The following day, Sun, Jan. 13, at noon there will be Cross Country and Snowshoe Tours of the 1960 Olympic Trails at Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore. The site marks the venue for the 1960 Olympic Nordic events. Squaw Valley hosted the downhill events, as well as the ice skating competitions.
On Tues., Jan. 15, the Robbie Burns Olympic Reception takes place at the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City, 5-7 p.m., with Olympic exhibits on display.
Scholastic Olympic Heritage Day is Wed., Jan. 16, 6 p.m., with the Grand Opening of the museum that will feature the 1960 Olympic Games Collection. The museum is located at the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City.
The Olympian Dinner is scheduled for Fri., Jan. 18, 5-9 p.m., at Granlibakken Resort’s Cedar House Pub and is open to the public. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Olympic Trails Restoration. The event will honor participants from the 1960 Nordic events, including coaches, course designers and groomers. These participants will also share stories with dinner attendees, reminiscing about events and historical significance of the era leading up to the Olympics in Tahoe. Granlibakken Resort is located just outside of Tahoe City on the West Shore.
The Eagle Wings Pageant Dancers will perform Sat., Jan. 19, 5-9 p.m., in Tahoe City next to the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center near the Tahoe City Dam.
Sun., Jan. 20, marks the Olympic History Walking Tour of Squaw Valley, noon, with attendees meeting in front of the Squaw Valley Tram Building.
The Olympic Heritage Celebration concludes Mon., Jan. 21 with the Citizens Against the Clock Biathlon race, 10 a.m., at the new Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
In addition to the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association, the Olympic Heritage Celebration is sponsored by California State Parks, Sierra State Parks Foundation, Lake Tahoe’s West Shore Association, Olympic Trails Restoration Committee, West Shore Sports and Granlibakken Resort.
The goal is simple – Get visitors out of their cars by providing a seamless, hassle-free transportation alternative during the winter months.
According to Executive Director Jan Colyer of the Truckee/North Tahoe Transportation Management Association, the program is already off to a great start. Ridership during the first five days of the Christmas holidays was 395.
The shuttle’s flexible schedule has also led to more winter enthusiasts partaking in après ski activities and libations since the shuttle service provides drivers.
The shuttle, while greatly enhancing the North Lake Tahoe visitor experience, is also a real winner for the environment.
Going carless helps reduce traffic congestion and thereby vehicle emissions which can deteriorate the lake’s clarity. Lake Tahoe is a fragile ecosystem and we all need to do our part to keep the region pristine.
In addition to the Free Ski Shuttle, a number of ski resorts offer their own free ski shuttles, such as Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Homewood Mountain Resort, Northstar California and Diamond Peak.
The Truckee/North Tahoe Transportation Management Association also runs the Night Rider, a free service that runs until 2 a.m.; the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle during the summer months; and the year-round North Lake Tahoe Express Airport Shuttle that picks ups and delivers passengers to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For a complete list of public transportation options, including the Free Ski Shuttle, visit online.
“Plates for Powder” is back. With the official start to the Tahoe ski season days away, the Tahoe Fund is launching the popular promotion to raise money for important environmental projects in Tahoe. From now until April 15, anyone who purchases a newLake Tahoe license plate in either California or Nevada is eligible to receive two free ski tickets to one of the 11 Tahoe resorts participating in the program.
Although you might not feel it, the weather is starting to change in North Lake Tahoe. Days are still warm, with temperatures averaging in the 60s, but nights are dropping to approximately 35 degrees. It’s the time of year that the region’s upper elevations start seeing a dusting of snow.
We’ve been reviewing all the long-range forecasts, and if Mother Nature keeps up her end, we should have above-average snowfall this winter.
That’s music to the ears of North Lake Tahoe ski resorts, many of which have been pumping millions of dollars into their ski and non-ski products to enhance the winter enthusiast’s experience.
This season marks year two of Squaw Valley’s $50 million renaissance. The improvements, unveiled for winter 2012-2013, will greatly enhance the first-time and beginner experience, the terrain park and improve the overall flow of the upper mountain.
