The North Lake Tahoe SnowFest is celebrating its 33rd year of fun festivities for everyone! 2014′s schedule of events is drawing crowds of locals (and visitors) to Tahoe-based destinations, both indoors and out. There is a full list of activities scheduled throughout the ten-day festival, and the final parade will pass right in front of our store in Kings Beach on Saturday!
While you’re out enjoying everything Snowfest has to offer, like the infamous Kings Beach Parade, stroll into our storefront across from the North Tahoe Event Center and Jason’s Beachside Grille. You’ll find incredible savings at Tahoe Mountain Sports this Friday through Monday. We will have all sorts of awesome outdoor gear and clothing on sale, some as much as 70% off! In fact, everything in our store will be marked down for all four days!
These photos and video were taken from our storefront during the 2013 Kings Beach SnowFest Parade:
Come enjoy all the festivities with us, and bring the kids! You’re sure to find fun for all ages. From Firework shows and a Firefighters’ Pancake Breakfast to an Ice Cream Eating Contest and the Dress Up Your Dog Contest, there are lots of cool events you won’t want to miss.
Now’s your chance to get a screamin’ deal on those skis you wish you had. Or, think ahead a few seasons and grab yourself a warm winter jacket that will last for years to come. Stock up on breezy spring dresses for the warm and sunny days only a couple months away, and save big on a camp stove and summer backpacking equipment that you may otherwise regret not “stealing” while you can.
Get an affordable backcountry setup before it’s too late! All skis and boots will be 20-60% off. We’re not talkin’ your average boots or skis, either. We’ve got backcountry gear from Black Diamond, K2, Dynafit, Marker Bindings, Salomon and more!
All Marmot, Mountain Hardwear and The North Face clothing will be 40% off. Can you believe that? Go ahead, have the person next to you pinch your arm. Yes, this is real. There will be so many discounted items to choose from, and I wouldn’t dare attempt to list them here. You’ll have to come have fun exploring our inventory.
*Monstrous sale applies to walk-in customers only. We don’t tolerate shoplifting, but we’re happy to let you come steal from us this weekend via huge savings
Here’s a map of the best place to watch the parade. We have wide stairs and an elevated balcony for a better view, and the local radio MC usually posts up right in front of our store to announce the stars of Snowfest’s Kings Beach Parade:
If you read our blog regularly, you know we get to see and test all the new gear about one year before it hits the shelves at the shop. These are always some of our most popular posts, so if there is anything missing that you want to hear about, just let us know in the comments section at the end of the post.
This year we headed down to Mammoth for a full day of ski testing and then had some extra random days in Utah, the Tahoe backcountry and at our local resorts like Squaw and Alpine. Here is a brief rundown of everything we tested and those that made the cut for the ski wall during the 14-15 winter season.
Blizzard Scout and Kabookie pictured with the Cochise 2014
This was our first season offering Tecnica boots for men and women along with two models of Blizzard skis: Kabookie and Scout. Starting with the popular Tecnica Cochise line of boots, Tecnica updated the Cochise boots with a better fit, tighter heel cup, improved liner, new graphics and lighter buckles. The main difference between the Cochise Pro and Cochise Light is going to be the existence of the nicer power strap on the Pro model, and the Light model will come with Tech soles in the box while the Pro model will have Din soles.
As for Blizzard Skis, all we can say is WOW! They ski like a dream, hold an incredibly strong edge, transition smoothly and, in general, were some of the best skis we skied all day. The only downfall is that they are not exactly light, but they are not very heavy either. In our testers’ opinions, these are some of the best one-ski-quiver options you can buy.
The clear highlight in the Volkl line is the new BMT line, which highlights the V-Werks construction in three new skis (or more accurately, three models of the same ski with different waist widths). The V-Werks Katana launched this year and has been a solid, lightweight performer that drives with power and determination. The BMT skis on the other hand, are even lighter, can hold an edge as well as all Volkl skis but initiate their turn really smoothly and rapidly, and are therefore really highly targeted to the backcountry crowd along with a strong crossover appeal to that person who spends their time about 50/50 between resort and backcountry. The Volkl BMT skis will come in a 94, 109 and 122 waist. These are light, indestructible, fast turning, strong edge holding, smooth riding skis. Two thumbs up for sure!
