Ultimate Tahoe Winter Bucket List

#17 | Courtesy Northstar

We’re throwing it down – our Ultimate Tahoe Winter Bucket List. Make the most of winter in Tahoe this season by tackling our Bucket List. It will take you the entire season, so start now. We have 100 must-do adventures in Tahoe and we invite you to post your conquests along with way on Facebook or tag @TheTahoeWeekly on Instagram. Get started, because next winter we’ll have 100 new things for you to tackle.

You’ll find links to resources on everything on our Bucket List if you go to the digital version of the story at TheTahoeWeekly.com. Click on Winter under the Out & About tab.


#10 | Courtesy WinterWonderGrass

Make the most of your trip

  1. First, take a deep breath. Fill your lungs. That’s the sweet smell of Tahoe’s mountain air.
  2. Now, relax. It only gets better from here.
  3. Next, ditch the car. It will only frustrate you. You won’t get there any faster. Please take the bus or the ski shuttle. The scenery is amazing.
  4. Insist on driving? At least learn how to drive in snowy conditions. Check out our winter driving tips at com
  5. How about chains? Know how to use them? Check out the video at our Facebook page for the 4-1-1.
  6. Hit the slopes. Nordic or downhill? Skiing or snowboarding? Snowmobiling or snow biking? Why choose? We say do them all.
  7. Take a walk every day. Stroll around the resort or town where you’re staying. Take your time and enjoy. Say “Hi” to people you pass and smile. After all, you’re in Tahoe.
  8. Enjoy the arts. Tahoe has an amazing community of artists. Visit the non-profit North Tahoe Arts Center or Tahoe Art League, and explore the local galleries.
  9. Enjoy the amazing live music scene in the Tahoe Sierra. Check out our Entertainment Calendar in every issue and at com.
  10. Buy your tickets before it’s too late for SnowGlobe ( Dec. 29-31) and WinterWonderGrass (April 6-8).
  11. Celebrate winter during UllrFest on Feb. 2 and 3. Live music, bonfire, torchlight parade and more.
  12. Don’t miss SnowFest! celebrating winter from March 1-11. Parades, fireworks, dress up your dog contests and lots of fun.
  13. Dress up in outrageous ski duds and come out for a day full of belly laughs, camaraderie and philanthropy at the Pain McShlonkey in celebration of legendary skier Shane McConkey on March 17.
  14. Go retro at the Tom Sims Retro World Championships in March.
  15. Be kind and courteous. Lots of Tahoe locals work in the service industry and want to have as much fun as you do. Share a photo of your favorite barista, ski guide, server or other amazing local that made your time in Tahoe even better. And, tip generously.
  16. Stop for pedestrians.
  17. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.

Take a culinary adventure

  1. Take in a great meal, or two, or three. Tahoe is filled with amazing local eateries. Make a reservation and don’t go at peak times.
  2. Belly up to the bar. From the characters at the local dive bars to the stellar selections at the local wine bars. Enjoy, but drink responsibly.
  3. Linger over coffee. Visit a local café for a piping hot cup of Joe and a tasty treat. Use the free Wi-Fi to plan more Tahoe fun, not to check your e-mail.
  4. Après-ski. Relive the day’s adventures over a cocktail.
  5. Take your own food tour of Tahoe. Find the best burger around. How about the best winter cocktail? Check out our picks for the best hot craft cocktails
  6. Make s’mores in the mountains. Enjoy s’mores at local resorts or create your own at home.
  7. Grab a spoon and help devour a 200-Foot Banana Split at Tahoe Donner Downhill on March 17.

Take in the sights

  1. Cave Rock on the East Shore is actually a plug of an old volcano. Take the time to stop at the park off Highway 50 and enjoy this natural wonder.
  2. Tallac Historic Site is a glance back into the life of the San Francisco elite along Tahoe’s shoreline. The buildings are closed until summer, but the grounds are a great spot for a snowshoe.
  3. Explore Tahoe City’s historic triangle at the wye – the Gatekeeper’s Museum, Fanny Bridge and the Tahoe City Dam.
  4. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to visit one of our local museums – emigrant history (including the Donner Party) take center stage at Donner Memorial Visitor Center along with the Donner Summit Historical Society in Soda Springs.
  5. The Gatekeeper’s Museum is a wealth of local history and houses the Steinbach Indian Basket Museum along with the Museum of Sierra Ski History.
  6. The Lake Tahoe Museum in South Lake Tahoe features Washoe artifacts and early settlers.
  7. The Tahoe Maritime Museum features guided tours, exhibits and hands-on activities for kids.
  8. The Truckee Railroad Museum is housed in an old Caboose in downtown next to the railroad tracks.
  9. The Western SkiSport Museum at Boreal showcases the history of skiing, snowshoes from the 1850s, a pair of 8-foot-long skis used by John “Snowshoe” Thompson and more.
#40 | Courtesy Heavenly