The resort will install Big Blue Express, a new, high-speed six-pack chairlift, to replace the High Camp chairlift. The base terminal of Big Blue Express will start where the base of the High Camp lift was formerly located and will extend to the top of the ridge, providing easy access to the Shirley Lake, Solitude and Granite Chief chairlifts. The Links double chairlift will be removed and replaced with a triple chairlift call Mountain Meadow, which will be realigned to bring skiers and riders up to the ridgeline near the top of the terminals of the Solitude and Silverado lifts. Additional changes include Squaw’s three million snowmaking improvements and grooming initiatives.
Building on the $30 million recently invested at Northstar California, the resort celebrates this winter and its 40th anniversary with more glade skiing on The Backside, first-ever snow cat and backcountry tours on Sawtooth Ridge, a new Burton Riglet Park that introduces snowboarding to 3-6 year olds and EpicMix Racing that has participants comparing their race times against accomplished Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn. Also new this season is Tavern 6330’ in the Village at Northstar with seating for up to 200. The new restaurant features American grill dishes inspired by California farm fresh ingredients served up in a cozy, tavern-esque atmosphere suitable for the whole family.
Making headlines around the country is Northstar’s new CMO, canine marketing officer, “Marsh Mellow.” The lovable three-month-old pup was abandoned at the resort last August. After a long search in which no owner was found, the resort’s marketing team adopted him. Over the last few months, Marsh Mellow has developed a following of guests who keep up to speed with his activities via the resort’s social media channels and who regularly visit the Village at Northstar to see him.
On Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort signed an agreement October 1 to operate Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort, America’s largest cross-country operation, which is being purchased by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, the Trust of Public Land and the Northern Sierra Partnership. The resorts are already connected by an “interconnect” trail that allows skiers to ski back and forth between the two, with plans in the works to further enhance the connection with two additional beginner-friendly routes. Sugar Bowl, who plans to invest $500,000 in Royal Gorge this season, is now offering a season pass that allows holders to downhill at Sugar Bowl and cross-country ski at Royal Gorge. Sugar Bowl pass holders can add on an unrestricted Royal Gorge pass for $149 (adult price), and can purchase an unrestricted, standalone Royal Gorge pass for $299.
Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe, just outside of Incline Village on Highway 431, has continued to work on a multi-year forest management project in cooperation with the Nevada Division of Forestry. The project stretches from the Galena trail to the Mt. Rose Highway and involves concentrated efforts for selected thinning and the removal of dead, damaged and diseased trees with the goal of a healthier forest. Other resort projects include the realignment of the Little Mule conveyor lift and improvements to the Rosebuds teaching terrain. Decorative rock walls were added around the Main Lodge with the added perk of aiding in erosion control.
Woodward Tahoe, a world-class action sports training center and youth camp which originally opened in June, will be open seven days/week for public access and daily drop-in sessions through the winter until April 14, 2013. The 33,000-square foot indoor facility at the base of Boreal Mountain Resort on Donner Summit, offers multi-level Olympic trampolines, a Super Tramp, a concrete skate park for skateboarding and BMX biking, a pump track and skatelite ramps to foam pits for aerial ski, snowboard, BMX and skateboard training. A season pass, called the “Bunker Pass,” is available for $279 and includes eight months of access, seven days/week for two-hour sessions.
The Wanderlust Festival, a one-of-a-kind yoga and music festival, returns for a fourth year to the picturesque setting of Squaw Valley Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29.
The annual event hosts a rock star lineup of yogis who will be leading classes and talks, including Shiva Rea. Rea is known for bringing the roots of yoga alive for modern practitioners in creative, dynamic and life-transforming ways and for offering the synthesis form of prana flow out in the world. She writes for Yoga Journal and Yoga Plus Joyful Living.
Yogi Seane Corn is also attending the festival. Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism and inspirational style of teaching. Over the last 20 years of her career, Seane has been featured in magazines, Oprah.com, The Huffington Post, numerous radio programs, such as NPR, and four self-authored DVD programs, and in 2005, was named the National Yoga Ambassador for YouthAIDS.
Many will gather at the Wanderlust Festival to meet Baron Baptiste. Baptiste is the founder of the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute and creator of Baptiste Yoga. He was born into a lineage and heritage of health, yoga and spiritual educators. For more than twenty years, he has impacted hundreds of thousands of people as a teacher, trainer, leader and catalyst in the realm of personal growth through his best-selling books, video/audio products, public speaking engagements and trainings.
