Springtime shoulder season fun at Lake Tahoe
What’s that sound? Do you hear it? It’s quiet. It’s … shoulder season.
Or maybe I’m mistaken — last weekend felt pretty busy here at the lake.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying we are in that sweet spot between ski season and summer when things, historically speaking, tend to settle down. The pace usually slows in terms of entertainment offerings and events catering to the masses.
However, there is always plenty of fun to be had.
Here are a few suggestions for enjoying this allegedly slow time of the year.
Hiking and mountain biking
With warmer temperatures and a streak of sunny days, the spring snowmelt is starting to really ramp up … meaning good hiking and biking is just beginning to unveil itself from winter’s cover.
At this point, we’re still somewhat limited in terrain. Snow patches start to become plentiful around 7,000 feet, meaning favorite in-town jaunts like Castle Rock (located off Kingsbury Grade) are still less than ideal for straight hiking. But hell, bring your snowshoes and get after it.
Although not open to vehicles just yet, Van Sickle Bi-State Park is fairly clear thanks to all the direct sunlight. The park sits on the state line on South Shore.
The Tahoe Mountain Trail loop, accessed via Panther Lane in South Lake Tahoe, also has cleared up for the most part, although there’s still some snow toward the top.
Similarly, the Tunnel Creek Trail just outside of Incline Village is fairly dry for the first several miles. The trail offers fantastic view of the lake early on.
If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll along the beach, Baldwin and Nevada beaches are slated to open for the season Saturday … although we can’t recommend going for a dip in the lake just yet. But it could be the perfect weekend to dust off your kayak or stand up paddle board and go for a cruise (shoulder season means few to no boats on the lake).
Shoulder season is the perfect time of year to go grab a pint. Scratch that — any time of year is the perfect time to grab a pint or five.
The added bonus of this quieter time of year, of course, is the shorter lines.
Beer fans have a bevy of local options around the lake, especially on South Shore.
Cold Water Brewery and Grill is a great spot if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat with your beer.
It’s hard to avoid recommending the “Tahoe Loaf” (bread stuffed with cheddar beer fondue or kale artichoke dip) but you’ll want to make sure you have a buddy to tackle this thing. You’ll also likely want to clear your schedule afterward; you’re not going to accomplish much, and it will feel glorious.
Sidellis Lake Tahoe is a personal favorite. They offer great beers, a relaxed atmosphere and solid menu that’s reasonably priced.
South Lake Brewing Company offers one of the largest selections of brews. And even with that lengthy tap list, we have yet to try a bad beer at this place (they’re literally batting a thousand). SLBC regularly has food vendors on the weekend in case you need sustenance to soak up those three Fog Nozzles.
Perhaps the best kept secret on South Shore is Tahoe Mountain Brews. Located in the bottom floor of the Mountain News, our rival newspaper and nemesis (just kidding about the “nemesis” part), the Mountain Brews team makes some of the most flavorful beers in the basin. And they all pack a hefty punch in terms of alcohol percentage. Miraculously though, the high ABV doesn’t negatively impact the taste … so sip wisely.
Yes, some of us aren’t ready to put our skis away just yet. Fortunately a handful of resorts still have some terrain open for you snow-addicts in need of a fix.
This is the final weekend of the season for Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. The resort, which is almost always the first to open each season, has already set its opening date for the 2019-20 ski season: Oct. 24. Forecasts … we don’t need no forecasts.
Before shutting things down, Mt. Rose is hosting a “pass party” Saturday, April 27. Anyone who purchases a pass for the next season before Saturday is invited to this celebration, which will feature live music and a raffle. Prizes include 15 weekend getaways and more.
Get the details at skirose.com.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are pretty much never going to close (not really, Alpine plans to close in May and Squaw plans to remain open seven days per week through Memorial Day, after which it will transition to Friday through Sunday operations until July 7).
Saturday and Sunday are “retro” ski days, so grab your most absurd outfit and hit the slopes.
Find information at squawalpine.com.
This weekend is the last for mountain access via Stagecoach at Heavenly Mountain Resort, which closed up operations on the California side (excluding the gondola) last weekend. This also marks the end for daily operations at the South Shore resort.
But don’t panic — weekend operations will continue, with access via the gondola, through Memorial Day. This is the latest Heavenly has stayed open in years.
Head to skiheavenly.com for information.