48 Hours in Lake Tahoe
The snow is finally back at this destination, making now the perfect time for a weekend visit.
After suffering several seasons through the drought, Lake Tahoe finally has snow and the region is buzzing with excitement. Skiers and snowboarders are flocking to the mountains, eager for some fresh powder. And at last, the restaurants and bars are bustling again. Go ahead and pack your skis, this is the winter to get to this part of California ASAP. Here, our guide to where to eat, play, and stay in one of America’s greatest ski destinations.
Where to Stay
Perhaps no hotel in the region rivals the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee. The Ritz captures the essence of a Tahoe cabin, while still offering all the comforts of a luxury hotel. Avid skiers and snowboarders love this property for its ski-in, ski-out accommodations. The ski valet will have your gear all ready so you’re hitting the slopes of Northstar within minutes. And when you call it quits for the day, you can ski in straight for s’mores (made with homemade marshmallows) by the outdoor fire pit and then hit the hot tub or the state-of-the-art spa for some rest and relaxation.
There’s nothing like catching a few early morning runs to start the day. (Lifts open around 8am—check here to see the full schedule.) Before you go, grab coffee and breakfast on at Café Blue in the hotel. If you're missing any ski gear, the hotel is just a gondola ride away from The Village at Northstar, where just about every outdoor outfitter you can imagine has a shop (Patagonia, Burton, and The North Face, to name a few). After you spend the morning hitting the slopes, break for lunch at the hotel’s Backyard Bar & BBQ for a pulled pork sandwich, pit smoked pork beans, housemade kettle chips, and a seasonal draught beer. Next, head back to the slopes or go enjoy the complimentary Champagne at Tost on the East Ridge trail at the summit. The bottles are popped at 2pm sharp, so make sure to get there at least 15 minutes in advance and line up. Sip bubbly by the fire and rest your ski legs while you take in the sweeping mountain views. Next, carry on with your skiing or head back to the hotel for an après-ski massage at the spa. The full service resort also has steam rooms, a hot tub, and a sauna that should not be missed. For dinner, make the short drive to Truckee Tavern, a favorite of the locals for its laid-back vibe and killer eats. Think: baked raclette with house mustard, buffalo flank steak with a house sauce, and burgers. Afterwards, grab a glass of vino at Uncorked Truckee, a wine shop and bar.
Hit the slopes of Northstar again, or if you're in the mood to mix things up, go to Sugar Bowl resort (about an hour’s drive from the hotel). On your way, stop in town at Full Belly Diner for an amazing breakfast burrito. If you are looking for ski alternatives, check out a class at Atelier, a new gallery and art space in Truckee. From knitting courses to beeswax candle making sessions, this art hub is the perfect spot to get in touch with your crafty side for an afternoon. For lunch, pop in to Drunken Monkey for super fresh sushi. The famous monkey calamari, kawari edamame, and the black and white dragon roll are all popular items on the menu. Next, head to Moody’s to catch live jazz and cocktails. For dinner, The Rustic Lodge at Cedar Glen Lodge, helmed by chef Ana Bryan, is a can’t-miss. The menu offers seasonally-driven, farm fresh fare, and Chef David Meade’s chocolate s’mores are truly heavenly.