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

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

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 (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 (

Tahoe Dave’s – Tahoe City, Truckee, Kings Beach, Squaw Valley (

Village Ski Loft – Incline Village (

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 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 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.”