We only skied two of Salomon’s skis and they were the Rocker2 100 and Q BC Lab at 114 under foot. The Salomon Q BC Lab (Dims: 140/114/128) is a takeoff from their running line where the S-Lab series represents the best, newest technology and highest end materials that shoes can be made of and developed for. This ski is the new entry into Salomon’s backcountry foray.
Out of all the skis we tested that were in the 115 underfoot category, the Q BC Lab easily beat them all with its immediate responsiveness, lightweight construction and overall consistency in the given conditions. In the same vein, the Rocker2 100 excelled in its class. It wasn’t the edge holder that the Blizzard skis were, but it was a solid, transition enjoying, responsive ski. I would say that the 2015 Salomon skis were the surprise winners of the day.
The most exciting part of the K2 line is the addition of the famous Coomback ski in a 114 waist. For 14-15 there will be two different Coomback skis available. This particular test day didn’t really beg for a ski that was 115 under foot, but after coming from the Salomon S-Lab, I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same as the Salomon and while it will be a fun and playful powder ski, it is not a ski that can do it all. The Coomback 104 skied similarly to years past and will be a dependable one-ski-quiver long into the future. The ski for the day today was the K2 Annex 98 with its metal top sheet and sandwich sidewalls, this ski held its line just like the Volkls before it. The Annex series is a great choice for that person spending more than 60% of their time at the resort.
Before I wrap this up I need to mention two of our favorite pieces of winter gear that we’ve been fortunate enough to test, review, and sell – although gear from POC Sports sells out fast because it’s in such high demand. POC helmets and POC goggles are insanely comfortable and integrate perfectly together, creating an almost seamless fit. POC goggles provide superior visibility (peripheral span and contrast/clarity) and, as if you’re not already aware, POC helmets have been repeatedly proven safer than the rest.
After a long day of lapping the slopes of Mammoth and trekking to and from the demo tents, we ended testing over 15 skis between two people. Not bad for an average day of work! Check back here for updates as the skis become available and more skis are tested out for the 14-15 season.
As the concluding event of our 2014 Backcountry Experience Series in partnership with Dynafit and Diamond Peak Ski Area, we bring you Nachtspektakel! Hire a sitter if you have to - you don’t want to miss this fun night of good food, drinks and skiing with comrades. Start your evening with a skin up to Snowflake Lodge at Diamond Peak, where you will partake in a delicious catered meal with both new and familiar faces. The Snowflake Lodge is one of the best places to watch a Tahoe sunset, with an incredible view of the lake and surrounding mountains. Conclude this wonderful evening with a ski back down under the stars!
When: Friday, February 28 from 2 to 9 p.m. Where: Diamond Peak Ski Area Tickets: $45 – Click Here To Sign Up What you get: Two hours of lift served skiing, a guided skin up the mountain, dinner and drinks, and a private, nighttime ski down on fresh corduroy that Diamond Peak will groom especially for us!
Bring a headlamp and dress warmly. Comfortable shoes or sandals are recommended for dinner indoors. One beer, wine or will drink is included – the bar will be open if you care for more.
I Don’t Think The Cracks Will Swallow You: A Tale of an African Expedition in Search of Disappearing Glaciers and 16,000’ Summits
Weaving together her love of the outdoors and passion for women’s empowerment, Tahoe/Truckee local Jen Gurecki will share what it’s like to work hard and play hard in Kenya. Her latest adventure—Summit For Our Sisters—took her up Mt. Kenya, an ancient, extinct volcano that boasts the second highest peak on the continent of Africa, towering more than 16,000 feet.
With 12 glaciers that are expected to disappear within the next 30 years, Gurecki seized the opportunity to summit and make turns down the Lewis Glacier, while also raising more than $12,000 to help women start small businesses in Kenya through the non-profit she founded, Zawadisha. During Ladies’ Night, Gurecki will share her recent expedition via an inspirational slideshow presentation before raffling off all sorts of great gear in an effort to raise money to grant a scholarship for participants of future S.A.F.E. A.S. clinics!
You don’t want to miss this event. Tahoe Mountain Sports will be raffling off women’s outdoor gear for winter sports, including a Coalition snowboard or pair of skis! (Must be present to win.) All proceeds from the Ladies’ Night raffle and a portion of gear and clothing sales will benefit Tahoe’s local S.A.F.E. A.S. clinics, a women’s introductory avalanche safety series.Started by Elyse Saugstad, Jackie Paaso, Lel Tone, Michelle Parker, Ingrid Backstrom and Sherry McConkey, the goals of the S.A.F.E. A.S. clinics is to heighten community snow safety and avalanche awareness among women.
