A travel journal
to Lake Tahoe by gosusan
Quote: Lake Tahoe is home to many great ski resorts. But if you yearn for more than the casinos at Stateline and the overbuilt beige condos around Incline Village, explore the wild western shore!
In the summer/fall: cycle, hike or take the Tahoe Queen (lake steamer). The Truckee River has some limited rafting opportunities in early summer. But unless you are a member of the polar bear club I would not recommend swimming in the freezing lake water.
At all times, enjoy the gorgeous views of mountains rising about a deep blue lake.
Dick and Ulli White, the owners, serve a marvelous breakfast in the upstairs lounge area, complete with several different egg/sausage/homemade pastry options to give you fuel for the morning's activities. They also offer a complimentary snack and wine hour in the evening.
For dinner, one can either explore some of the restaurants in the area (such as the Swiss Lakewood) or just meander a few steps over to the onsite restaurant, The Stony Ridge Cafe, for tasty Californian-World Fusion cuisine.
Dick and Ulli are very friendly and are happy to offer suggestions on where to ski or on what else there is to do in the area. On a blustery day I would be tempted to forgo skiing and just hang out in the lounge and play scrabble and drink coffee, or just snuggle under the covers back in the room. This place represents the West Shore at its friendliest and coziest.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 21, 2002
Tahoma Meadows Bed and Breakfast
Lake Tahoe, California
Restaurant | "Swiss Lakewood"
I would recommend ordering the cheese fondue for two, which costs $39. It's Emmatheler and Gruyere melted together, with a dash of kirsch, to be sopped up by bread chunks. Such gooey luxury may harden your arteries, but after a long day of skiing, you've earned some culinary decadence. With a bottle of chenin blanc and a salad for 2 (I'd pick the spinach salad, with the hot bacon dressing, prepared at your table), and absolutely no room for dessert, your bill will come to ~$80, plus tip.
You will be eating in the rustic bar annex rather than the white tablecloth dining room, but this only adds to the atmosphere. Surrounded by kitchy bavarian artifacts, a roaring fire and a bubbling cheesy fondue, you'll be yodelling for joy.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 21, 2002
Swiss Lakewood Restaurant & Lodge
Rt 89, 5 miles south of Y at Tahoe City
Lake Tahoe, California
Attraction | "Squaw Valley- not just a Resort, but a Religion"
Squaw's $56 lift ticket is pricey, but multi-day passes provide some relief. However, don't expect the mid-week specials of the smaller resorts. Also, if the weather is storming you may wish to check the ski reports in the morning, before you motor over to Squaw. Squaw (and Alpine) have very exposed peaks and often close the upper mountain lifts for wind-hold. On such days, you will still pay the full price for the privilege of skiing the runs serviced by Red Dog and Squaw Creek over and over.
Squaw has 4 major service areas: High Camp and Gold Coast on the mountain, and Olympic Village and Squaw Creek Resort at the base. When you are tired of skiing, there are plenty of shops, eateries and bars all vieing for what money remains in your wallet. I like the outdoor grill at the base of Squaw Creek Resort: Burgers and fries will run you at least 8 bucks, but they are well worth it, especially on a sunny day when you can get a bistro table outside with a view of the mountain. Check out the shops and hotel, too. There's something decadent about clomping in your ski boots around the plush carpet of the lobby, leaving clumps of snow in your wake.
Squaw hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, and they will never let anyone forget it. Sure, there is a lot of hype, and other resorts may be more low key, cost-effective and friendly. But you should come at least once and see what some of the hype is about.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 20, 2002
P.O. Box 2007
North Lake Tahoe, California 96146
Attraction | "Alpine Meadows"
Alpine offers all of the basic ski-hill services: repair and rental, some clothing, lockers and storage and a few different places to eat, including a Gordon Bierch Bar-B-Que establishment, new this year. Alpine also has a decent ski school and offers snowshoeing. But if your party has folks for whom these sports don't appeal, there's not a lot for them to do here. They'd be better off meandering around the centers at Squaw or Northstar or staying at the condo to cook dinner. :-)
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 20, 2002
Alpine Meadows Ski Resort
2600 Alpine Meadows Road
Tahoe City, California 96174
+1 530 583 4232
Attraction | "At Home at Homewood Ski Resort"
And let's not forget the glorious views. Many Tahoe resorts offer snippets of lakeviews from the top of the lift. At Homewood you have to try hard to find a run without a view. Everyone, even beginners, can ski down Rainbow Ridge to the mid-mountain chalet and enjoy the sensation that one is about to schluss directly into the lake.
Homewood is also a great place to ski on stormy days. While Squaw and Alpine can suffer from wind-hold on 70% of their lifts, Homewood's lifts are lower to the ground and protected by trees. You can ski during a blizzard and not freeze your butt on the way up. Homewood is less costly, both for lift tickets and other services. The staff is far more friendly and relaxed.
As far as cons, Homewood is lower in elevation: sometimes getting rain when other resorts have snow. Also, they do not get the sheer snowfall that Squaw or Sugarbowl receives, nor do they have much artificial snowmaking capacity. So in drought years Homewood may not have the best coverage. Finally, the return run options for the North Base Lodge are either 1) a windy, sometimes icy Lombard run, or 2) a plunge down the choppy mogels of The Face (right under the lift, for maximum humiliation when you biff). But you can avoid this choice-of-two-evils by skiing down to the South Lodge and taking the shuttle back to the North Lodge, if that's where you are parked.
Homewood Mountain Resort
5145 West Lake Blvd
Homewood, California 96141
+1 530 525 2992
Off Hwy 80 at Soda Springs/Norden exit
Lake Tahoe, California
San Francisco, California