Skiing and Sledding at South Lake Tahoe: The Ideal Spots
Zip Code 89448- Tahoe Village, Nevada
Although I have been there a zillion times in the summer and winter for sport activities, such as, skiing, sledding and hiking, until our recent ski trip, I never knew much about Heavenly Ski resort in the Tahoe Village, Nevada site. In fact, the only Heavenly ski areas I knew about were at South Lake Tahoe, off Ski Run Street.
Skiing Heavenly is a blessing and curse. The blessing is the awesome views of the Lake Tahoe region from 8-10,000 ft on good days, the curse is the expense ($78 for lift tix alone), the hassle of parking, driving on icy roads or taking the Gondola from the main street for another $20. It is always packed with skiers because only a few know that Heavenly also has the Nevada sites, located off the Kingsbury Rt. 207. The Boulder Ski lift is accessed by taking a right onto South Benjamins Drive until it ends. The Stagecoach lift is further up 207, right on Tramway. Once on Tramway, stay until you pass it. Make sure you stay left onto Quaking Aspen Lane, otherwise, you will end up on a dead end road (which is a great sledding site!).
While the prices are the same, there are far less people, crowds. You can also find places to stay, many have the ski run to the lift just out their doors or within a mile. Think no driving, less crowds and you will want to check it out.
Tahoe Vacations is one of many entities that rent out cozy 1-2 bedrooms sites. We tried them out and found that for three nights @ $560, the deal was good. It included an awesome view of the lake, less than a mile from either ski lift and all the amenities of home: fireplace, kitchen, living room with TV, DVD, Internet, 2 bedrooms for up to 5 people and our dog! The only bad thing was the Internet was non-functional most of the time and limited TV channels. When you book, the local tax is 13%, plus there is a cleaning deposit of $70 or so, so while the rate per night was $90 (which is good for Tahoe) things added up quickly. I would call our cozy place a four star rating-very nice.
The Heavenly ski sites at Boulder and Stagecoach offer you great skiing just our your door. The Stagecoach site can take you up to 10,000 ft, because you are already at 7300 ft (South Lake Tahoe is at 6000 ft.). So convenient!!
Sledding South Lake Tahoe
The odd thing about South Lake Tahoe area, there really are not that many great sled sites, ironically. The snow parks do not offer much in this regard and always are packed, most are not near South Lake Tahoe urban area. This makes for driving there when conditions are dicey, a problem. Luckily, some good sites that are FREE are right off the Kingsbury Grade (Rt. 207). These will be sufficient for kids up to age 15. Not steep, steep, but steep enough to get speed and have some fun.
The first sled site is at Kahle Park, take the Kahle Park st off of 207 or Hwy 50. The road takes you into a parking lost and a clubhouse. The sled hill is directly across from the outdoor restrooms. It is a 45 deg. slope of about 25 yds from the top. It is short and fast when icy. Since the park is public, there are no fees.
The other site is further up 207, a mile or two, at Paradise St. Take a right and you are immediately facing a slope, that is a good length. When icy, it also is a good sledding hill. Although it is on private land, nobody cares if you sled for awhile.
The last great sled site is on a dead end street called, Needle Peak Rd. You might accidentally go there if you missed the Quaking Aspen Lane sign, which takes you down a hill and past Heavenly at Stagecoach lift. The Needle Peak Rd is only a few hundred yards and then it takes a 90 deg. right up a hill towards a water tank. If conditions are snowy and icy, this is a GREAT place to sled despite there being a residence down the street. The run is long and if you climb to the left of the water tank, you will have some serious sledding speed. Just remember that what goes down, must go up again for another run!
Hanson's Resort also has a luge-type sled run (think waterslide but ice) for single tubing. It costs (not free, like the others) $10 per person and includes a tube. This located in South Lake Tahoe on the fringe base of Heavenly at 1360 Ski Run, just south of Pioneer Trail Rd. The downside is that you can only do this for limited time.
You can also sled at Sierra Ski resort, about 30 miles from Kingsbury Grade. They charge $20 for 2 hrs of sledding and includes a tube.
About the Weather
Plan. In our three day adventure, the day we drove up from the Bay Area, no snow was encountered until Echo Summit, 7300 ft, then it suddenly got dicey with slushy, icy, roads from then on and snow falling. On Monday, it was spectacular, 40 F, Spring conditions. The best ski weather. No road issues. On Tuesday, a transition day, about 35F, partly cloudy, roads OK. By nightfall, wind was howling, snow blowing, roads icy. On Wednesday, the day we left, the morning was 20F, blizzard snow conditions that buried my Subaru Outback. Took 2 hrs to dig it out and even put chains on the front tires due to icy roads and kept them on until past Strawberry at 5500 ft. It took three hours to just get there (usually one would be well past Sacramento by that time!).
In winter, listen to weather forecasts and prepare! It changes rapidly in the mountains.
Lastlly, if you go to South Lake Tahoe, unless you need to go through the city of South Lake Tahoe, use the Pioneer Trail Rd, a right , just outside of Myers (6300 ft). This road will bypass all of the city and ends up nearly at the Stateline and is much faster than continuing on Hwy 50. The road is equally as good.
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