What: Ladies’ Night Adventure Slideshow and Raffle Benefit When: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 from 6 to 8 p.m. Where: Tahoe Mountain Sports, 8331 North Lake Blvd, Kings Beach
We recently made the TMS annual pilgrimage to Salt Lake City to check out the hot new trends and unique innovations coming down the pipes for the outdoor industry next season. We did the classic meet and greet. There were thousands of brands, purchasers and spectators to speak with. We did some research, taking lots of notes and pictures. We probably took too many of each, and now have to sift through it all. We went skiing and snowboarding at both Snowbird and Solitude. After all, sometimes a product run-down with a sales rep doesn’t cut it and you have to actually put equipment to use before deciding whether it’s appropriate for your customers.
We picked up countless product catalogs whenever a .pdf wasn’t available – What a waste of paper! We asked for promos and SWAG (Stuff We All Get). We heard “sorry” and “I can’t…” quite a bit. We also heard “yes” occasionally, and that always makes us smile. But most important, and the part you can most enjoy, is the information we gathered about the gear we plan to carry (or have since changed our minds about carrying) for fall 2014/winter 2015.
We skied day and night prior to the show. Here, TMS-Owner Pam (left) starts the day with top-to-bottom skiing at Snowbird; The North Face athlete and photographer Kris Erickson (right) descends Snowbird with a flare in-hand during an apres-apres night-ski.
TMS employee Adam was rejected at the gates of Alta Ski Area. “Excuse me, sir? You can’t snowboard at Alta.”
And now, on to the gear. This is just a teaser…there is SO MUCH MORE coming in and only so much we can tell you now.
Volkl released their V-Werks Katana skis last year, a super lightweight all-mountain model ideal for both on and off-piste skiing. The V-Werks Katana uses vertical sidewalls and carbon fiber to reduce the weight of their original Katana by 15%. The upgraded version slays powder and holds an amazing edge on hardpack and rides stable at high speeds. The ski was so popular last year that Volkl is bringing it back with color options, in addition to improving their BMT skis, now 15% lighter and included in their line of V-Werks backcountry focused skis for 14-15.
The new Dynafit Denali skis, along with the 2.0 versions of the Radical FT 12 and Radical ST 10 bindings. Like the name entails, the Dynafit Denali was designed for Denali. It was tested by mountain guides on the Kahiltna Glacier in May of 2012. “The combination of weight, construction and materials makes this ski the perfect companion for long ascents and descents,” says Dynafit. “The dimensions and light weight are balanced optimally for performance on both the ascent and descent.” This ski is stiff and skis smoothly, carving very well in advanced terrain and performing excellently on steep, icy slopes.
As for the bindings, we all know the Radical reputation. Ski mountaineers and freeriders love and trust the light weight and top-tier performance of Dynafit Radical bindings.
Venture Snowboards gave their line of solid boards and splitboards a makeover.
Red = Red Mountain (SW CO)
Green = Pine Trees
Yellow = Aspen Leaves
Blue = Bluebird Days
We’re stoked on Venture splitboards and looking forward to carrying them next year! Venture covers all the bases with a full line of splitboards for everything from mellow pow and pillow lines to steep and slick no-fall-zones.
The new lineup from Voile splitboards is looking good with a fresh paint of coat instead of last year’s wood-core look. Here’s their swallowtail (not sold at TMS), the Voile Artisan men’s and Artisan women’s boards, and the new Revelator and Revelator BC (with Scales). We’re stoked to see splitboarding gaining popularity so rapidly!
The Voile Lightrail Binding is now offered in women’s colors (top left). Voile Universal Hardware (top right) is still the most common splitboarding hardware seen in the field, even with the latest pin-less technologies from Spark R&D. Using Canted Pucks that are tilted slightly inward (bottom left) increases your board’s response-time and decreases muscle fatigue. Starting Fall 2014, Voile will include their own Voile tail straps with splitboard climbing skins. Now you don’t have to order separately through another brand and pay double shipping!
The Voile Revelator BC splitboard comes with scales so you can skin up and ride down without splitboard climbing skins. It’s an interesting concept, and a pretty niche design, but would be ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time touring. The scales are well-suited for long approaches, traverses and rolling hills when repeatedly adding and removing skins can become a hassle. I wouldn’t recommend them on slopes greater than 30-degrees, but they’re great on mellow terrain.
