South Lake Tahoe Gears Up for Another Epic Season

New Ski Lifts, Terrain, Interactive Technology and Headliner Entertainment
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New Ski Lifts, Terrain, Interactive Technology and Headliner Entertainment

Photo by Rod Hanna

South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev

– With its major casinos, South Lake Tahoe is considered a gambling town. But all prognostications for lots of snow make another big winter look like a sure bet. Last January, Mother Nature delivered record snowfall of 19 ft. to South Lake Tahoe, and for 2008-2009 Farmer’s Almanac predicts above average snowfall. Locals are preparing Pray for Snow Parties in mid-Nov. to coincide with such predictions. In fact, winter enthusiasts believe that if there was still snow on the cross of Mt. Tallac, one of Tahoe’s tallest peaks, on Fourth of July, it will be a good season. There was.

South Lake Tahoe is recognized as a premier winter vacation destination with the most snow in the U.S, average high temperatures 35-40 degrees and over 300 days of sunshine a year, which means plenty of sun in the winter. “One of the spellbinding aspects about our destination is winter storms hit hard and then the following days will be magnificent blue bird powder days with several feet of new snow,” said Carol Chaplin executive director of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “In addition, snow removal agencies do a great job of clearing the roads, or you can let the experts drive via public transportation and free shuttle services, which allows our destination to rarely be hindered by new snowfall.”

WHAT’S NEW ON THE SLOPES: Heavenly Mountain Resort

was recently named a “World Saver” by Condé Nast Traveler in the category of leadership in environmental protection and is ranked among’s top ten “no-car needed” resorts.

The developments continue in year two of Heavenly’s ten-year master plan. Following the debut of Olympic Express and the Heavenly Flyer ZipRider last season, Heavenly will unveil three new gladed trails on the resort's California side that will include "islands" on groomed runs, giving skiers and riders the sensation of tree skiing without venturing off piste. Heavenly has also re-graded Skyline Trail, providing more convenient access to Nevada terrain from the California side of the mountain.

Heavenly will double its indoor seating at East Peak Lodge; offer 100 percent Certified Organic Starbucks coffee and Fair-Trade espresso; eliminate all artificial trans fats in its dining establishments; expand and remodel California Lodge’s rental shop; add six new, low-emission grooming machines to the country's largest fleet of Prinoth350 snow cats, expand snowmaking to cover Nevada’s Stagecoach run and install a magic carpet surface lift at the California ski school. On the high-tech side, Heavenly season passes will include "easy scan" RF technology to expedite access to the lifts. Info: 775-586-7000 or


Kirkwood Mountain Resort

will add two new lifts for the 2008-09 season to improve access to 700 acres and over 1,350 vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding in its legendary backside terrain as the first phase of its recently approved Mountain Master Development Plan. The Lookout Vista lift replaces the hike to the famed chutes of Thunder Saddle along with access to the snowfields and cliffbands of Sunnyside for those headed to the resort’s backside. The Covered Wagon lift gains entry to the highest point crossed on the historic Mormon Emigrant Trail along with pristine powder stashes on Fawn Ridge. The resort will install a beginner-friendly Wonder Carpet Lift at its Timber Creek Base Area to replace existing tows and lifts. Kirkwood will revamp its three terrain park layouts for progression and flow. The resort invested in snowcats/machinery specifically designed for terrain park applications. In addition to its terrain parks and halfpipe, Kirkwood will open a Skier/Boarder X Course under Chair 5. Info: 209-258-6000 or


Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

’s web site will provide guests a cutting-edge online experience with an interactive radar application of weather patterns over precise locations at Sierra Resort, differentiating between summit and base settings. Eager skiers and snowboarders can follow weather activity in real time as storms approach the mountain crests. iPhone and other smartphone users can access the mobile web site for live feeds of daily conditions, weather, news, events and more.

Complementing the progress of last season’s green initiatives with free preferred parking for hybrid vehicles, Sierra-at-Tahoe will further reduce green house gas emissions by encouraging no-idling cars; implementing carpooling resources at

to help guests connect and share rides; and by purchasing only 100 percent compostable disposable products for all restaurants. In fact, all plates, bowls, cups and flatware will be made from renewable sources such as sugar cane, potato starch and corn resin.

