Content Produced in Partnership with Tahoe South
Most Coloradans don’t leave the state to ski, and why would you? We have 20+ resorts right here. But experiencing different mountains is the test of a true alpine lover. With direct flights from both Chicago and Denver, Tahoe South makes it easy to plan an epic ski weekend in Lake Tahoe.
There are three major reasons you should hit the pow beyond the Rocky Mountains this winter and a suggested Tahoe South itinerary.
There’s Free Skiing
If you have the Epic Pass, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts are already included. If you’re not a season-pass holder, you can still score a free ski day. Squaw Valley and Sierra-at-Tahoe both offer complimentary lift tickets the with proof of a same-day boarding pass to encourage you to hit the slopes right away. Having trouble choosing? Here’s a breakdown of the best ski resorts in Tahoe.
In Colorado mountain towns, skiing is the main attraction. But beyond a few bars in Aspen and Vail, going out is virtually non-existent and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything open past 10 p.m. Tahoe South is the exact opposite and can be a raucous party if you want it to be. As soon as you step foot in the Reno airport and are greeted by the glittering slot machines, you’ll quickly remember you’re in the same state as Vegas. The casinos rage all night long and Harvey’s and Harrah’s even have an underground tunnel connecting them if you’re ready for a change of scenery. A plethora of shows run nightly from live music to magic and even burlesque to ensure your evenings are just as exciting as the action-packed days.
A Two-Hour Flight Beats a 1.5-Hour Drive
It’s always a good feeling to getaway and with just a two-hour flight, Tahoe South feels like a vacation. It’s easy to do on a weekend without missing any work (unless you want to call in, hint-hint), and you’ll save your sanity. Trust me, no one likes pulling their hair out over the stress of I-70 traffic (which can take up to 8 hours on a particularly terrible day). If you hate driving as much as I do, you can even do Tahoe South completely car-free if you want.
Your Perfect Tahoe South Winter Itinerary
One of the newest hotels on the main drag, the Hard Rock Hotel Lake Tahoe is “the place to get the band back together.” If it looks familiar, yes you did just see it on the Bachelor. It’s a happening spot so if you’re looking for a rock and roll-style weekend, there’s no better place to base yourself. Fun memorabilia and quotes from musicians can be found just about everywhere you turn, and free in-room yoga is available to help you nurse the hangover.
Brunch: Driftwood Cafe
The go-to breakfast spot in Heavenly Village, Driftwood Cafe doesn’t take reservations so prepare to wait especially on weekends. With a home-style vibe, the food offers a fresh and interesting take on the classics like eggs benedict with a cheesy herb hollandaise and mashed potatoes pancakes.
Do: Ski Heavenly
Heavenly Village is the centerpiece of Tahoe South and walkable from almost every hotel. California’s biggest ski resort straddles the state line and has epic views of the lake just about anywhere you turn (especially from Ridge Run). Try not to wipe out staring off into the blue abyss. With 97 trails, there’s an insane amount of terrain to cover whether you’re a novice skier or well-versed at shredding the pow.
Snack: The Oyster Bar
Oysters are a huge treat for those of us from landlocked states, and a classier way to apres (or late night snack, they’re open until 2 a.m.). Located inside the Hard Rock, the Oyster Bar makes New Orleans favorites like gumbo, seafood boils, and jambalaya right in front of you and you’ll be hard-pressed to not let the creole spices tempt and tantalize.
Apres: Riva Grill
Riva has been around for 20 years and is famous for their rambunctious Fish Taco Friday’s complete with themed costumes, live music, raffles, and trivia. A gorgeous place to apres right in the water, the fish tacos are prepared three-ways, but you can also order anything off the seafood-centric menu like the ridiculous crab cakes. For beverages, there’s a whole menu dedicated to their signature drink, the Wet Woody, an umbrella rum concoction prepared a variety of different ways (spoiler: they are strong so pace yourself).
Eat: Azul Latin Kitchen
Also in Heavenly Village, Azul is a rowdy spot known for its tequila flights and flavorful California-style Latin cuisine. The Super Papas are essentially the potato skin version of nachos and the bomb.com. They stock 100 different tequilas ranging from $6-200 a shot so if you’re looking to toss one back like a baller, this is the spot to show off. With just one freezer in the back, their kitchen setup is a testament to just how fresh everything is.
Treat Yo Self: The Baked Bear
Is it just me or does ice cream taste better in the winter? A ridiculous build your own ice cream sandwich bar that was made for the ‘gram, at Baked Bear, you choose your filling flavor, toppings, and vessel (donuts, cookies, or brownies) to make the ultimate sweet creation that’ll give you the sugar spike of the century.
If you don’t have a car, Sierra-at-Tahoe has a complimentary shuttle with door-to-door service from most hotels on the strip. You can grab a quick bite from one of the cafes in town (like Heaven’s Little Café) before heading out for the hour-long ride. The resort is small with just 2,000 skiable acres but great for groomer blues with 50% intermediate trails.
Gawk: Emerald Bay State Park
If you’re looking for the most Instagrammable spot in Tahoe with the best view of the lake, it’s undoubtedly at Emerald Bay. You can hike or snowshoe all-year-round or kayak or SUP to the secret island teahouse in the summer. There’s also a replica Viking castle you can hike to in the summer.
Sail: M.S. Dixie at Zephyr Cove
A three-hour dinner cruise on a vintage paddle wheel is the best way to take in the epic Lake Tahoe sunset. Live music and food are included, which is a full three-course meal with four entree choices that are way tastier than your standard cruise fare. Think steak, salmon, fried chicken, or pasta along with some greens and cheesecake for dessert. People really rock out to the classic tunes so expect to dust off your dancing shoes late into the evening.
See: a Show
If you want to close out the weekend with the bang, Electrify is a little naughty after-hours fun that includes nipple tassels, glow stick dances, and drag queens, Electrify will keep your toes tapping and your eyes glued to the stage. There are musical renditions of everything from Elvis to Mary Poppins. And girls, don’t worry, the men are scantily clad too. They’re equal opportunists at the Hard Rock.
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