Downhill Delirium

  1. Get pumped by hosting a showing of all of the new ski films for the season.
  2. Downhill ski. Try it at least once.
  3. Click in to a snowboard. Everyone should try it at least once.
  4. Take it to the next level. Everyone can benefit from a lesson. Book a private one to make the most of your time.
  5. Go for the black diamond. Or, the blue. Stuck in the same run rut? Take a clinic at your favorite resort and watch your skills soar.
  6. Lap it. How many laps can you get in before lunch? We like boasting. Post it @TheTahoeWeekly.
  7. Explore the parks & pipes. If you’re a newbie, you can take a lesson for that.
  8. Ski with a Ranger at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Mondays and Fridays starting Jan. 12. How often do you get to hang with a Forest Service ranger?
  9. Enjoy natural history tours on the slopes at Sierra-at-Tahoe and Diamond Peak.
  10. Demo the newest ski gear at local resorts. Check out the Events calendar in each issue.
  11. Then, get some new gear. Shop local, of course.
  12. Ski or snowboard with Al’s Pals, a group of local skiers that can normally be found at Timbers Bar at Mt. Rose when they’re not skiing the Chutes.
  13. Take on the Chutes. Do you have what it takes to tackle Rose’s 16 Chutes in one day? We have.
  14. First tracks. Get up before the sun to get in first turns. Trust us, it’s worth it.
  15. Last tracks. Finish the day on freshly groomed trail after enjoying libations at Snowflake Lodge at Diamond Peak starting Feb. 10.
  16. Both in one day? First tracks and last tracks.
  17. Ever ski under the dazzling stars of a Sierra sky? Now is the time. Enjoy night skiing at Boreal, Squaw Valley and Mt. Rose.
  18. The Grand Tour. Visit all of Tahoe’s 16 downhill ski areas this season.
  19. How many resorts can you ski in one weekend?
  20. How about one day?
  21. It’s late spring and the ski season is winding down; what to do? See how many sports from two seasons you can tackle in one day. Spring hiking to hidden powder stashes. Snowboarding to wakeboarding. We’re up to 5; can you beat that?
#57 | Homewood | Matt Bansak

Back Country Bliss

  1. The back country doesn’t have to be a daunting venture. Grab your snowshoes and explore the local meadows and trails just outside.
  2. Take a guided tour into the back country at Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood or Squaw Valley.
  3. Explore the back country in style – by snowcat at Homewood or Kirkwood.
  4. Ready for more? Before you do anything, take an avy course.
  5. Get your gear in order. You’ll need the right equipment before heading out in the wilds of Tahoe. Visit a local outfitter.
  6. Yes, practice using your beacon, reading the conditions. All of it. Now, do it again.
  7. Get the forecast at org and know how to read it.
  8. Ready to earn your turns? We recommend going with an experienced and trained guide.
  9. Visit one of Tahoe’s four back-country huts operated by the Sierra Club. Snowmobile or ski in.

Nordic Nirvana

  1. Purchase snowshoes from a local outfitter and explore. It really is as easy as walking.
  2. Try cross-country skiing. One lesson and you’ll be exploring the trails at local ski areas. You can even take the dog.
  3. Visit all 17 of Tahoe’s cross-country areas this season. Be sure to read our Nordic Ski Guide out on Dec. 28 and at com.
  4. Learn to Skate Ski like a pro. Take a lesson at any local cross-country center.
  5. Take a guided snowshoe trek with the Tahoe Rim Trail.
  6. By the light of the moon. Take a guided full moon snowshoe trek. They’re in our Events calendar in each issue.
  7. Stargazing & snowshoeing. Enjoy a guided snowshoe trek followed by stargazing with Tahoe Star Tours. It’s one of our personal favorites.
  8. Stargazing & s’mores more your style? Skip the snowshoe and go for the s’mores with Tahoe Star Tours at the Ritz-Carlton.
  9. Tahoe has a bevy of amazing state parks that are great spots for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at Sugar Pine Point State Park, Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Donner Memorial State Park and Van Sickle State Park. You only pay to park.
  10. Pack a picnic and head to the beach. Enjoy snowshoeing on one of Tahoe’s famous bluebird days on the shores of Lake Tahoe or Donner Lake.
  11. Eagle Rock is the plug of an old volcano on the West Shore. It’s a short snowshoe climb to the top with panoramic views, especially at sunrise or sunset.

