Hit the Slopes Without Leaving the State
By Sarah Khan
FROM LEFT: Skiing abounds at Northstarat- Tahoe; Chocolate Bar offers a selection of cheesecake flavors; try Asian-style tapas and sushi at the Drunken Monkey; just minutes from the slopes is PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn
To Tahoe We Go
Lake Tahoe has more ski resorts than any other area in North America—18 in all—so you know why you’re here. Host of the 1960 Olympics, Squaw Valley USA (1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 800-403-0206; squaw.com) has history backing up its awe-inspiring amenities. The resort spans 4,000 acres, boasting 33 lifts, six peaks and 2,850 vertical feet of skiing terrain. Season passes start at $999 for adults; $749 for youths 12 to 18; and $199 for children, while daily lift tickets are $83 for adults; $61 for youths; and $10 for kids 12 and under (which includes rentals). Fresh from a makeover, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort (100 Northstar Dr., Truckee, 530-562-1010; northstarattahoe.com) has the requisite skiing and snowboarding, but also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and snow tubing. Get a season pass for $399 (youths 13 to 22 pay $289; children five to 12 are $119). Single-day lift tickets are $79 for adults; $69 for youths; and $30 for children, whose are good for two straight days.
WHERE TO STAY
Check in to the intimate Cottage Inn (1690 W. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, 800-581-4073; thecottageinn.com), which feels like your own private hideaway in the woods; this inviting rustic lodge is like a family home, with freshly baked cookies and a jigsaw puzzle guests can linger over in the lobby. Book the Dream Catcher room, kitted out with a stone fireplace, oversize tub and its very own tepee. How do you top a prime location just a few miles from the ski lifts? At the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn (1920 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 530-583-1576; plumpjacksquawvalleyinn.com), the staff does just that with spacious rooms (the Penthouse suite has a wet bar), personalized touches (hot cider served at checkin) and excellent dining (more on that later). The eagerly awaited Ritz-Carlton Highlands (13005 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Dr., Truckee, 530- 562-3000; ritzcarlton.com) brings the brand’s signature sophistication to Truckee this month with 170 rooms and suites, a 17,000-square-foot spa and ski-in/ski-out access from the Slopeside Terrace to Northstar-at-Tahoe.
WHERE TO EAT
Before hitting the slopes, load up on a hearty breakfast at Jax (10144 W. River St., Truckee; 530-550-7450), set in an original 1940s diner. Outstanding world-fusion cuisine descends upon Tahoe in the form of Drunken Monkey (11253 Brockway Road, Truckee; 530-582-9755), a lounge serving Asian-style tapas and sushi. Chase the curry mochiko chicken with a shot of strawberry shochu. The seasonal menu at the PlumpJack Café (1920 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 530-583-1578; plumpjackcafe.com) derives inspiration from local influences. Executive chef Rick Edge crafts carefully balanced, inventive dishes such as seafood cones stuffed with either ahi tuna or Scottish salmon and duckling with dried strawberries and bittersweet orange sauce. At the top of the Heavenly Valley tram—2,000 feet above Lake Tahoe—spectacular views are on the menu along with vegan seven-bean vegetable soup at Gunbarrel Grill (775-586-7000).
WHAT TO DO
When it’s time to après ski, don’t miss Bar One (1950 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 530- 583-6985), a Squaw Valley institution catering to tourists and locals alike with live music every Saturday afternoon throughout the ski season. For a trendier scene, visit Le Chamois & The Loft Bar (1970 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 530-583-4505; squawchamois.com), an indoor/outdoor watering hole known for its mouthwatering pizza slices and vast beer selection. At Northstar, slide off the slopes and directly into the Chocolate Bar (7001 Northstar Dr., Truckee, 530-562-1800) to warm up in front of the fire and take the edge off sore muscles with a chocolate martini. Or drop into the Cabana Bar (530-562-1010) overlooking the ice rink at Northstar-at-Tahoe, where you can cozy up next to a fire pit.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SHAWN REEDER (DUCKLING)