The awe-inspiring views of the cobalt blue Lake Tahoe provide a completely new skiing experience for most Europeans.
The terrain quite distinctly split into two areas. The Nevada side, leading down to Boulder Lodge and Stagecoach, with its exciting bowl skiing, while the California side, which skirts the lake and brings you down to California Lodge has some great pitches coming down the front face.
The Tamarack chair situated in the middle of the mountain approx 1 hour drive away, gives skiers access to the smaller resorts like Little Kirkwood, Incline, and Alpine Meadows. Snow cover is extremely reliable and snow cannons are rarely used.
Nevada and the South side are popular with boarders since the 1970s with its laid-back Californian vibe, fantastic half-pipes, and terrain parks.
Like everywhere in America , ski lessons in the Lake Tahoe area do not follow the European format of a single instructor with a single group for 6 days of continuous lessons.
With Americans being so time shy when it comes to holidays most guests don't have the luxury of 6 to 14 days skiing on the mountain in continuous lessons and so the accepted format is to turn up daily and be assigned to a group and instructor based on your skill level.
Pluses of this system are that you experience a variety of instructors and group size and certainly mid week when it quietens down, groups size maybe so small that you are virtually receiving private instruction from your instructor. If private instruction is something you want, then all the ski schools will offer this service at a hefty premium. This year Heavenly is charging $325 for a 3 hour private lesson. Steep but if something 'clicks' and you feel more comfortable on the mountain - then go for it!
All of the ski schools will have separate adults and child programmes and Heavenly caters for children from 6 weeks to 6 years old in their day care centre. Lessons run from 8.30 to 4pm. This does include a lunch so its not bad value.
For older kids (4 - 13) there is a separate ski school and caters to both skiers and boarders.(Lessons for boarders start at 7). Prices include lunch and these are tremendous value if you are looking for an improvement programme which then frees up your day to explore the mountains at your leisure.
Last Updated: Feb 2010