South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev…The season’s first significant snowfall covered the Sierra this morning with 8-10 inches of powder at Tahoe South (http://www.tahoesouth.com/) resorts, and 3-5 inches at lake level.
Anticipation for additional snowfall along with summer investments pays winter dividends at Tahoe South this season. Millions of capital expenditures at the three area ski resorts this year will complement revitalization efforts throughout town to create new options on where to stay, play and dine during the 2013-14 season.
“We’re locked in, ready to bring on those powder-filled days and action-packed Tahoe nights,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Tahoe South has spun a summer of expansions, improvements and upgrades into a ski and board-filled winter wonderland of boundless options for an epic vacation.”
Predictions are on track with Native American observations, Farmer’s Almanac prognosticators, hoarding behavior among Tahoe’s furry animals, subsequent barrages of falling pine cones, and post-July 4 snow melt in the Mt. Tallac cross all point to signs of a big winter.
What’s Fresh on the Slopes
Mother Nature combined with the West Coast’s largest snowmaking system will open Heavenly Mountain Resort (www.skiheavenly.com) on Friday, Nov. 22. Tahoe’s ultimate après ski party, Unbuckle at Tamarack Lodge, helps usher in the snow spirit with half-priced drinks, dancing and special guest DJs daily from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Unbuckle has expanded to feature the Heavenly Angels exclusively on Thursdays through Sundays and is taking the party out onto the patio at Tamarack Lodge.
At the top of the gondola, the existing zip line has been retrofitted and scheduled to open in December. The resort is expanding its Adventure Peak offerings to include a four-lane zip line center, treetop canopy tour, and two ropes courses and an additional 3,000 foot-ling zip line as part of Heavenly’s new Epic Discovery program, which is slated to open 2014.
The party continues past opening day with Winter Ignite, featuring Unbuckle après parties, the Heavenly Angels and a special performance by DJ Porter Robinson at MontBleu on November 30.
Ranked by Transworld Snowboarding magazine as one of North America’s best mountains for 2013-14, Sierra-at-Tahoe (www.sierraattahoe.com) invested $5 million into a state-of-the-art entertainment plaza. The base of the mountain has been transformed into a gathering place that includes a 9,000-square-foot fabric sprung structure with indoor and outdoor seating, fire pit gathering areas, large deck, and a venue for live music, events, and retail options.
Report cards aren’t just for academics. This winter Kirkwood Mountain Resort’s Ski and Ride School along with Heavenly will be a part of the EpicMix Academy. www.kirkwood.com. Students can earn digital pins for mastering skills using the PSIA/AASI levels 1-9, and parents can track their children’s progress online at http://www.epicmix.com/. Adults can participate as well.
Tahoe South’s additional winter thrills include snowmobiling, dog sled rides, snowshoeing and cross country skiing at Historic Camp Richardson Resort, scenic boat cruises aboard the Tahoe Queen or MS Dixie II and tours with Reno Tahoe Helicopters and Borges Sleigh Rides.
New Places to Stay, Dine
At the water’s edge, a multi-million dollar renovation is transforming The Royal Valhalla Lodge into a high-end boutique hotel. With a Dec. 12 scheduled opening The Landing Resort & Spa www.thelandingresortandspa.com features 88 luxurious rooms, a restaurant with continental and Greek seafood, outdoor fire pits, full spa, fitness center, and rooftop wedding site overlooking Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, (www.tahoeresorthotel.com) formerly Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe, assumed independent status on April 1, 2013 and along with the name change the hotel’s owners invested more than $5 million in property and guest suite improvements. The resort’s location with its “four doors” opening toward all of Tahoe’s outdoor amenities – beach, ski resorts, forest, and entertainment offers package options. Guests can build their own ski package right into their reservation. The hotel’s atrium is also transforming with a large dual-sided fireplace for a gathering and game area.
Directly across the street, construction continues on The Chateau. This development will add to the already popular Heavenly Village for expanded shopping and dining options near the California/Nevada border. The first phase is set to open in early summer 2014. Once complete, the 27,868-square-foot project will house a two-level nightclub as well as mixed use, single-level commercial space for retail shops and restaurants along U.S. 50 frontage. After the first two phases are finished, a third is planned to include a 15,000 to 20,000-square-foot hospitality component for meetings and gatherings.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe recently opened Sushi Kai, a sushi bar within the Gi Fu Loh Cantonese restaurant. Sushi Kai offers an array of nigiri, sashimi, and popular rolls including the Gi Fu Loh: crab, shrimp, crispy scallops, asparagus and wasabi mayo. Sushi Kai also provides specialty cocktails such as the Green Dragon: Absolute Vanilla vodka, Midori Melon Liqueur, pineapple juice and Sierra Mist; along with Japanese wine, sake, and beer.
The Gunbarrel Tavern & Eatery located in the Heavenly Village opened this summer and provides American cuisine, seasonal menus, and a welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant puts a unique twist on favorite post-skiing food including the Tuna Tower, ahi poke-style appetizer paired with fresh avocado, scallions, onion and mango piled high on a tri-level tower of wonton chips. Other signature items include the crispy Berkshire pork belly salad, pulled duck sliders, brie grilled cheese and PBR beer can chicken. Gunbarrel Tavern is the second mountainside offering from Lake Tahoe local Alex Cox, owner of 22 Bistro and Bar in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Asian fusion, lunch or dinner is found at Tahoe South’s original noodle house, Yama Noodles, (http://yamanoodles.com/). Started by three longtime local snowboarders hungry for hot, fused and flavorful Asian noodle dishes, the restaurant offers dishes featuring Lumpia, Manapua Sliders, Ramen, Pho, Pancit, Bahn Mi and Boba.
After an extensive remodel, The Timbers at Lakeside Inn & Casino (http://www.lakesideinn.com/) provides a relaxing dining environment with open beam wooden ceilings coupled with contemporary décor open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Winner of the 2013 Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.com, The Timbers is located adjacent to the main casino floor. The menu offers traditional American fare with seafood creations, Certified Black Angus beef, daily specials, including hearty homemade soups.
Easy Access to Tahoe South from airport
Recently named one of the “Best Airports for Skiers” by SKI Magazine, Reno Tahoe International Airport has also added a number of new flights including Houston, Portland and other key gateway air cities. RTIA provides easy and convenient access to Tahoe South with the six-lane, 65-mile-per-hour I-580 freeway bypassing Pleasant Valley and Washoe Valley. The 8.5-mile divided freeway features new anti-icing technology. Daily shuttle service is available via South Tahoe Express.
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: http://www.twitter.com/TahoeSouth, YouTube: www.youtube.com/LTVA. For Tahoe South information: 1-800-288-2463 or www.tahoesouth.com.