Skiing in Tahoe for Christmas is one of our few family traditions. This year, Mother Nature obliged with a few inches of fresh powder on and under the trees, nearly every day.
We have been using our timeshare near Heavenly Valley for Christmas week for the last dozen years. It was great to have our sons fly in to join us as it was the first time we were all together since we said goodbye to TJ in Melbourne in July.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom unit with a gorgeous view of the Carson Valley. We had been booked into another building, but the underground parking was getting remodeled, so we requested a move. Otherwise, Diana would have had the unhappy choice of being a shut-in or crutching through the snow with her broken leg to get to the car. In our new digs, we were able to spread out and enjoy the 4 hot tubs in the building and easy in/out via the coveted underground parking.
The resort has a funicular to the lift although the funicular breaks often. To compensate, the resort runs frequent shuttles to nearby places, including the ski lift if needed. There is a bar, bistro, and restaurant on-property, as well as snowshoeing, a spa, workout room, indoor pool, tennis and racquetball courts. All in all, numerous distractions for time away from the ski hill.
The Ski Experience
Heavenly is the largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe and draws a crowd accordingly. It is owned by the Vail Corporation, so many folks get access through one of the Epic Passes they sell. The less expensive Tahoe Value Pass is blacked out from December 26the to the 31st and I could really see a difference in the number of people on the hill. The day after Christmas was fairly empty. Happily, we got 3-4 inches overnight, on several nights, so the kids and I had a great time on the tree runs, which are plentiful on the Nevada side. I did hit a tree on Friday but got back out Saturday. What can I say, I’m addicted.
The ski resort has developed numerous ways to extract money for non-skiing activities. A gondola brings many people up from the lakeside casino area to mid-mountain, where dining, tubing, and alpine slide facilities are available. The lodge can become overcrowded with grandparents staking out whole tables while their broods frolic outside. In summer, rope courses, climbing walls, and zip lines operate.
Dining at Christmas in Tahoe is always a challenge. Many folks come up just to be in the snow and the restaurants get very full. Knowing this, I make some reservations for dinners ahead of arrival. This is generally a good idea anytime you go to a ski area. Our best and most expensive meal was at Friday’s Station steakhouse at Harrah’s casino. Thankfully, we walked past a 30-minute line for the buffet next door. The night views from our table were great. Our 4 steaks did come with a hefty bill, but it was worth it.
One disappointment we had was at an Italian place we go to regularly, Capisce. They were short-staffed the night we were there. It took over an hour to get our food after ordering and they basically ignored us for most of that time. The food and value are decent, so I do recommend it with the warning that you might need to be ready for a long night if they can’t straighten out their issues.
I should note that, despite her injury, Diana mounted an heroic effort to cook a turkey dinner with dressing, gravy, and fresh cranberry sauce, all in our timeshare unit. As usual, she did a great job, the special dinner was appreciated by all. And, we got to savor the leftovers for days. Yum!
What holiday traditions do you have?