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Ski Lake Tahoe

"Northern California boasts some of the most beautiful country in the world, and, with weather, and warm, yet snowy winters, you can find fabulous places to ski. Lake Tahoe, a stunning, clear, deep body of water, is a winter wonderland for both downhill and cross-country skiers."

 

Ski Lake Tahoe

by Shari Bookstaff

So, you want to Ski Lake Tahoe!

Ski Lake Tahoe: Northern California boasts some of the most beautiful country in the world, and, with weather, and warm, yet snowy winters, you can find fabulous places to ski. Lake Tahoe, a stunning, clear, deep body of water, is a winter wonderland for both downhill and cross-country skiers. The two main ski resort areas around the lake include the region around Tahoe City to the north and South Lake Tahoe to the south. If you like to ski, Lake Tahoe provides a great week-long vacation or weekend retreat. Lake Tahoe is only about a 41/2 hour drive from San Francisco, making this a favorite weekend destination in Northern California.

Sierra Snow: The Sierra-Nevada Mountains run down much of the length of California, and are home to mule deer, mountain lions, giant sequoias, yellow-bellied marmots, and Olympic-caliber skiers. The great, moist Sierra snow provides a terrific base for skiing, and most of the major resorts have snowmaking systems to compensate. You can therefore ski Lake Tahoe anytime from mid-November through April, although each resort has different schedules and will take advantage of that early- or late-season snowstorm. If shushing down the slopes is not your style, and you prefer to ski Lake Tahoe cross-country, many miles of groomed track in the wilderness will treat you to spectacular Sierra sights.

About the Lake: Lake Tahoe is a remarkable lake. It is the largest alpine (high altitude) lake in North America, measuring 22 miles wide and 12 miles long. It is the third deepest lake in North America and the 10 th deepest lake in the world, with an average depth of 998 feet! It contains 39.75 trillion gallons of water, and in spite of its location, Lake Tahoe doesn’t freeze in the winter! So, travel to this magnificent area to ski Lake Tahoe, but don’t miss your opportunity to get an up-close look at this unique natural feature.

Ski Resorts: Deciding which of the many ski resortsaround Lake Tahoeto call home for a week is adaunting task, with so many famous names to choose from. One thing to keep in mind is the weather and California’s famous “microclimates”. While 2-4 foot dumps of snow occur often in some locations, snowfall is not uniform around the region. Donner Summit, in the North Shore, is hailed as one of the snowiest places in America, with an average snowfall of over 500 inches per year. Ski resorts closest to the lake, such as Heavenly Ski Resort, may need to rely on artificial snow for part of the ski season. A winter storm raging at Donner Summit while the sun is shining on skiers at Heavenly is not an uncommon occurrence. Be sure to get up-to-date weather reports before heading out to ski Lake Tahoe.

Fun for the whole family: Most of the major ski resorts offer daycare, or ski lessons for children so that every member of the family can ski Lake Tahoe. One hallmark event not to be missed is Winterfest, the largest annual winter carnival in the western states. Don’t want to ski Lake Tahoe? Head to Squaw Valley in March for parades, ice cream, fireworks, ice carving, and the Polar Bear Swim (yes, you can swim in the 39°F lake!) So, pack up the family for a fun time in the winter sun!

 

Shari Bookstaff is a biology professor in northern California, where she lives with her two children. Shari is an avid nature lover, sports fan and photographer.

 

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