’s because the options are limited at this stage, but skiers and snowboarders seem to be responding well.

“It’s been a strong start for us. If the storms are placed at the right time, we will remain really optimistic,” Jody Church, general manager of Boreal Ski Area, told an area reporter. “The momentum so far is very strong and we’re hopeful it’s going to be another great winter.”

The fact that last year was a near record-setter in terms of snow levels has also enticed many travelers to book their holiday getaway to the Sierra Nevada early. It is also early in the season and most outdoor enthusiasts realize there is no better place to spend the holidays – and other vacation time – than in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Still, every ski resort and most area businesses rely upon tourism and getting into the black depends heavily on getting skiers and snowboarders into the fluffy white.

Thus, with nothing but blue skies expected for the next week or so, it probably couldn’t hurt to do a little ceremonial, precipitation-inducing  Tahoe two-step just in case.

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.