Black Diamond is releasing a battery-powered avalanche airbag backpack and the hype is building quickly. The Black Diamond Jetforce Pack holds a charge for up to two weeks and is ideal for hut trips and other multi-day tours when you may be required to deploy the airbags more than once. Caught in a small sluff slide but unsure if it will become dangerous? No worries! Go ahead and pull the trigger…you’ve got many more on reserve.The BD Jetforce airbags inflate within three seconds and maintain their volume (200 liters) for three minutes. The second two-thirds of this time is spent automatically refilling the pack in case of an accidental puncture. The weight of the system rides close to the back, and isn’t actually that heavy (28 L pack w/ system = 7.5 lbs). Stay tuned…we’ll have more beta about this Black Diamond avalanche airbag pack in the near future. Models to watch for include the Pilot 11 Jetforce, Saga 40 Jetforce and Halo 28 Jetforce packs.
Arva Snow Safety Equipment makes packs that fit women better and boast serious fashion-sense (see right), backcountry shovels that dig more efficiently and weigh less, lightweight avalanche probes that are most compact and durable, and they offer all the features you’d expect from a top-notch safety equipment brand. Did you know the word “Arva” is synonymous with “beacon” in Europe?
The Arva Freerider 25 pack gets a face-lift for 2014-2015 with a separate storage bag for snow safety gear. Now you can keep your avy gear organized and easily accessible through the bottom of your backpack. Here’s an unedited video preview from the showroom floor:
ABS backpacks also got a sweet makeover for 2014/2015. As a leader in avalanche airbag packs, the ABS Avalanche Airbag System has the most experience and the highest survival rate (97%) of any airbag company on the market. The ABS Base Unit goes unchanged, since they’re so dialed already, besides a narrower profile (depth-wise) that keeps the weight closer to your body for easier skiing.
Watch for a neoprene stretch fabric in 18 and 24-liter ABS Zip-On packs that provides more space for longer shovel handles. ABS also incorporated their 40-liter and 55-liter bags into the ABS 45+5 airbag backpack (right), perfect for longer tours, mountain guides and connecting routes from hut-to-hut.
The new Mammut Eiger collection, looking sleek and polished. Mammut clothing is designed for extreme use in harsh conditions and demanding terrain, and their Eiger line is for the top of the top. Next season’s outerwear is looking even better than last year…and we thought they’d already had their styles pretty fine-tuned!
Not only is Mammut men’s and women’s clothing functional and fashionable, but check out that sly little headlamp on the mannequin in the middle. Mammut headlamps are super lightweight and provide superior lighting for mountaineers. Still, they’re sleek and affordable so everybody has a need for one, not just those who play in the high-alpine rock gardens.
Smith Optics has a full collection of new colors and styles in both their ski and snowboard helmets and ski and snowboard goggles. This yellow-on-yellow combo is just one sweet headwear outfit. The sneaky Amstel Light simply crept into the shot last-minute. We’re not exactly sure how that got there.
Smith is also unveiling the next generation of interchangeable lens goggles, the Smith I/O 7. If you thought it was easy to swap the lenses on the original I/O, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This video walks you through the process of changing Smith I/O 7 lenses:
Helly Hansen has expanded their clothing line by 25% for 2014/2015! Their Lifa collection features 100% polypropylene fabric that breathes incredibly well on the inside, and it’s coming in two versions: Lifa Flow has a merino wool/polypro blend, and Lifa Active has a polyester/polypro blend. Their new C.I.S. piece is a 3-in-1 jacket with a with a removable inner-liner, and is compatible with all Helly Hansen C.I.S. pieces. HH is also dropping the Mission Stoke Jacket for next year, featuring H2 Flow along the back (circular spaces trap heat better and ventilate faster) and a new stretchy fabric in front that is ideal for freeriders. And an update to an already popular jacket, the Odin Insulator Shirt is now a reversible ski jacket and has a zipper rather than last year’s button-up front.
Here’s a short video preview of the Helly Hansen Supreme Jacket, a top-ranked piece for 2014/2015 with PrimaLoft Gold insulation: a blend of down and synthetic, giving you get the best of both worlds. Also, a four-way stretch liner and exterior go hand-in-hand when you need maximum mobility. Four-way stretch in solely the inner or outer doesn’t help much, but having it in both layers makes a world of a difference. Please excuse the poor color contrast in the video…our hand-held recorder was acting up.
