Winter in Tahoe is one of the best times of the year: the crisp air, time with friends and family playing outside and the majestic storms that blanket the mountains with snow. Most of the kids I know (and most adults, too) anxiously await the arrival of winter hoping it will bring lots of snow and lots of opportunities to play in it.
Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers something for everyone: sledding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat-tire biking or lounging near the fireplace inside Café Zenon.
But, even when the winter starts off slowly and even if there is only a thin layer of snow, there are still plenty of options. One such option is the Winter Sports Park in Tahoe City. The park offers something for everyone: sledding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat-tire biking or lounging near the fireplace inside Café Zenon.
One recent Sunday afternoon, I was home with my 6-year-old son, Anikin, and we started feeling a little bit of cabin fever. I decided to take him to the Winter Sports Park. The snow conditions were thin on our visit, but the staff at the park have done a great job at managing the snow to maximize the usage of the park.
First, we hit the ice-skating rink. The rink is small, so no big crowds to contend with, and it is nicely maintained. The park offers ice-skate rentals and assistive devices, called Seals, that help beginners balance as they learn how to skate. The kids love to also ride on the front of the Seal while being pushed by their parents. While we were skating, our friends Laurie and Kayl Climnedhage arrived and the boys had fun pushing the Seals around the rink. Although I think the highlight was when Laurie took turns pushing them on the Seal down the rink ending in the corners with a few big spins. The boys loved it.
Soon the boys were ready to go sledding. As we departed the ice rink, we saw a large group of kids heading to the rink for a birthday party. The party was set up on the picnic tables next to the rink and the parents mingled while the kids ice skated. It is a great option for a fun outdoor party in the winter.
After dropping off our ice skates and grabbing sledding discs, we headed to the sled hill. The park has a great location for sledding with a rather tall and long slope next to the parking lot and lodge. It’s fast — but not too fast — and steep — but not too steep — perfect for sledding novices and speed demons (like Anikin).
The boys made a few laps down the sled hill until they got distracted by the creek that runs through the Winter Sporks Park’s cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. We walked along the groomed trail down to the creek where the boys threw snowballs into the water and stomped along on the snow banks testing the strength of the snow beneath their boots.
Although we did not cross-country ski that day, we have skied and snowshoed at the park before. Anikin is still new to cross-country skiing, but the trails are well suited for beginners. They meander through the park on what is the Tahoe City Golf Course greens in the summer. Sometimes we bring our dogs along and they love running through the open spaces and playing with other dogs. Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the lodge. Fat-tire biking is also allowed on the trails.
After a full afternoon of activity, the boys were ready for hot chocolate. My sister, Kat, joined us and we got a seat at Café Zenon. We ordered hot chocolate and French fries for the boys, with a beer for Kat and two hard ciders for me and Laurie. The boys sat by the fire sipping hot chocolate, while we sat back and enjoyed our drinks. Overall, we had a wonderful day at the Winter Sports Park. We enjoyed playing in the snow and time with friends and family — exactly what a perfect winter day should entail. | (530) 583-1516 or wintersportspark.com