The onsiteWanderlust Healing Sanctuary at Squaw Valley offers healing services from some of the most talented healers across the country, with each of the trained practitioners devoted to supporting festivalgoer’s unique journey and experience.
Outdoor expeditions get yogis off the mat and include a three-hour rafting trip along the Truckee River with Shiva Rea and RiseSUP, which will combine stand up paddle boarding with yoga practice on Lake Tahoe’s world renowned pristine waters.
Kids get in the mix too with the Wanderkind Kids Program, geared for ages 4-10 years, that includes yoga, live music, hooping, as well as arts and crafts.
North Lake Tahoe announced today that it will host the first full-distance IRONMAN® event in California since 2001. The competition is scheduled to take place September 22, 2013.
“Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty and experience in hosting world-class endurance events have made it one of the world’s most appealing sports destinations,” said Steve Meckfessel, Managing Director of Global Race Operations for World Triathlon Corporation, the owner and operator of the IRONMAN series. “The launch of a full-distance IRONMANevent in California has been a long-time coming. We’re confident this race will instantly develop into a cornerstone of the global IRONMAN Series.”
It’s also a shot in the arm for the Tahoe economy during a slower time of year.
“We estimate the total economic impact to the region to be approximately $8 to $15 million over the course of the event,” said Chief Marketing Officer Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association, the host destination and an official sponsor of IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. “More than 2,500 athletes are expected to take part with each bringing three to four guests and staying five to six nights.”
According to Chapman, the relationship with IRONMANdeveloped because of a connection with the Amgen Tour of California. Lake Tahoe hosted Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California in May 2011. The IRONMAN Lake Tahoe contract is a multi-year deal. The IRONMANseries also plays well with North Lake Tahoe’s human-powered branding campaign that encourages visitors to experience the area firsthand whether by getting out on regional trails or via the lake.
IRONMAN Lake Tahoewill start with a two-loop, 2.4-mile swim in the pristine waters of Kings Beach, California, which has an average water temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in September. Athletes will enjoy a lakeside transition before starting a two-loop 112-mile bike course that is comparable in difficulty to the bike routes at IRONMAN Lake Placid, IRONMAN Canada and IRONMAN Wisconsin. Cyclists will travel along the lake into Tahoe City, California before following the Truckee River past Squaw Valley and into the Old West town of Truckee, California.
From there, the course turns south back toward Lake Tahoe, has a short loop in Martis Camp, continues past Northstar California and climbs to Brockway Summit. After a decent back down to Kings Beach, athletes will complete a second loop, and then a final, flat 17 miles to finish the bike course at Squaw Valley, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics.
With a transition at the Village at Squaw Valley, runners will proceed along the Truckee River bike path into Tahoe City, and continue south along the shores of Lake Tahoe to a turnaround in historic Homewood, California. The largely flat run course traverses one of the most scenic lake vistas in the world before finishing back along the cobbled corridors of the Village at Squaw Valley.
IRONMAN Lake Tahoe will be a P-2000 race with a $75,000 USD professional prize purse. Additionally, the race will offer 50 age group slots to the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship taking place October 11, 2014.
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, World Triathlon Corporation, owner and operator of the IRONMAN Series, has grown from a single race to a global sensation with nearly 190 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IronKids®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About North Lake Tahoe
North Lake Tahoe, at an elevation of 6,200 feet, is home to majestic mountains and the largest alpine lake in the country, boasting a visibility of 70 feet down. It’s world renowned, especially for all things human-powered, including biking, swimming, running, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, as well as skiing and boarding in the winter months. The region is a 45-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. The North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association is an official sponsor of IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. For details about the area or to book special IRONMAN lodging packages, click to the organization’s website, www.GoTahoeNorth.com.
Seventy feet of snow last winter combined with a massive amount of improvement projects underway and planned for the near future in North Lake Tahoe, has visitors to the area pumped with anticipation of what the 2011/12 season may bring us. And we aren’t just boasting with pride of our mountains. Advance bookings are actually up 35%* compared to the same period in 2010.
