October 23, 2012 (South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.) – The first significant snowfall has arrived with 12-16 inches of powder at Tahoe South (http://tahoesouth.com/) resorts and 5-8 inches at lake level along with a healthy expectation of a bountiful ski and snowboard season.
The season officially begins Nov. 16 when Heavenly Mountain Resort opens, weather and conditions permitting. Kirkwood Mountain Resort will open Nov. 21 and Sierra-at-Tahoe follow as conditions allow. Traditionally, the resorts open around Thanksgiving weekend.
“An early, significant snowfall before November bodes well for us,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “The storm’s perfect timing gives us that early season vibe that tells the world Tahoe South is tuned up and ready to share plenty of snow by day, headliner shows by night and the magnificent Lake 24/7.
Here’s what’s new at Tahoe South resorts:
Heavenly Mountain Resort’s snowmaking operation – largest on the West Coast – has begun for the season and combined with Mother Nature the resort will deliver quality conditions come opening day. www.skiheavenly.com.
The celebration will be a daily one with Unbuckle at Tamarack, Tahoe’s ultimate après ski party, with DJs, half-off drink specials and go-go dancers at the Tamarack Lodge every day at 3:30 p.m. The Gunbarrel Grill becomes an on-mountain man cave, stocked with flat screen televisions and table service with special pricing on heady microbrews and two-hands-required gourmet burgers.
Building on Heavenly’s long-standing tradition of freestyle skiing and competition, the resort will host the U.S. Freestyle Championships, March 29-31, 2013. Heavenly’s Sho Kashima, a member of the U.S. Ski Team, will join the nation’s most accomplished freestyle skiers to showcase their talents in preparation for the 2014 Olympics.
The force is strong at Sierra-at-Tahoe for Younglings and Padawans this winter in the new Yoda’s Riglet Park. Here, North America’s only Burton Star Wars Experience uses the beloved intergalactic saga to help children ages 3-6 make their first snowboard turns. Jedis-in-training will learn through interactive drop-in nodes showcasing custom-made wood carvings of R2-D2, C-3P0 and Chewbacca. www.sierraattahoe.com
Sierra’s new Ski, Stay and Soar winter lodging package takes adventurers to new heights with two lift tickets, two 20-minute helicopter rides by Reno Tahoe Helicopters and a two-night stay in South Lake Tahoe starting at $265/person. Skiers and riders can shred one day then soar the next for aerial views of the terrain they covered at the resort. Or go gung-ho and do it all in one day for an unforgettable take on Tahoe’s high altitude attitude.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort celebrates its 40th Anniversary this season with several upgrades from its new parent company, Vail Resorts. Kirkwood guests are anticipating new bragging rights with the addition of EpicMix mobile app technology, to demonstrate to friends just how epic the resort is with cold hard stats via favorite social media channels. www.kirkwood.com
The mountain explodes with new hard core special events like the Swatch Freeride World Tour, which combines that event with the Freeskiing World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding to create one unified global championship series. The only US event in the six-stop world tour is Feb. 27-March 3, 2013.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Once the sun sets on Tahoe South, it’s the call of the wild at Lake Tahoe’s nightlife epicenter as award-winning entertainment cues up with Grammy-toting musicians, live music, lounge acts, 24-hour gaming and an active bar and social scene.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe entertainment includes Leon Russell, Oct. 27; The Average White Band, Nov. 27; Beatles vs. Stones, Nov. 23; Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dec. 1; Christmas with Aaron Neville, Dec. 15; Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Dec. 21; Asleep at the Wheel, Dec. 22 and Jonny Lang, Jan. 12. www.harrahslaketahoe.com.
MontBleu’s showroom entertainment/events line-up entails Freaker’s Ball, Oct. 27; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nov. 17; Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas; Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, Dec. 8 and Daniel Tosh, Dec. 15 www.montbleuresort.com.
Getting to Tahoe South
The drive to Tahoe South from the Reno International Airport has been shortened, thanks to the opening of the new I-580 freeway. The six-lane, 65-mile-per-hour freeway is safer, more convenient and faster, bypassing Pleasant Valley and Washoe City. The 8.5 mile divided freeway features new anti-icing technology on all nine bridges. When factoring in the convenience of Reno Tahoe International Airport, voted the top airport for skiers by SKI Magazine, getting to South Lake Tahoe from the east has never been easier. Not to mention that South Tahoe Express offers luxury coach shuttle service more than eight times per day, and driving from the Bar Area is only a three plus-hour drive or a two-hour drive from Sacramento, this winter destination is convenient from all points of the map.
A fleet of city and state snow removal vehicles around the Lake Tahoe Basin will be keeping the roads clear and safe for travel. Caltrans has current California road conditions at www.dot.ca.gov or 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) or 916-445-7623. For road conditions in Nevada, contact the Nevada Department of Transportation at www.nevadadot.com or 877-687-6237. Travelers can also get up-to-the-minute online road information and more on their smart phones at NV.mobi.
For the most up-to-date information on snowfall, mountain base depths and road conditions in South Lake Tahoe, check area ski resort web sites and cams or call snow phones: Heavenly Web Cams – 775-586-7000; Sierra-at-Tahoe Web Cams – 530-659-7475; Kirkwood Web Cams – 209-258-3000 and Heavenly Village Web Cams.
For real time updates on events, promotions, packages, conditions and events in Tahoe South, The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TahoeSouth, Twitter: www.twitter.com/SouthShoreTahoe, YouTube: www.youtube.com/LTVA. For Tahoe South information: 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463) or www.tahoesouth.com.