Spring break Tahoe deals

Spring Skiing Vacation Ideas from Matthew Poole:

Let Getaway Guru Matthew Poole guide you to the hottest skiing (and non-skiing snow activity) destinations in Northern California with tips for getting the best available deals.

HEAVENLY

  • Hosting a huge blow-out college weekend March 26-28 with two days of pond skimming, a parking lot rail jam at Mont Bleu and an evening concert with rock band Thrice.

  • Hosting the legendary Gunbarrel 25 with Glen Plake on April 3 and the Ski Patrol Fundraiser on top of the Gondola parking garage on the 4th. The Dan Band will perform at Harrah's Showroom on the evening of April 3rd and is sure to be a hit.
KIRKWOOD
  • Launch the Mid Winter Pass which will go on sale Feb 12 and is valid unrestricted from February 15 through closing day, just $249. Lodging specials as well.
SQUAW
  • Squaw will be selling a discounted spring season pass in mid-March.

  • Known as the Spring Skiing Capitol for good reason, Squaw Valley offers a host of amazing outdoor lunch spots to hit up for some mid-ski feasting. One place to dine with your family at Squaw is a restaurant known as Le Chamois, locally known as "The Chammy." The benches and tables outside this classic ski bar are the place to be from 2 pm on all season-long, but spring time is when the al fresco bar goes off!

  • The high altitude pool and Jacuzzi offers skiers and snowboarders a one-of-a-kind mountain experience. Only at Squaw Valley USA can guests combine a great day on the slopes with a dip in a mountaintop swimming pool and a soak in a giant slopeside Jacuzzi. The free-form swimming lagoon is heated to approximately eighty degrees and contains two twenty-five meter lap lanes. The twenty-five foot diameter spa is heated to a soothing 103 degrees and surrounded by expansive decks and the casual Umbrella Bar.

  • 20th Annual Lake Cushing Classic - World's Biggest Pond Skimming Contest: Daredevils strap on old skis, snowboards, or the creative pond crossing vessel of choice, and attempt to cross the chilly waters of Lake Cushing in front of a crowd of thousands. The date for the Cushing Classic usually falls in the end of April/early May and is contingent on when the pond melts.

  • Pool Parties at High Camp: The Swimming Lagoon and Spa at High Camp is home to the best spring partying on the lake. With massive DJ pool parties, unbelievable spring skiing/riding, live poolside hip hop,and the most breathtaking pool/hot tub/umbrella bar! Don't miss the Peaks & Lagoons Spring Party Weekend April 3-4, 2010.

  • Expected Closing Date for the 2009/10 season is May 9, 2010.
NORTHSTAR
  • Northstar's Double Whammy season passes typically go on sale in March. And, if you purchase then, you can use it for the remainder of the current season.

  • With regard to spring events, Northstar will be hosting the Ultimate Boarder Championship in late March - kind of like the triathlon of board sports - snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.
SIERRA AT TAHOE
  • Sierra-at-Tahoe has an annual telemark ski event that is super fun - bluegrass music too - Telegrass is what it's called.

  • Sierra is also still offering the $35 learn to ski/ride offer valid Sunday through Friday.
SUGAR BOWL
  • A classic Sugar Bowl race, the Silver Belt Banzai, is March 13 and 14.

  • If you're truly looking for deals, free lessons and rentals 7 days a week from March 15-close.
Don't like skiing? Here are some non skiing activities to do in the Tahoe area this spring:

Snowshoeing

At junction of Highways 88/89, a few minutes east of Kirkwood Ski Resort, is a yurt plunked in the middle of Hope Valley that's the headquarters for Hope Valley Outdoors.

Inside the yurt is a wide selection of snowshoes for rent (as well as cross-country skis), perfect for heading out on the 60-mile network of trails that criss-cross this spectacular stretch of alpine scenery (it's gorgeous out here). Best of all there are no trail fees, dogs are welcome, and they even offer guided tours for a very reasonable fee. Tip: Ask about their romantic moonlight snowshoe tours.

