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Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Hong Kong
posts: 71
reviews: 64
Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Hi,

I am staying in San Francisco for a month and would like to go skiing during weekends ( dep fri noon - rtn sun noon). I have never been to Tahoe before and do not know which area I should go. I am a high intermediate skier and my little cousin is a beginner snowboarder.

People told me it is about 3 hrs drive from San Francisco to Tahoe depending on the road condition. As I am completely new to this place, I wonder if it is safe for me to drive up there or I should take a bus. But apparently, all buses leaves 3am to 5 am from San Francisco :(

Furthermore, the hotels and ski passes in Heavenly are quite expensive and I wonder if there are other slightly more economical choices......

Thank you all in advance.

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
posts: 15,233
reviews: 3
1. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

My son has lived in SF for years and it usually takes him 4 hours to drive to Lake Tahoe, though I guess it depends where you start your drive in the city, and the extra time leaving on Friday. Friday's are very crowded, as people are getting off work and head to the slopes.

We like Diamond Peak located at Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, as they have views of the lake, less crowds, skiing and snowboarding and great facilities. Adults are $59. Good snowboarding for your cousin. Check out the video's.

http://diamondpeak.com/

Stay and Ski packages:

diamondpeak.com/lake_tahoe/ski_stay_packages

We stay at the Hyatt, because they have a free shuttle every half hour pick up at the lobby and take you the mile up the hill to the ski lifts. When you are done you just catch the next one back to the hotel. Hotel is on the NV side, so has a casino, and lake front restaurant.

There are less expensive lodgings as well.

Driving map from SF to Incline Village.

http://mapq.st/WeRPNO

If you have a car, there are about 12 other ski area's in north Lake Tahoe you could choose for other weeks. Sometimes our family will start out at DP, go to Northstar the next day and Squaw the following to get a taste of them all.

Hong Kong
posts: 71
reviews: 64
2. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Thank you so much for the information.

N California
posts: 467
reviews: 38
3. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

There are lots of options at the Lake Tahoe area. Heavenly is not my favorite, but it is convenient to the casinos for those who are interested.

Donner Ski Ranch is a nice little area with varied terrain, popular with snowboarders, some of the least expensive lift tickets. Across the road from Donner is Sugar Bowl; quite a bit larger and somewhat more expensive. Northstar, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw Valley are a bit further and closer to the lake.

In current weather conditions, driving is pretty easy. When new storms come in, the roads can be much more difficult. I would suggest only driving yourself up there if the weather forecast is definitely clear. If there is any chance of snow, you might be better off with some other transportation (bus or train).

Hong Kong
posts: 71
reviews: 64
4. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Thank you and is there any website that u can check the weather on route before I drive up there? And do I have to put chains on the tyres when I arrive at the mountain? ( I don't know how).

N California
posts: 467
reviews: 38
5. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Weather in San Francisco is often a good predictor of weather at Lake Tahoe; if it rains in SF, it will likely be snowing at Tahoe a few hours later. weatherunderground or intellicast.com are decent weather sites; you can look at "south lake tahoe" or "truckee" for conditions. A major storm can bring huge delays and headaches driving in the mountains, turning the drive into 10 hours or more; it's best to avoid going up on one of those weekends.

Chains are normally required during a storm and for a few hours afterwards. If you stick to fair weather weekends, it is unlikely you would need to put them on. When chains are required, the main highways normally have installers working at the roadside who will install/remove chains for a set fee. I used to figure on using chains about one trip in ten for Tahoe.

Hong Kong
posts: 71
reviews: 64
6. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Thank you so much.

Merced, California
posts: 172
reviews: 4
7. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

We used to live in Redwood City and we had season passes at Sierra-at-Tahoe. We went skiing at least 2 weekends a month, usually both Sat and Sun, and often we went every weekend. It was usually about a 4 hour drive from Redwood Shores to South Lake Tahoe. Friday afternoon leaving the city and Sunday night coming back were the worst traffic, though I think FastTrack has helped.

Safety wise, Hwy 50 to Sierra is usually pretty clear, unless you travel during a storm. We have 4x4 so storms never stopped us either. If you're in a car ALWAYS have chains in the mountains. Also, if you do travel around a storm, they often close HWY 50 for a couple of hours at a time for avalanche control. They go up on the mountains and dynamite the risky areas, forcing them to avalanche so it doesn't build up. We got stuck a time or two sitting in the car in a long line of cars with no bathrooms around.

Lift tickets at Sierra at Tahoe are $79/day for adults OR you can buy a 3 day pass for $55 per day and can be used any day over the season. Sierra is more of a locals resort and lacks the big resort atmosphere, but the have a great setup, with a good mix of beginner, intermediate, and black diamond runs. Some are groomed and some are left powder and moguls.

Merced, California
posts: 172
reviews: 4
8. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

You might also consider stayin in Placerville or Pollock Pines. It's convenient to Sierra and costs much less then staying in the Lake Tahoe basin.

California
posts: 10,878
reviews: 12
9. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

It's also an hour's drive from Placerville to Heavenly & more than 45 minutesw to Sierra At Tahoe.

Tell us your nightly budget and i'm sure we can find something in your price range near a ski resort.

Hong Kong
posts: 71
reviews: 64
10. Re: Ski trip for a weekend - !st time to Tahoe - Please advice

Thank you so much for all the information. As for the hotel, I am fine if it is under USD 250 / night ++ but the hotels in Heavenly that are closed to the gondola are all over USD300 per night ++ ! So that is why I would like to look for other ski area in Tahoe.

I will do some more research these couple of days and hope to go there this weekend because all hotels will double the price in the President's weekend.

Thanks again.