A different side to winter

  1. Plunge into Tahoe’s icy waters. We’re serious. Join in the fun during Gar Woods’ annual Polar Bear Swim in March as part of SnowFest.
  2. Take a guided snowmobile tour. You’ll see a new side to the Tahoe Sierra.
  3. Fat Tire biking. You need a firm, packed trail to enjoy. Get it a try at Northstar, Kirkwood & Tahoe Donner’s cross-country areas, and at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
  4. Try the biathlon at Auburn Ski Club. So, you cross-country ski really fast on a course, drop to the ground, target shoot, and repeat. It’s a blast.
  5. Ski Biking. Think skis where the tires would be. Welcome at most downhill areas.
  6. Fishing. Yes, fishing. Winter is the best time for Mackinaw on Lake Tahoe. You’ll need a guide.
  7. How about ice fishing? Red Lake, Caples Lake and Silver Lake on the South Shore are favorite local spots.
  8. Tackle more than one winter sport in a day. Snowmobiling and snowshoeing? Add in Nordic, back country or snow biking. How many can you do?
  9. Take part in The Great Ski Race. 30km up and over from Tahoe City to Truckee. There’s one hell of a party at the finish line.
  10. Snow camping. Yes, people do it. You can car camp at Sugar Pine Point State Park or head into the wilderness if you’re well prepared. Check out our tips online.
  11. Take a good, old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride at Sand Harbor State Park or in Stateline, Nev.
  12. Ride to the top of the mountain. Take the Tram at Squaw Valley or the Gondola at Heavenly just to take in the scenery.
  13. Take a dog sled tour across the meadows in Olympic Valley.
  14. Chill at the hot springs. Grover Hot Springs is a great place to recharge and relax. Don’t forget to check out the snowshoe trails while you’re there.
  15. Try something new at the Alpenglow Mountain Festival. Try back-country skiing, join a guided snowshoe trek, practice with your beacon and much more in February.
  16. You’ll need ice tools and crampons for this one – ice climbing. Take a guided excursion with Alpine Skills International.
#91. Courtesy Granlibakken

Family Fun

  1. Tubing, Tubing, Tubing. Explore Tahoe’s many tubing areas. Check out Family Fun in this issue.
  2. Explore Woodward Tahoe from parkour to the skate park to shredding camps and more.
  3. Tykes take center stage at the KidZone Museum with interactive exhibits and fun play stations for kids younger than 7.
  4. Take a turn on the ice. Enjoy local community rinks in Tahoe City, Truckee and South Lake Tahoe, or at local resorts.
  5. Take it a step further and take ice dancing lessons in Truckee or try figure skating in South Lake Tahoe.
  6. Build a snow sculpture. A snowman is great, but what else can you build?
  7. Explore the library. Local public libraries offer an array of story times, crafts, movies and more for the kids.
  8. Ride the train. The Truckee Donner Railroad Society brings its kids’ train to the Olympic Village Lodge through Dec. 24. Look for the train to return to Truckee River Regional Park in late spring.
  9. Learn about Tahoe environmental and natural history at the Tahoe Science Center on the campus of Sierra Nevada College with kid-friendly science exhibits for ages 8 and older.
  10. Enjoy the fireworks. From New Year’s Eve to SnowFest! we don’t let something like snow stop us from enjoying fireworks. Find the details in our Events calendar and at com.
  11. Ever seen a torchlight parade? It’s an amazing sight as skiers descend the mountain with torches (or glowsticks). Enjoy the parade on Dec. 24 at Granlibakken, Dec. 31 at Kirkwood and Squaw Valley, Feb. 2 during UllrFest or Feb. 24 at Tahoe Donner. Details are in Events.

By Katherine E. Hill, Priya Hutner, Kayla Anderson & Sean McAlindin