Ultimate Tahoe Winter Bucket List 19/20

Craft Cocktails

Each issue of Tahoe Weekly is packed with outdoor adventures, family fun outings, and scores of events and live music to enjoy. But if you don’t read every edition in print or at TheTahoeWeekly.com, follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our free e-edition, you’re missing out on a lot of what Tahoe has to offer.

So, I started putting together a list of our favorite things to do at the start of winter and summer for you and your family to enjoy during your time in the Tahoe Sierra. It will take you many visits to Tahoe to even put a dent in this list (maybe even a few seasons), but that’s just another good reason to visit us again and again.

Courtesy Granlibakken

Fun for all ages

  1. Take in the fresh air and relax. Your vacation has finally started.
  2. Ditch the car; it will only irritate you. Take local transit or local ski shuttles to the resorts. Walk anywhere you can.
  3. Go outside and just play with a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
  4. Make a snowman or snow angel.
  5. Warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate
  6. Visit the life-size gingerbread creations at the Resort at Squaw Creek, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe or Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe.
  7. Make your own gingerbread creation. Make a party out of it.
  8. Take the family snowshoeing at a local resort or trail. Don’t forget snacks.
  9. Make a backyard sled run or two.
  10. Visit a local sled hill.
  11. Tube at the local ski areas – the runs are long and fast, and some will even take you back to the top.
  12. Take a UTV tour at Heavenly.
  13. Meander along Tahoe’s small towns and shopping areas to take it all in.
  14. Explore Tahoe’s craft cocktail scene. Ask your mixologist for the house specialty.
  15. Visit our local art centers and purchase local art or take a class: North Tahoe Arts Center in Tahoe City or the Tahoe Art League Art Gallery in South Lake Tahoe.
  16. Go fishing. Winter is the best time for Mackinaw on Lake Tahoe. You’ll need a guide.
  17. How about ice fishing? Red Lake, Caples Lake and Silver Lake on the South Shore are favorite local spots.
  18. 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?
  19. 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.
  20. Take a good, old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride.
  21. Ride to the top of the mountain. Take the Tram at Squaw Valley or the Gondola at Heavenly just to take in the scenery.
  22. Take a dog sled tour.
Boreal Peace Park | Courtesy Boreal Mountain

On the slopes

  1. Ski at a family owned or privately-owned resort – Mt. Rose, Donner Ski Ranch, Sky Tavern or Sugar Bowl.
  2. Take a lesson to improve your skills.
  3. Challenge yourself to finally tackle that run you’ve also eyed. You’ll need to finish No. 24 first.
  4. Ski with a U.S. Forest Service ranger at Heavenly.
  5. Ski or ride all of the downhill ski areas; I know you’ll be surprised how many there are.
  6. This is a two-fer: Ski Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley on one ticket.
  7. Ski Boreal.
  8. Ski Diamond Peak.
  9. Ski Donner Ski Ranch.
  10. Ski Granlibakken.
  11. Ski Heavenly.
  12. Ski Homewood.
  13. Ski Kirkwood.
  14. Ski Mt. Rose.
  15. Ski Northstar.
  16. Ski Sierra-at-Tahoe.
  17. Ski Soda Springs.
  18. Ski Sugar Bowl.
  19. Ski Tahoe Donner Downhill. Told you there were a lot.
  20. Have you ever tried telemarking? Challenge yourself and take a clinic.
  21. Try some alternative ways down the mountain – on a snowblade, skibike, powder surfing, snowskates or a ski-boarding sled. You’ll need to check if your ski resort allows them first.
Courtesy Royal Gorge