For more information, call 530-694-2266 or visit www.hopevalleyoutdoors.com

Sledding at Granlibakken

When my dad was fed-up with trying to teach his ungrateful kids to ski, he'd give in to our demands and take us to Granlibakken so we could go sledding.

Granlibakken is a well-hidden resort located just southeast of Tahoe City, and kids-in-the-know drag their parents here because it has the best sledding hill in Lake Tahoe: wide, machine-groomed, and with just enough of a slope to create some spectacular wipeouts.

The cost is $9 per person, which includes saucer rental and use of the snowplay area for the entire day while the parents chill out in the lodge by the fireplace. Granlibakken is also a great place to learn how to ski, since lifts tickets are only $21 for adults ($14 for kids) and the runs range from bunny to easy.

For more information call 1-800-543-3221 or visit www.granlibakken.com

Snowmobile Tours

There are numerous snowmobile rental and tours operators around the lake, but the two that offer the most bang for your buck are Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours on the North Shore, and the Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center on the South Shore.

Where other snowmobile tour operators have you putt-putting around in circles, these guys have access to dozens of miles of trails that wind through a pristine forest setting with spectacular views. It's an exhilarating experience, flying through the snow on twisty trails while your cheeks go numb and your heart races.

For more information about Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours call 530-546-4280 or visit www.laketahoesnowmobilingtours.com

For more information about Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center call 800-23-TAHOE or visit www.zephyrcove.com

Cross Country Skiing

There are at least a dozen cross country ski outfits in Tahoe, but the best of the bunch is the Kirkwood Cross Country & Snowshoe Center in Alpine Valley.

Mathew used to work at Kirkwood during his ski-bum years, so he can personally vouch that no other cross country ski resort offers a better combo of machine-groomed trails, spectacular scenery, and trailside warming huts. Even dogs are welcome. During breaks from skiing, you can sip hot drinks by a wood burning stove at their cozy day lodge.

Best of all, a full-day ski pass is only $22! Lessons, tours, and rental equipment are available as well. For more information, call 209-258-7248 or visit www.kirkwood.com

Dog Sled Tours

If you love dogs, snowy mountain scenery, and luxury lodgings, have I got a getaway idea for you-taking a thrilling dog sled tour at the Resort at Squaw Creek. An outfit called Wilderness Adventures offers dog sledding tours through the beautiful Squaw Valley Meadow.

The tour is a hoot! An incredibly powerful team of Alaskan Huskies pulls a deluxe four-person sled at speeds up to 14mph along a 2.5-mile path that winds through a glistening white meadow with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. And right now the Resort at Squaw Creek is offering a special $159 rate exclusively for LocalGetaways.com customers.

For more information, visit 530-550-8133 or visit www.tahoedogsledtours.com Tubing at Heavenly

If you're heading up to South Lake Tahoe with the wee ones and looking for something fun to do, check out Heavenly's new Adventure Peak family recreation area at the top of the Heavenly Gondola.

They've added a new four-lane tubing hill that's accessed by a state-of-the-art covered and elevated "magic carpet" lift (so no trudging up the hill anymore)

Kids LOVE this place, and even the grownups are laughing all the way down the hill. And if you're looking for a place to stay nearby, the new 968 Park Spa Resort-Tahoe's first eco-friendly resort hotel-is offering an incredible deal, with rates starting at $79 when booked at LocalGetaways.com.

For more information, call 775-586-7000 or visit www.skiheavenly.com

About Matthew R. Poole:

Matthew R. Poole is one of the best-selling travel book writers in the nation, writing and contributing to more than two dozen travel guides to California, Las Vegas, Hawaii and abroad.

His clients include Frommer's, Harper Collins Publishers, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Publishing, Penguin Books, and Berlitz Publishing Co. Matthew's expertise is on California travel, and he's the author of three Frommer's travel guides to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and California.

He also is a regular contributor to radio and television travel programs, including several guest appearances on Bay Area Backroads. Matthew also participates in numerous travel seminars and speeches, and is the former Executive Editor of wineshopper.com and Editor-in-Chief of BBQ.COM.

For more information, visit www.localgetaways.com

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