A look at the Tahoe female
The problem guys have at Lake Tahoe appears to be fairly simple.
There are just too many of them.
While 1990 statistics from El Dorado County show the man-to-woman ratio at almost 1-to-1, most Tahoe men will tell you it’s much less favorable – for them, that is.
Some say it’s 2-to-1, others believe it’s 3-to-1. But on an average weeknight at any given bar on the South Shore, it appears to be more like 10-to-1.
Who are these women of Tahoe? And perhaps more importantly, where are they?
“Tahoe, like many ski towns, is notorious for being a place women don’t really want to live,” said Rich Hodge, 31. “And women who do live here aren’t as frequenters of nightspots as women in big cities, because if they’re living up here, they’re not as big on the nightlife scene – they’re interested in other things.”
Thus, the typical Tahoe woman is much different than women in metropolitan areas and other small towns.
Often described by guys as a “mountain woman,” she is natural-looking, casually dressed, athletic and free-spirited. She works full time, most likely in some aspect of the service industry, and is active in at least one mountain sport – biking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, hiking or a water sport.
She is not as concerned with dressing up and going “out on the town.” She would be more inclined to go on an evening bike ride, watch the sunset and relax on a quiet deck.
While this type of woman is appealing, her tendency to avoid male-populated bars makes it difficult for single guys in the dating scene.
Plus, as many young men have pointed out, a good portion of Tahoe women are already attached.
“What do I think of girls in Tahoe? They all have boyfriends,” said John Athan, 20. “Maybe there are not as many girls in the bars because they are all at home with their boyfriends.”
Jeff Cowen, 27, agreed.
“Every cool girl is already with somebody,” he said. “That makes for a lot of broken hearts.”
Most guys say what makes Tahoe a unique dating challenge is the fact that it is a resort town.
“Tahoe women are not very stable – they haven’t chosen their ways,” said Andy Navarro, 27, a 13-year resident of South Lake Tahoe. “Tahoe is a place for experimenting. The economy is seasonal, so the people who come up here are adventurous.”
In the quest to establish a serious relationship, Tahoe men say they are finding themselves in somewhat of a Catch-22 situation.
“I don’t think you can meet people you are going to form a relationship with outside of your job or daily habits,” Cowen said.
Phil Reith, 38, a bartender at Nero’s 2000, agreed. “If you are looking for a lasting relationship in Tahoe, you wouldn’t come to a bar.”
But most men work in jobs related to tourism – where the people they meet are more likely to be visitors or seasonal workers.
“I’m in a position to meet more girls because I work in the tourism business, but I’m not meeting girls who live here,” said Navarro, who works at Ski Run Marina. “Finding a girlfriend to have a relationship with here is very limited.”
Athan echoed that sentiment.
“Everyone says there are no women in Tahoe, but the truth is there are no women from Tahoe,” he said. “That’s why I don’t go to the casinos – there are plenty of women there every night, but they’ll all be gone the next day.”
The tourist economy depends on service rather than career-oriented jobs, attracting women who are not necessarily career motivated or “professionals,” Reith said.
Tahoe is a beautiful, low-crime town that has often been touted as “a great place to raise kids.” As a result, there also appears to be a fairly large population of single women with children here – what men say is another challenge for them.
But the outlook is not all negative. Tahoe men say this small mountain town also has its advantages when it comes to women and the dating scene.
“You end up going out with your friends’ ex-girlfriends and they end up going out with yours – that can be seen as a negative or that can be seen as an adventure,” Hodge said. “It’s more casual and informal, and usually the dates are cheaper.”
He also said Tahoe women are generally more down-to-earth, which is a positive in many ways.
“A lot of the women here aren’t as superficial as in a big city – they’re not as concerned about whether I drive a Porsche.”
That is the biggest difference between women here and those in other places, said Athan, who moved here from Dana Point, Calif.
“I find that things are more materialistic where I’m from – everyone has brand new trucks and all the girls care about is who you are sponsored by for surfing,” he said. “It seems like up here, the women know what it takes to get things done, so having a brand new car isn’t that big of a deal.”
Geoff Burke, 29, said he finds that Tahoe women are also more in tune with nature and preserving the planet – how can they not be considering where they live?
“I think there is more of an awareness of worldly things like recycling,” he said. “You see that trait in Tahoe females – someone who wants to help make things better.”
He also agrees with the perception that the bar scene in Tahoe is pretty much a sword fight.
“Girls probably don’t want to go out to the bars as much as the guys because of that preconceived notion that they’re going to get mauled,” Burke said. “Most Tahoe females have two jobs to pay off the bills … or support their snowboarder boyfriends.”
In the end, to survive the dating nightmare in South Lake Tahoe, indications are that both men and women just may have to lower their standards.
“I don’t settle for less than my expectations and I have really high standards,” Athan said. “Maybe that’s why I’m so lonely.”
Hodge relayed an anecdote that says it all:
“As a female once told me, after living in Tahoe for a few years, she had lowered her standards – she just wanted to find a guy who was HIV negative and J-O-B positive.”
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