This “bounce effect” (although we would like to think we are unique to this spike in numbers; we are indeed labeled and sorted into a category with like others) occurs after a phenomenal snow year. We also refer to this as “FOMO” – a condition of suffering from the “fear of missing out.” Consumers are making lodging arrangements early for this winter based on last year’s banner snow conditions – and we all know that La Niña brought us some epic days on the mountain last year.
Who wouldn’t want to come see what all the fuss is about? It goes on…
In addition to Vail Resort’s $30 million, which has already been implemented this season, KSL Capital Partners $50 million, five-year capital revitalization commitments and $20 million spread across other Lake Tahoe ski resorts and community projects, JMA Ventures – owners of Homewood Mountain Resort - are one step closer to creating a pedestrian friendly village on the scenic West Shore that would not only help our friends in economic development but would also create another robust playground for our tourists.
The redevelopment plans include a five-star boutique hotel with up to 75 rooms at the resort’s North Base, as well as a full-service restaurant, spa, fitness facility, meeting space and 15,000-square feet of retail space, in addition to underground parking. The first phase of construction is slated for some time between 2014 and 2017, with the second phase beginning and ending between 2018 and 2020.
On the Nevada side of the North Shore, Boulder Bay is also moving forward on approvals for creating a vibrant, cultural village that will transform the existing Tahoe Biltmore casino property in Crystal Bay into an environmentally sustainable, yet affordable wellness resort. Updated plans, revised based on community feedback and input, call for a 275-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino, 59 whole-ownership units, 14 on-site affordable housing units, 10 off-site affordable housing units, a spa and other amenities. Start and completion of construction is to be determined.
So although we threw a bunch of numbers at you, it’s clear that North Lake Tahoe is gearing up for 2012 and securing its seat at the popular table for winter destinations. Are you suffering from FOMO yet?
*North Lake Tahoe’s booking numbers come from the Mountain Travel Research Program, which provides lodging performance benchmarking to mountain resorts throughout the western U.S.
It North Lake Tahoe it seems that downhill ski and board resorts rule, especially with more than a dozen to choose from. What locals know is that cross country resorts are nearly as numerous as their steeper counterparts, and just as legendary.
Credit: Jeff Dow
Did you know that the region boasts the largest cross country resort in the country – Royal Gorge? Just minutes off Interstate 80 and atop of the world on snowy Donner Summit, Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort has 320km (that’s approximately 200 miles) of groomed tracks and trails along with two rustic, Old Tahoe lodging properties, the ski-in, ski-out Ice Lakes Lodge and the quaint Rainbow Lodge.
Looking for something a little more, well, competitive? Squaw Valley may have hosted the majority of the 1960 Winter Olympic events, but the cross-country races, including the popular biathlon, were actually held on Tahoe’s West Shore at Sugar Pine Point State Park. There Nordic enthusiasts choose from four distinct, well-marked trails, making up 15km of terrain. The park is also home to historic Ehrman Mansion.
Another great spot to check out, and a locals’ favorite, is Tahoe XC which is just behind Tahoe City’s commercial core with 65km of groomed trails, a day lodge and café. A great all-around resort, well-mannered dogs can join their humans on either of two dog-friendly trails, and there’s more than eight km of beginner and intermediate terrain. Dog day passes are $4 and season passes are just $49. Tahoe XC is also the start of the prestigious Great Ski Race, now in its 36th year. Slated for March 4, 2012, competitors race 30 km from the resort to Truckee.
If you want to mix it with the locals more check out Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area located on the North Shore at the junction of Highway 28 and 50. There are 80km of groomed ski trails spread out over a scenic 9,000 acres. Spooner Lake also rents their remote, cozy log cabins in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park for those interested in a multi-day cross-country or snowshoe adventure.
Still looking for more? Here are some other great places to check out:
Northstar California, Tahoe Donner Ski Resort and Granlibakken Resort: All paired up with downhill resorts if you’re traveling in “mixed company”. Northstar’s Cross Country Ski and Snowboard Center, located at the base of the resort’s alpine area, has 40km of carefully groomed, picturesque trails. Tahoe Donner Downhill and Cross Country Ski Area in Truckee has 115km of skiable cross-country terrain. Granlibakken Lodge, just outside of Tahoe City on the West Shore and located in a serene valley, has lift access to several miles of Nordic skiing terrain, including charming Page Meadows and access to the famed Tahoe Rim Trail, in addition to its beginner downhill slope.
Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley: Adjacent to Squaw Valley’s massive downhill area, this luxurious AAA four-diamond resort has 18km of meticulously groomed trails winding through a stunning meadow and hillside. A cool 70% percent of the terrain is geared specifically for beginners.
So you’ve taken time off work and booked a trip to Tahoe this winter. Check item #1 off your list. Now you’ve got an entirely different task ahead: figure out how much you can pack into your trip to make it the best ever. We could come up with a thousand things to do, but that’s what GoTahoeNorth.com is all about.
Here are some tips from fans of North Lake Tahoe on the can’t-miss, must-do, make-plans-to-enjoy things you should add to your list.
Dog Sledding(from Alena S.). Truly an experience to remember (trust us, we cherish our memory). Wilderness Adventures has hour-long tours through the Squaw Valley Meadow, between the ski resort and Resort at Squaw Creek. The guide leads a team of 8-10 huskies with a four-person sled.
Hang loose and enjoy (from Richard A.). North Lake Tahoe is definitely built for relaxation. In the winter you can still hang out on beaches and enjoy the serenity of the lake. Or, enjoy a hot beverage and the company of friends at any of the area’s watering holes, coffee houses, lodges or villages. There’s never a shortage of warm fires and great views at Tahoe.
Paddleboard Lake Tahoe on a Bluebird Day (Andy C.). This may seem a little crazy, but if you throw on a wetsuit and try really hard not to fall in, it could turn out to be your best day on the lake, ever. Consider this, in the winter there are far fewer boats on the water, making it like glass on a calm, sunny day. There’s nothing but you on a board paddling across a blue expanse and surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Paints a picture, doesn’t it? Check out this post for details on where to rent a SUP for the day.
Rent a cabin(from Jodi S.). Definitely a cozy way to experience Tahoe and maintain that homey feel. Cabins in the area range in price and size and have a variety of amenities from ski-in/ski-out to pet friendly, lakefront views, hot tubs and more.
Visit The Center for Environmental Sciences, Sierra Nevada College (from Diane M.). Open Tuesday – Friday from 1 – 5 p.m., you can tour the center and learn about Lake Tahoe’s ecology, see research in action, fly through a 3D model of Lake Tahoe and dive under the water, and also learn about the building’s sustainable design.
It’s leaf peeping season – almost. After a brief snowfall in early October the trails and roads in North Lake Tahoe are just starting to show signs of autumn. Aspens in the area are transforming from a sea of green to a brilliant shade of yellow, making for a stunning contrast against Tahoe’s solid wall of pines and firs. That striking contrasts leads many a hiker, kayaker or cyclist to take pause and soak it all up.
The last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November are when the region’s trees really start to change over. There are a number of great venues for soaking up Tahoe’s fall foliage, but those using your own two feet are by far the most popular.
Locals recommend road cycling, inline skating and running up Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore, which is located three to four miles south of Tahoe City. What makes Blackwood unique is its paved road that takes you from 6,200 feet lake level to Barker Pass at 7,200 feet.
Stately Eagle Rock, a popular Tahoe landmark, sits just south of the Blackwood Canyon entrance and is an easy 15-minute hike to the top, offering 180-degree panoramic views of the entire region. The California Tahoe Conservancy recently completed a new trail to the top, which has significantly reduced pollutants into Lake Tahoe.
Located nine miles south of Sand Harbor State Park (just outside of Incline Village), Spooner Lake offers lush meadows and shimmering aspen groves that surround a scenic alpine lake. You’ll find miles of hiking trails, as well as a good starting point if you’re venturing into the backcountry for a backpacking excursion.
Changing fall foliage can also be found on Lake Tahoe’s most popular hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trail – the Tahoe Rim Trail. A 165-mile trail that completely circles Lake Tahoe, this dirt path has eight trailheads making it easy to access. Some favorite spots are Tahoe Meadows on the Mt. Rose Summit (Highway 431), Tahoe City off Fairway Drive behind the town’s commercial core and Barker Pass up Blackwood Canyon, the paved road is open to cars until the snow flies.