By Caroline Samson
Before I got to experience it for myself, California was clearly not the first place I’d think of when it came to skiing. Instead, California was synonymous with San Francisco Bay, Long Beach by the Pacific Ocean (where I enjoyed a bit of sailing), surfers and colossal waves. As most people do, when I thought of California, I’d think only of the coast.
In reality, though, California has mountains that are truly what dreams are made of. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by some 15 resorts, making it an ideal area for the skiing road trip of a lifetime. What’s more, the snow gods are often more than generous in this particular neck of the woods, which means you are more than likely to be blessed with mounds of snow during your visit, especially at Kirkwood.
One of the most popular resorts in the area is Heavenly. It’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve been able to see a turquoise lake, pine trees, snow, an electrifying blue sky, my smiling ski companions, and the desert, all at once! Talk about impressive! Above and beyond its glorious landscape, though, Heavenly offers diverse terrain and tons of trails, wide boulevards, not to mention canyons with just the right amount of trees and the perfect level of challenge.
Across the lake are two other fabulous resorts. The first is Alpine Meadows, a more laid-back spot with local flair where you can enjoy some more intense skiing, especially in the Alpine Bowl. In fact, when you move beyond the central area of the resort, green and blue runs are quite rare. So, depending on your fitness level and the particular time of day you are skiing, you’d be wise to gradually make your way back to the central area to finish up the day. Of course, no matter which run you decide tackle, take a moment to soak up the view and the gorgeous lake in the distance before you make your way down.
8637 ' / 2633 m
1802 ' / 549 m
25% 40% 35%
365 " / 927 cm