There are several new styles of CamelBak water bottles dropping this fall, including a new coffee mug called the CamelBak Forge, which is is supposedly excellent for adventurers of all sorts. The CamelBak Podium Chillinsulated sports bottle (best for warmer months) gets a makeover for next year with a larger mouth piece to increase flow, and the CamelBak Eddy .75 (3/4-liter) is still expected to be their best-seller for the gym/office/car crowd. Live in the city but want fresh water to mimic your weekend getaways in the mountains? The CamelBak Groove Bottle with a built-in two-way filter works better than Brita filters to remove the funky chlorine/metal taste. All CamelBak reservoirs are dishwasher-safe and their glass and plastic bottles come standard with a lifetime warranty.
CamelBak kid’s packs like the Kicker, the CamelBak Skier (like a mini-Mule, a top-seller), the Scout pack (hiking pack with 50-oz reservoir) and the CamelBak Trail Blazer (15-liter backpack) haven’t changed much except for color options. Neither have CamelBak winter packs for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and winter hiking. The CamelBak Gamblr is ideal for sidecountry skiing since it’s sleek and slim enough to fit under a jacket yet also holds three liters of water so you don’t have to keep stopping to fill up at the lodge.
The CamelBak Scorpion has external helmet loops, space for storage and a 2-liter reservoir. CamelBak Zoid hydration packs are minimalist with only two pockets, but at $65 they’re the #1 seller in their class. The CamelBak Snowblast isn’t changing anything but color since it’s already so well designed, but now will come in Black, Dark Olive and Brindle. The CamelBak Bootleggerinsulated hydration pack is sleek and stylish, meant to hold 1.5 liters of water with a low-profile perfect for donning under a jacket and riding chair lifts.
Tahoe Mountain Sports, in partnership with Diamond Peak Ski Resort and Dynafit, are proud to announce the 2014 Backcountry Experience. This guided backcountry tour will explore terrain in Diamond Peak’s Golden Eagle Bowl. Open to intermediate and advanced skiers and riders, the Backcountry Experience Series is designed to provide a safe and welcoming introduction to backcountry skiing and boarding.
Never used backcountry equipment before? This is your opportunity to try out Dynafit touring gear before purchasing. Want to learn about avalanche hazards and techniques for avoiding them? Interested in learning the most efficient uphill skinning methods? Or, perhaps you simply want to meet new people and enjoy unskied terrain in a fun, controlled environment. A Backcountry Experience tour in Diamond Peak’s secluded Eagle Bowl is a great way to earn your turns and experience Diamond Peak in a whole new way.
Feb 22, 2014 Tour: 9am-1pm – $90
*$90 tour package includes a partial-day lift ticket, full Dynafit backcountry ski equipment rental and professional guiding services.
Any changes made due to winter weather will be announced within 24 hours of tour departure.
Your guide, Brennan Lagasse, has been skiing since he was two and has spent many years traveling and guiding ski expeditions world-wide. Brennan has training in Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel, along with Wilderness First Responder and AIARE Level I & II certifications.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort is located in Incline Village, Nevada on the scenic north shore of Lake Tahoe with amazing views of world famous Lake Tahoe. Diamond Peak offers skiers and boarders 30 runs and a 1,840-foot vertical drop with beginner to advanced terrain. Connect with Diamond Peak on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, visit www.diamondpeak.com or call (775) 832-1177.
For the remainder of the 2013/14 winter season, you can rent snowshoes in Kings Beach for FREE on Wednesdays!
Tahoe Mountain Sports has the best snowshoes for trail hiking and backcountry travel in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Tahoe in the winter or you’re a seasoned Tahoe local, you should try renting snowshoes. Nothing compares to the tranquility felt when surrounded by a magical winter wonderland. Snow absorbs sound, so the woods are wonderfully quiet and peaceful on a nice winter day. When it’s snowing, wander into the trees for shelter from the storm. To spend time enjoying the huge winter playground that is our Tahoe backyard is an experience that will live inside you forever. I highly recommend getting out in the snow and wandering around a bit. It’s good for you! As Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost.”
Free snowshoe rentals come with ski/trek poles to simplify walking through snow. However, we also rent backcountry ski equipment, so please try to understand if we have overlapping business and there are not enough poles for every hiker in your party. Poles can help, but are not mandatory.
