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Just about every cliché in the lodge has been thrown at the collection of downhill ski resorts that populate the Lake Tahoe region. And try as they might, none of the fawning descriptions even come close to doing them justice. So let’s just stick to the facts: more than 25,000 skiable acres, peak elevations above 10,000 feet, up to 3,500 vertical feet of drop at some resorts, nearly 1,000 designated trails, almost 200 chairlifts, and an average of 42 feet of snow—more than 63 feet fell at some locations in the 2010-11 season. Spend a winter at Lake Tahoe, and you’re going to become really good at waxing skis and snowboards.
Snow worshipers have flocked to the slopes of Diamond Peak Ski Resort since November 1966, when its precursor, Ski Incline, first opened. A lot has changed in more than four decades. In the last three years alone, the 655-acre, family-oriented resort has spent $8.5 million renovating its base lodge, constructing a new Skier Services Building, and updating its snowmaking system.
Improvements at the lodge include an expanded rental shop, an additional 300 square feet of outdoor decking, new restrooms, and a new meeting room, while the aforementioned Skier Services Building houses the resort’s two ski schools and features new ticket windows and restrooms.
Its proximity to Reno, outstanding views of Lake Tahoe, and some of the most affordable lift tickets in the region make Diamond Peak a locals’ favorite.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
1210 Ski Way, Incline Village, NV 89451
Big doesn’t begin to describe Heavenly Mountain Resort. The behemoth mountain spans two states, encompasses 4,800 acres, and is among the largest ski resorts in the United States—ensuring guests miles and miles of new terrain for each visit. Add breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe from many of its runs, and it’s little wonder that Heavenly is also one of Reno-Tahoe’s most popular resorts.
Most of the resort can be conveniently reached from South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Village via the Heavenly Gondola, which non-skiers can also ride for a bird’s-eye view of the lake. The new 14,720-square-foot Tamarack Lodge opened last year at the top of the gondola, joining the resort’s four other lodges and bringing dining options to rival the best on-mountain restaurants in the skiing world.
Before heading up to explore the mountain, skiers and boarders can cruise the village for the latest winter fashions—or, after a day on the slopes, visitors can search the village’s shops for souvenirs, après ski cuisine, and cocktails or practice their triple Lutz on the south shore’s only ice-skating rink. New this year is Heavenly Holiday, a nightly synchronized light show, December 1-30.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
3860 Saddle Rd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Renoites have been skiing in the wilderness around Mount Rose and Slide Mountain since the 1930s. Sky Tavern capitalized on the pastime in ’41, Reno Ski Bowl—better known as the Slide Bowl of Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe since the resorts merged in the ’80s—opened in ’53, and Mount Rose Ski Area started operations in ’64. And if such longevity doesn’t prove Rose is doing something right, the daily hordes of eager skiers and snowboarders do.
Lake Tahoe’s highest base elevation—8,260 feet—means fluffy dry powder that begs for sunrise first tracks, and the north-facing experts-only Chutes (nine gates to choose from) provide rebellious runs that reach angles as steep as 55 degrees.
The environmentally friendly wind-powered Winters Creek Lodge, opened in 2009 at the base of the Slide Bowl, offers dramatic views of Washoe Valley, and the mountain and is available year-round for private functions.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
22222 Mt. Rose Hwy., Reno, NV 89511
Two Wheels and the Open Road
Swing and Slice
Arc Dome Adventure
King of the Crests
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