When I tell you, I’ve missed traveling so much, I’ve REALLY missed traveling. In the changed world as of 2020, I’ve tried to play by the rules, remaining close to home, doing my part to keep my family safe. We went from jetting off to one destination a month to absolutely zero travel for the past two years. When listing my goals for 2022, I promised myself to start making our way to new places, safely that is. What better way to ring in the New Year than a family ski vacation to Lake Tahoe!
Lake Tahoe has been a destination high on my list for sometime now, so I was extremely excited to collaborate with Visit California in planning this trip! As most of you know, our family loves to ski! Like most, we lost an entire year on the slopes, so needless to say, we’ve all been itching to get in some turns!
We wanted to maximize the length of our trip and the kids’ days off from school, so we left New Years day, flying on a direct flight out of JFK into Reno Tahoe International Airport. We arrived super late around 10:30pm local time, so with time difference and a residual sleepiness from staying up to watch the ball drop on NYE, we were all itching to get some rest. Fortunately, the rental car counters are located adjacent to the baggage claim carousels, so we wasted no extra time at the airport. Unfortunately, it was dark and stormy when we arrived so there wasn’t much to see on the hour long drive to the hotel, but when we woke up and peeked out the hotel window, it looked as if we were in a winter wonderland. Tahoe actually broke snow fall records in the month of December, receiving over 200, yes that’s right, 200 inches! We were fortunate to be there not long after that snowfall, so the landscape was still pristine and covered in white fluff.
Our first hotel was the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, on Northstar Mountain. Following a mega in room breakfast with our post card view, we waisted waist no time heading down for our ski and snowboard rentals. True North rental shop has a location situated on the property, which is super convenient, especially with kids for families like mine. Since the Ritz is right on the mountain, it allows you ski-in and ski-out. No driving, and no buses to and from the lodge. The hotel even offers a concierge service, housing your skis, poles or boards overnight, rather than lugging your gear back to your room. We spent the entire day navigating the slopes at Northstar Mountain.
South Lake Tahoe
That evening, we headed back down to South Lake Tahoe, and checked into Lakeland Village Resort at Heavenly. Lakeland offers 19 acres of mountainside woodlands and stunning views of the lake and the Sierras. There, we stayed in a cute two bedroom condo, complete with full kitchen, fire place, and enough room to sleep an another family in the 3rd floor loft. In the morning. Lakeland Village Resort offers a private shuttle to Heavenly less than a mile away. That same shuttle is also available in the evening if you want to head to town for dinner or to just hang around. We had a rental car so the following morning, we headed straight to Ski Heavenly, for a full day of skiing and boarding. Can I tell you, the Ski Heavenly views of the lake are just beyond, so it’s no wonder where they came up with the name Heavenly!
That evening, we headed to Flatstick Pub for some indoor mini golf and dinner. This super cute spot was the kids favorite as I cannot even remember the last time we all played mini golf together! With interactive games, drinks and food, Flatstick Pub was the perfect spot for our family after a long day on the slopes. Considering that temperatures get into the single digits and below on winter nights in Tahoe, a mini golf venue that is indoors is genius!
North Lake Tahoe
Next stop was back to North Lake Tahoe, in Tahoe City, at Granlibakken Tahoe, a historic, family-owned and operated resort situated in a private, 74-acre wooded valley. They offer a variety of lodging options, from bedrooms, studios, and suites to one to eight-bedroom townhouses. Our family had the cutest one bedroom suite, with a full kitchen and fireplace. An alcove area off the living room housed 2 full sized beds, so the kids felt like they had their own apartment!
Our first stop while in town was lunch at Za’s Lakefront. Anyone who spent time in the North Lake Tahoe area in the late 1990s or early 2000s will tell you that Za’s was one of their frequent hang outs, and with the amazing view of the lake, its no wonder why.
Next it was off to do some sledding at Granlibakken! I always like to take one day off of skiing to experience everything else the mountains have to offer, not to mention, we were pretty sore not having been on the slopes in a year! And it doesn’t matter how old you are, sledding is just awesome. In addition to sledging, Granlibakken offers plenty of Sierra terrain to explore. They offer easy access to popular cross-country trailheads which provide miles of ungroomed Lake Tahoe skiing and snowshoeing terrain.
After our day of rest, it was back to the slopes. In the morning, we dropped Siella and Gemma at ski school, while Ryder enjoyed a full day at Burton Academy. While all three of my kids are great skiers and boarders, I feel that lesson allows them to continue to improve their skills. Now that they are a little older, the girls were excited to be paired together for the first time, along with other children matching their ability level and age.
Northstar is home of the only Burton Snowboard Academy in the world, and its safe to say Ryder was so stoked about this! His instructor took he and the other students to the park where he practiced some jumps and tricks.
Having the kids in ski school allowed Jason and I to spend some time together on the mountain, and we even squeezed in a romantic lunch for two! When we picked up the kids after a full day, they didn’t want to leave. Gemma said it was her favorite day of the trip!
Dining In Tahoe City
For our final night in Lake Tahoe, we wanted to splurge a little, so we stopped at Gar Woods Grill & Pier for dinner. Since we drove straight there from the mountain, it was perfect timing to catch an epic sunset over the lake and mountain on the property behind the restaurant. From inside, Gar Woods features floor to ceiling windows, a large deck and private dining rooms, and those breath-taking views of the lake. I can only imagine the vibe of that place in the summer, with the wall of windows open to the lake, and plenty of boats parked dockside. This was probably our favorite dinner of the trip, and definitely a fitting finale to the special week in the mountains.
No doubt, we will make it back to Tahoe, and maybe next time during the warmer months! Here’s to more traveling in 2022!
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