With its high mountains and regular, predictable and heavy snowfalls, the Lake Tahoe area has been a magnet for ski buffs for decades. There is plenty of downhill skiing to be had, much more than one could ever take in during a single trip. However, the area also offers other winter sports opportunities. Some offer the simplicity of childhood fun, while others offer a combination of adventure and access to the region's natural beauty.
The Lake Tahoe areas boasts several skiing areas, with a combined total of over 625 trails--these areas are Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Kirkwood, North Star at Tahoe, Mt. Rose, Sierra at Tahoe and Squaw Valley. This concentration of opportunities means there is plenty for every kind of skier and snowboarder, from beginner to veteran. With so many trails, the typical visitor on a winter sports vacation will only scratch the surface during a visit, regardless of skill level or preferences.
When the winter snows fall, many of the mountain biking and hiking trails in the Lake Tahoe area become routes for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Some of the downhill ski areas also provide cross-country skiing routes, such as Kirkwood and North Star at Tahoe. These two are great places for winter sports enthusiasts who like both forms of skiing (or downhill skiing plus some snowshoeing). Other areas for cross-country skiers and showshoers are Clair Tappan, Royal Gorge, Spooner Lake, Sugar Pine State Park, Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area and the Tahoe Donner Cross-Country Ski Area.
Tubing and Sledding
A Lake Tahoe winter activity that is less famous, but still plenty of fun, is to take your childhood winter sled and do it on a much bigger scale. There are parks in the Tahoe area that have devoted their slopes not to skiing, but to hoping on an adult-sized sled or into a robust inner tube, and going downhill that way.
Kingvale Tubing and Sledding
53010 Donner Pass Rd.
Soda Springs, CA
Another choice is to live out your Yukon fantasies with a little mushing (dog-sledding). There are a number of small outfits in the Lake Tahoe area that offer some basic training in dog-sledding, and then let you go out for a spin. The norm is to cover about half a dozen miles of ground, which takes roughly an hour. Longer dog-sledding treks, including those that include some backcountry winter camping, can be had through special arrangement.
Running Creek Sled Dogs