Nordic Nirvana

  1. Leave the lifts behind and skate or stride into the quiet beauty of a Nordic ski trail. Ski at your own pace and stopping to admire the beauty is encouraged.
  2. Ski to The Royal Gorge. It’s breathtaking.
  3. Enjoy Nordic skiing at the state parks; you only pay for parking: Donner Memorial State Park, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Emerald Bay State Park, Van Sickle Bi-State Park and Sand Harbor State Park (yes, it’s open in winter), to name a few.
  4. Learn to skate ski (although I’m still holding on to classic).
  5. Ski or ride all of the Nordic ski areas; there’s a lot (and they all offer groomed trails).
  6. Ski at Auburn Ski Club; it’s open to the public.
  7. Ski Bijou Cross Country.
  8. Ski Camp Richardson.
  9. Ski at Clair Tappaan Lodge.
  10. Ski at Donner Memorial State Park.
  11. Ski at Granlibakken.
  12. Ski at Hope Valley Outdoors.
  13. Ski at Kirkwood Cross Country.
  14. Ski at Lake Tahoe Community College’s Nordic Center.
  15. Ski at Nevada Nordic.
  16. Ski at Northstar.
  17. Ski at North Tahoe Regional Park.
  18. Ski at the Resort at Squaw Creek.
  19. Ski Royal Gorge.
  20. Ski at Sugar Pine Point State Park.
  21. Ski at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
  22. Ski at Tahoe Cross Country.
  23. Ski at Tahoe Donner Cross Country.
  24. 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.
Camp Richardson Snowshoe Cocktail Races | Courtesy Chris Talbot

Snowshoe adventures

  1. Rent or buy a pair of snowshoes to explore. It’s as easy as walking.
  2. Join a guided snowshoe tour during the day, at sunset, during a full moon or to go stargazing. You’ll find them in our Events Calendar.
  3. Snowshoe through Tahoe Meadow near Mount Rose for an easy outing.
  4. Trek to Chickadee Ridge for panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and be serenaded by the mountain chickadees.
  5. Meander through the forests around Blackwood Creek or challenge yourself to make it to the top of the pass in Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore.
  6. Enjoy the serenity of snowshoeing at Donner Memorial State Park.
  7. Explore the East Shore’s Castle Rock by snowshoe.
  8. For the more experienced, make the trek to Boyles Cross and Cinder Cone above Tahoe City.
  9. Snowshoe to Grover Falls with the family at Grover Hot Springs State Park.
  10. Then, of course, relax in the hot springs.
  11. Snowshoe along the shores of Lake Tahoe at Sugar Pine Point or Sand Harbor State Parks. Again, you only pay for parking.
  12. Snowshoe to Meiss Meadows on Carson Pass.
  13. Get a copy of Mike White’s “Best Snowshoe Trails Around Lake Tahoe.”
  14. Take a waxing clinic to learn how to wax your skis.
  15. Try your hand at Camp Richardson’s Snowshoe Cocktail Races on Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 21, April 18.
  16. Take a Moonlight Snowshoe to the Alpine Meadows Chalet and enjoy dinner on Dec. 14, 17-19, Jan. 11 & 25, and Feb. 1 & 8.
Grover Hot Springs | Courtesy Lisa Michelle

Fat tire biking

  1. Try snow biking on a bike with really fat tires. You can bike in winter on the local plowed trails but explore the snow trails, too.
  2. Bike on the trails in Coldstream Canyon.
  3. Try the Fibreboard Freeway at the top of Brockway Summit.
  4. Bike on the trails to Blue Lakes in Hope Valley.
  5. Here’s a hint: Snowmobile trails are perfect for fat tire biking. Go where the snowmobilers travel.
  6. Many Tahoe ski areas also allow fat tire bikes. Check out our Downhill and Nordic ski guides for details. Click on Out & About: Winter at TheTahoeWeekly.com.

Courtesy Lisa Michelle

Back country bound

  1. Explore Tahoe’s back country.
  2. Get your avalanche certification first or don’t go. Seriously. This includes snowmobilers.
  3. Get all of your avy gear and make sure it works. Practice with your beacon.
  4. Ski with the experts. Several local outfitters and ski resorts offer guided back-country trips.
  5. Try splitboarding. You can take a clinic for that.
  6. Explore Huckleberry Gates at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
  7. Ride Emerald Bay Chutes on the West Shore.
  8. Snowmobile with local outfitters. They know the best views on the trails.
  9. Ride the Fibreboard Freeway to Mount Watson or Watson Lake.
  10. Ride Little Truckee Summit north of Truckee.
  11. Snowmobile in Blackwood Canyon to Barker Pass on the West Shore.
  12. Snowmobile Blue Lakes in Hope Valley.