MSR snowshoes at the TMS tent during National Winter Trails Day, Mt. Rose Meadows, Nevada
Between February 1 and 14, you can win brand new winter gear by simply entering your e-mail address!
Just visit this link - http://woobox.com/ear9sj - and enter your e-mail address to win a pair of Smith I/O Goggles ($175) or a Smith Vantage Helmet ($220)! I/O Goggles have a Black frame with Green Sol-X Mirror Lens and a Free Bonus Red Sensor Mirror Lens; Vantage Helmet size = Medium, color = Matte Gunmetal.
Two random winners will be be selected at random! Winners will be contacted via email on February 15. One winner will receive a brand new Vantage helmet, our favorite Smith snow helmet, and the other winner will get a pair of I/O Goggles, the industry standard for snow goggles with interchangeable lenses.
Don’t need new gear yourself? Give the gift of safety, comfort and top-performance! Either of these items would make a great birthday present, or just a sweet gesture for someone you care for.
Don’t worry…we won’t overload your inbox. We’ll only contact you if you WIN, or to send you cool updates about the outdoor industry and let you know when we’re having huge sales on outdoor gear and clothing.
Sweepstakes runs February 1 – 14, 2014. Only one entry per user. Must be 18 years or older. Winner pays shipping outside continental U.S.
Part 3 – Feb. 6 – Read, Interpret, Decide – Analyzing Avalanche Reports with the Sierra Avalanche Center
As the third and final installment of our three-part 2014 TMS Avalanche Education Series, representatives from Sierra Avalanche Center, a Lake Tahoe Region non-profit dedicated to providing a free daily avalanche advisory for the central Sierra Nevada, will lead an extremely useful presentation about how to properly read and interpret the avalanche report.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss technical and situational issues that arise in the field to create a good platform for safe decision making in the backcountry. There will be a HUGE raffle at this event and everybody is sure to walk away with something. All raffle proceeds and a portion of sales from this evening will benefit Sierra Avalanche Center.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Come get some free tips to help properly read and interpret the avalanche and snow conditions reports in order to make better decisions and keep safe in the backcountry!
This event will take place between two different locations: Tahoe Mountain Sports (8331 North Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143) and across the street at the North Tahoe Event Center (8318 N. Lake Blvd)
In case you can’t make the full event or just want to stop by for part of it, here’s the event schedule:
5:00 – 6:00 – Reception with S.A.C. and Backcountry Gear Specials at Tahoe Mountain Sports 6:00-7:15 – Formal Presentation with Sierra Avalanche Center at North Tahoe Event Center (NTEC) 7:15 – 8:00 MEGA Raffle to benefit Sierra Avalanche Center (at NTEC)
Many backcountry enthusiasts came to Tahoe Mountain Sports on November 20 to learn the basics of beacon use and brush up on their avalanche expertise and transceiver techniques. Experienced mountain guide and Level 3 AIARE instructor Tom Carter, and Ortovox Rep Jared Rodriguez, were present to lead a discussion about the basics of companion rescue gear and techniques. Tom also led a hands-on lesson on how to properly and efficiently use your avalanche transceiver. Participants brought their own avalanche gear to practice with, and others demo’d some of the newest Ortovox models.
Part 2 – Dec. 20 – Avalanche Airbag Party Sponsored by ABS featuring Pro Skier Elyse Saugstad
As the second of our three-part 2014 TMS Avalanche Education Series, we filled a large room at the North Tahoe Event Center with a bunch of Tahoe backcountry enthusiasts for a free, community-oriented, fun night. Elyse Saugstad, a professional skier and airbag backpack advocate who was saved by her pack in a large avalanche near Stevens Pass, WA (Tunnel Creek, 2012), and ABS backpacks Rep John Clausen were on-site to lead a technical discussion about avalanche airbag backpacks, how they work, survival rates and statistics, personal accounts and learning experiences from the field.
Lake Tahoe is usually a snowy paradise featuring spectacular resorts filled with fun adventures for the entire family. With between 300 to 500 inches of snow in many years, this family-friendly ski destination is always ready to be enjoyed all season long. As California’s premier ski destination, there is no shortage of stunning scenery and world class resorts ready to welcome your family and their love for snow sports. However, it is important to remember that while most resorts welcome kids and offer skiing for children, there are some that are able to cater to specific needs better than others. To help ensure that your family enjoys a memorable vacation in the mountains, we’re highlighting some of Tahoe’s favorite family ski resorts.
