Almanac: South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Town With a Mission

Population 32,000 (greater area)

Elevation 6,229 feet

Median Price Of A Single-Family Home $195,000 on the California side; $480,000 on the Nevada side.

Tax on Above Homes $2,100 in California; $2,400 in Nevada; reflecting that Nevada's is about half that of California's.

Main Business Tourism

Public School Population 9,000 (K-junior college, greater South Shore)

Annual Snowfall 225 inches at lake level

Local Ski Areas Heavenly: 3,500 vertical feet; 4,800 skiable acres; 360 annual inches; lift ticket, $57; season pass, $1,299. Sierra-at-Tahoe: 2,212 vertical feet; 2,000 skiable acres; 480 annual inches; lift ticket, $48; season pass, $429; Kirkwood: 2,000 vertical feet; 2,300 skiable acres; 500 annual inches; lift ticket, $49; season pass, $699.

Best Event New Year's is big with the younger set at Stateline.

Locals' Favorite Restaurants The Cantina (Southwestern and Mexican); Mott Canyon Tavern & Grill (after-hours, sandwiches and salads); The Naked Fish (a sushi-lover's delight); Rude Brothers Deli (popular for bagels and smoothies); the new Rockwater Tavern on Highway 89; Ernie's Coffee Shop (Fifties retro look, omelets, a favorite breakfast joint).

Locals' Favorite Hangouts McP's Irish Pub and Grill (cheap grog, live music); Greenstone Bar & Grill (regional bands, disco); The Brewery at Lake Tahoe (local brew); Alpen Sierra Coffee Company (fast lattes and equally fast gossip).

Best Places To Stay The elegant Black Bear Inn (877-232-7466) is close to Heavenly's California portal. The Castle at Summer Place (888-891-8338) is a small, secluded, mountaintop inn.

Best-Kept Secret Cross-country skiing at Spooner Lake Cross-Country Ski Area (775-749-5349).

Information Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, 800-288-2463 or; South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, 530-541-5255; Tahoe Douglas Stateline Chamber of Commerce, 775-588-4591.