The 360° Smokehouse BBQ at the top of Grandview Express will cater to small, private groups up to 30-40 people this season providing incredible views of Lake Tahoe, and menu items such as pulled pork, tri-tip, brisket and fried green beans. Info: 530-659-7453 or



2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The site for legendary performances like Sinatra, Streisand, Denver, Bennett and Sammy continues rocking with WAR, Oct. 4; Starship starring Mickey Thomas, Oct. 11; Mimi Chu & Joyce Lee, Oct. 25; The Smothers Brothers, Oct. 31 & Nov. 1; Blue Öyster Cult, Nov. 8; Jose Feliciano, Nov. 15; Los Lonely Boys, Nov. 22; Abbacadabra, Nov. 29; Air Supply, Dec. 6. Info: 800-HARRAHS or


“Let’s Live for Today” as The Grass Roots perform their classic ‘60s and ‘70s hits on Saturday, Nov. 15, in the Convention Center at The Horizon Casino Resort. Info: 775-588-6211 or


Live music, local DJs, artists, entertainers, inspiring karaoke singers can be found throughout South Shore at venues such as Divided Sky, Rockwater, Rojo’s Tavern, Whiskey Dicks, Tudor Pub, Tahoe Underground and Valhalla Boathouse Theater. Info:




Edgewood Tahoe Restaurant provides lakeviews with snow covering the beach and golf course. Prix Fixe Menus with wine pairings for each course are available for $55, or $40 without wine. Choose from Seared Halibut topped with lobster and prawns; Veal Medallions with crab, brie, and piquant demi-glaze; and Muscovy Duck Breast with onions, mushrooms and Swiss chard ragout for the main entree. Info:


Beach Hut Deli, a grassroots deli, which originated in Folsom, Calif., is popular in the Sacramento and Reno areas and now comes to South Shore. Even though you can’t surf in winter at Tahoe, the Surfin' Bird™, Beach Bikini™, Pipeline Pup™ and the Shark Bite™ are a few of the sandwich creations. Info:


Wasabi is the newest addition to the variety of seafood/sushi options available in South Shore. Info: 530-542-4451. La Baguette Tahoe Artisan Bakery provides a selection of breakfast, lunch and café selections and breads baked fresh daily. The ham and cheese filled croissants and fresh fruit crepes are among locals favorites. Info:

. The Ski Run Center will further enhance the destination’s ongoing regeneration with complementary architecture coinciding with redevelopment. The final expansion is scheduled to open this winter and will include a third location for the a local’s favorite breakfast joint Red Hut Restaurant, Altitude Salon and SPA, Alpaca Products, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Goodfellas Pizza.


At Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe, winter ski packages start at $79 per night, including room and lift ticket. Info: 800-HARRAHS or

. MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa winter ski packages start at $199 per night, including room and two lift tickets to choice of local resorts. Info: 800-648-3353 or


The Ridge Tahoe, located steps from Heavenly Mountain Resort’s Stagecoach Lodge on the Nevada side overlooking the Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley, celebrates its 25th anniversary with ski packages starting at $199 per night, including deluxe room, two lift tickets, microzone facial and resort amenities: health club, indoor sports complex, Jacuzzis and shuttle service to Stateline corridor. Info: 775-588-3553 or


Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Hotel & Ski Resort is next door to the Heavenly Mountain Resort, shops, entertainment and casinos, and now provides BusinessLink™ Centers with free WiFi and high speed internet connection. There’s on-site ski lift ticket sales, equipment rentals, complimentary ski check, print boarding passes and flight check-in, new menu at ECHO Restaurant, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and nightly manager’s reception. Info: 877-497-8483


Historic Camp Richardson Resort is an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca, with snowshoeing access to some of the most popular trails and beaches in South Shore. The resort’s lakeside cabins sleep two to eight people, and features gas fireplace and basic kitchens (including microwave, coffeemaker and toaster). Its on-site restaurant, Beacon Bar & Grill, is a favorite among locals and is open year round. Info: 800-544-1800 or


Lakeland Village Beach & Mountain Resort, Tahoe's lakeside condominium resort can accommodate couples, families or groups with choices ranging from one to five bedrooms. This winter, bathroom and kitchen remodels, new carpets and furniture will be complete throughout its 16 different style unit configurations. There’s a deluxe continental daily breakfast menu; complimentary private shuttle hours from 8 a.m. - midnight; an on-line booking system that makes it secure and easy to book a stay. Ski & ride packages and specials offers will be announced throughout the season. Info:


Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa has a Girlfriend Getaway package that includes one hour massages each, bottle of wine, and $60 dinner voucher to nearby restaurant Blue Water Bistro. One of the only lakefront properties amenities include private beach, heated pool, on-site spa and convenient location. Info: 800-448-4577 or


On the lake is Zephyr Cove Resort with accommodations including cabins and cottages. The resort is home to Zephyr Cove Marina, snowmobile tours, boat cruises and restaurant. Thru Dec. 15, 2008 guests can book two nights and receive a $25 fuel card or three nights and receive a $50 fuel card upon check out; reservations must be made by Sept. 30, 2008. Info: 800-23-TAHOE or

. For information about South Lake Tahoe, call the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463) or visit