Resorts for Families with Younger Children
If you can’t wait to get your little one on skis for the very first time, a number of the Tahoe ski resorts offer schools for the tiniest of tots. Squaw Valley Resort features a program that can teach kids as young as three. Each child learns on the flats and is in a class that has 3 students for every teacher. As learning can be tiring, it is recommend to only enroll your child for a half-day and then place them into daycare for the rest of the day while you enjoy personal time on the slopes. When it comes to daycare, it’s hard to beat Minor’s Camp at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Not all resorts offer on-site child care in Tahoe and Northstar’s Minor’s Camp accepts children between the ages of 2 and 6. The facility is licensed by the state and boasts a ratio of 1 adult to every 5 children. There are plenty of activities for the children and the best part is that parents can get a free adult lift ticket when they book their child for an entire day. In addition to Northstar, the Child Ski Center at Diamond Peak Ski Resort teaches kids between 3 and 7, also at a ratio of 5 kids to each instructor, and their separate learning area with a surface lift is a great place to learn.They’ll also have access to activities only available in the Child Ski Center, like tubing, sledding, crafts and fun games. If your children are younger than 2, the only childcare available is at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, which will accept children 2 months and older.
Resorts for Learning to Ski
When it comes to teaching kids how to ski, parents have two choices: to enroll in ski school or teach their own kids. If you want a school that is cost-effective and offers good value, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort is a great place to go. Located on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, this smaller resort has a great program for kids learning to ski. The full and half-day programs at Alpine are designed for children as young as three years old. The cost is highly affordable relative to other resorts in the area with lunch and kid’s ski equipment rentals included and the resort itself is less crowded, creating a comfortable environment for families. Each child is also tracked with a Falk GPS tracking device to ensure that they never go missing.
If you would rather teach your own kids to ski, Soda Springs Resort is not a bad place to start. Designed with children in mind, this resort features an area known as “Planet Kids” for children 8 and under that enables parents to coach their kids as they learn to ski or snowboard. The area features a number of small bunny slopes and the best part is that it comes with a magic carpet that will slowly and safely take your kids back to the top of the hill. It’s incredibly affordable and if your child gets bored of skiing, there are snow tubes and the popular tube carousel to enjoy.
Resorts for All-Inclusive Family Adventures
Although it’s likely the most expensive ski resort in Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley Resort is a favorite among families for the stay-and-ski experience offered. The best part for most families is that it’s a one-stop-shop filled with upscale stores, restaurants, luxury hotel rooms and plenty of snowy adventures. Once you arrive at the resort, you never have to leave…except to visit Tahoe Mountain Sports and get an up-close view of the lake, of course! The entire experience in all aspects of resort life is consistent with what you would expect at a luxury hotel. Families have a number of activities to enjoy including ski school, ice-skating, hot tubs, and a heated pool. There is also the ever-popular tram (cable car) ride that boasts incredible views of Squaw Valley and even a climbing wall.
Resorts with Fun for the Whole Family
If you’re looking for a resort that can offer a great time for all members of the family, Heavenly Ski Resort is a good choice for your family. You won’t need any divine intervention to enjoy this resort that boasts the highest elevation and most vertical feet of any ski resorts on the West Coast. For the younger children, skiing and snowboarding lessons are available while others can check out the wide array of other snowy activities including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, and snow-biking. The Gondola is a highlight for almost everyone featuring amazing views of Lake Tahoe from a fully enclosed lift. In addition, there are plenty of intermediate runs for families to enjoy skiing and snowboarding together as well as the only day care that can accommodate children as young as 2 months old. The daycare also features ski-play programs for children that need to be gradually eased onto the slopes. Although there is no accommodation on-site, there are plenty of dining choices scattered along the mountainside including healthy options, gourmet cuisine, and tasty burgers. The staff bring the resort to life while the competitive prices make it affordable for many families, leaving plenty of opportunities for wintry adventures in 2014.
Tahoe is just filled with family-friendly ski resorts that offer something for your entire group of loved ones. For those that want added adventures in the snow beyond traditional snowboarding or skiing, there are always plenty of places to check out, including snowmobiling at Kirkwood Mountain Resort as well as tubing and sledding at Boreal Mountain Resort. It’s just a few of the many reasons to come on a ski vacation in Tahoe this year!