Expert Tips for Planning Your First Lake Tahoe Ski or Snowboard Trip

There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind on your face as you slide through fresh powder and take in some of the most spectacular views in the world. Yes, skiing in Lake Tahoe is truly something special, which is why we get people from all over the world coming to check out our slopes and mountain trails. However, if you’re a first-timer or don’t have much skiing experience, it can feel a little scary or overwhelming. That’s ok! We’ve got your back. As Lake Tahoe locals and skiers and snowboarders ourselves, we’ve hit the slopes a time or two (hundred) and love some fresh powder as much as the next person. If you’re planning a ski vacation to Lake Tahoe, here are a few of our expert tips:

1. Take shuttles and public transportation to avoid traffic.

Traffic can be an issue, especially during peak travel times. If possible, we recommend using public transportation that’s available, especially if you aren’t used to driving in snow and mountainous terrain. It’s better for the environment (we’re all about sustainability here) and it’s oftentimes more convenient. The Reno/Tahoe International Airport is the closest airport to South Lake Tahoe, with the South Tahoe Airporter shuttle available year-round to take you to the hotels and resorts in Tahoe. Once you’re in Tahoe, winter ski shuttles are an easy way to get to the most popular ski and snowboarding destinations.

2. Plan other activities in case of bad weather.

Generally, January and February are the best snow months in South Lake Tahoe, but Mother Nature can always have different plans. Skiing and snowboarding are all weather-based and there’s not much you can do if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate. If you’re booking your trip in advance, have a Plan B (just in case) and look for ski resorts and hotels with on-site amenities and that are nearby other attractions, like restaurants and shopping. That way, you’ll have fun no matter what Mother Nature decides to throw at you! When the weather decides not to cooperate, our guests love relaxing in our heated indoor pool and whirlpool or indulging in some drinks or locally-sourced cuisine at our on-site restaurant, Echo.

3. Go during the week to avoid crowds.

Obviously, weekends and holidays are going to be busy. If you want things to be a little less crowded when you come out to ski Tahoe, your best bet is to hit the slopes during the week. As an added bonus, many hotels and ski resorts in the Tahoe area offer midweek specials, so you’ll save money!

4. Check for other local events.

There are always fun events happening in Lake Tahoe. Before booking a ski vacation, we always recommend checking into local events that are happening here. Not only will this help you make the most of your time off of the slopes, but special events can also impact pricing, parking, lodging, and travel overall. It’s best to be prepared. Tahoe South is a great resource for local events happening in the area, like the SnowGlobe Music Festival and the Heavenly Holidays Family Festival.

5. Get an early start.

Plan to hit the slopes early. You’ll get some incredible morning views and crowds and traffic are generally less active in the AM. Plus, an early start just means you’ll have more time on the slopes or extra time to enjoy other fun Tahoe activities later in the day — like ice-skating or shopping at Heavenly Village.

6. Consider ski and snowboard lessons.

Ski and snowboard lessons are a great option for those who are new to the sport or simply want to improve their skills. You’ll learn the ropes, make the most out of your time on the slopes, and avoid potential injuries that can come with inexperience. Plus, the expert local instructors and trainers are able to offer you some insider tips about the trails and Tahoe area.

7. Chat with the locals.

We’re generally a pretty friendly crowd around here and love helping fellow skiers make their time in Tahoe even more epic. If you’re looking for recommendations or have questions about the area, most locals are willing to share some recommendations. Consider messaging hotels, restaurants, and other attractions ahead of time with your questions or strike up a conversation with someone while you’re waiting in line. You never know what little tidbits they might be able to share! Be sure to stop by and chat with our knowledgeable staff here at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel as well!

8. Rent instead of buying.

There’s no doubt that good ski and snowboarding gear is expensive. It can easily cost $1,200+ per person. If you’re just giving skiing or snowboarding a try for the first time or you’re not a regular on the slopes, renting your outdoor gear may be the more economical option.

9. Dress in layers.

As noted above, the weather in Tahoe is unpredictable. Plus, when you’re physically active and spending time out in the sun, it can start to feel pretty hot, even in the middle of winter. With that in mind, we recommend dressing in layers. Consider breathable athletic fabrics and clothes that are easy to take on and off to keep you comfortable throughout the day.

10. Book in advance

It gets pretty busy around here. Booking early — whether it be lodging, ski passes, lift tickets, gear rental, or lessons — assures you’ll get the best time and cheapest rates.

So, what are you waiting for? We’ll see you on the slopes!

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