tahoe

We decided to ski in Tahoe because it had a nostalgia factor for me, in that when I was incredibly little my parents used to go to South Lake Tahoe to gamble and ski.  I am glad we picked it because it is just so incredibly beautiful everywhere you look.  The drive coming in took us so much longer because we were constantly getting out of the car and taking pictures/admiring the view. Even if you don't ski, there are so many nature hikes and trails to explore. And even if you don't want to hike, the view of Lake Tahoe is so amazing that it's worth the drive there anyways.

This entire cross country trip was planned around skiing in Tahoe and we spent a full week here.  We skied a total of 5 days and unfortunately on the last day (which happened to be Christmas day), on the very last run we went on, I took a pretty hard fall and ended up tearing my MCL.  I was skiing down a part of the mountain that I knew had a bad patch of ice and I failed to go far enough around it.  The tip of my ski got caught in the ice and when I fell it twisted my knee the wrong way.  I immediately heard the pop and knew I had really messed up.  I am from Florida so I don't ski too often, and Tahoe was my second time skiing in my whole life.  Matt is an amazing skier so I had been trying to keep up with him and pushed myself a little too hard.  I knew that something like this happening was a definite possibility though and tried not to be too upset about it.  We had planned our last day in Tahoe to go on this really beautiful hike to a waterfall but we ended up sitting in the hotel room all day watching bad TV while I iced my knee and tried to get the swelling to go down.  The next stop on our trip was San Fran where we had been planning to do a fair bit of walking so the down time was actually much needed. 

Lodging: There are tons of nice resorts to stay in and if I went back I would probably stay away from the main areas.  Those tend to be more expensive and unless you are doing the Tahoe party/gambling scene then it's not worth it to spend the extra money.  All the ski resorts have parking for people just using the slopes and since we would wake up early and ski all day, we were way too exhausted to go out and drink a ton and would usually only muster enough energy to get dinner and pass out. We stayed in Park Tahoe Inn, which we found to be very friendly and extremely clean. Its also right across the street from Heavenly (a very nice ski resort with some great runs) and a bunch of restaurants and bars. 

Ski Passes:  Of course skiing is not cheap.  Each of the resorts sell their own lift tickets but they are usually close to $100 a day. We found out about the Ski Tahoe pass which was MUCH more affordable and without these passes we probably wouldn't have gone skiing at all due to the cost. Here is a link with all the questions you could possibly have about the pass, but basically you get 6 days of skiing with limited black out days.  We loved this pass because you also get to try so many different resorts with it but if you really like 1 resort you have the ability to go back to it and ski multiple times.  

Food: We went to the grocery store and made bagels and cream cheese for breakfast in our hotel room to keep our costs a little lower.  We would also usually share food while on the mountain since its so expensive and eating too much hinders the ability to ski properly.  We did treat ourselves for a nice dinner though.  If you are in Tahoe you HAVE to go to Cafe Fiore - it is this tiny Italian restaurant (literally only fits about 30 guests) that has the most amazing food and service.  It is incredibly small so you have to call ahead for reservations.  We went there for Noche Buena (Cuban Christmas eve holiday) and loved it so much that we went back on the 26th for dinner again.  I also highly suggest Yama Noodles.  It was cheap and hot and perfect after a day spent skiing in the cold. 

Sights: Of course Skiing and Gambling are the two main attractions in Tahoe but there are tons of outdoor activities to do.  My favorites: Emerald Bay and Fannette Island are beautiful to hike around.  The best sunset spot (in my opinion) is Vikingsholm or right near there as well.  Dollar Point is beautiful also. 

Other Road Trip Posts: Our Route // Arkansas // Dallas // Santa Fe // Turquoise Trail // Grand Canyon // Vegas // Death Valley // San Fran // Costanoa Lodge // Big Sur // Playoff game in Pasadena.