Skiing, Boarding Not Your Thing?
Winter excursions in Reno Tahoe USA aren't restricted simply to the slopes. While Reno Tahoe is home to the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America, the opportunities to explore the outdoors without buying a lift ticket are endless.
Dog sledding offers one of the most unique opportunities to explore the snow-covered countryside of the Sierra. Wilderness Adventures operates out of the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley (daily tours) and Sugar Bowl (appointment and reservation only) where teams of eight to 10 dogs pull custom-made sleds at five-to-seven MPH with stops for snow play, pictures and hot chocolate. Kirkwood Resort offers dog sledding with Running Creek Sled Dog Rides, with daily meadow tours as well as full moon and backcountry excursions. "Fast rides” (with a team of race dogs) and lessons are also available.
Cross-country and snowshoe centers are commonly found at most ski areas as resorts are expanding services and activities to appease all travelers. Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Resort at Squaw Creek, Sugar Bowl and Tahoe Donner are all home to full-service centers and trail systems. Spooner Lake on Lake Tahoe's Southeast shore has more than 80 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails spreading through 9,000 acres and endless backcountry terrain to explore. Spooner Lake also offers two wilderness cabins for overnight treks. For true solitude, visitors can rent snowshoes at nearly every sporting good and rental shop in the region. Rental locations also have a knowledgeable staff on hand to assist with maps and directions. Popular spots include the meadow on Mt. Rose Highway and Page Meadows in Tahoe City.
Deep down everyone's wanted to pirouette around the ice or check like Gretzky. With half a dozen ice rinks in the region, it won't be hard to find a convenient location to lace up. The South Tahoe Ice Arena is a full-service, state-of-the art facility offering both figure skating and hockey lessons in addition to daily public skate times. Squaw Valley's rink is perched upon an 8,200-foot mountaintop. The year-round, open-air rink is one of High Camp's main attractions with incomparable views of the Sierra. Northstar-at-Tahoe's rink is located in the heart of the village and is surrounded by fire pits where spectators can warm their toes and make s'mores. The seasonal rink offers roller-skating with rentals in the warmer months. Kirkwood also offers an open-air, seasonal rink, while quaint, Rockwell-esque rinks can also be found at The Resort at Squaw Creek and Truckee River Regional Park. For those at ease in the city, the Rink on the River in downtown Reno sits above the Truckee River and is open daily through the winter, depending on conditions.
Snowmobiling offers a more exhilarating and less strenuous way to experience the Sierra backcountry. This adrenaline-pumping activity is suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities with tours available around the lake and throughout the Sierra Nevada. Zephyr Cove Resort is one of the largest snowmobile tour centers in the U.S. and takes guests through mountain meadows and up to 9,000-foot lake-view peaks above South Lake Tahoe. Zephyr Cove also provides complimentary transportation from many South Shore properties. Tours led by Eagle Ridge Snowmobile depart from Little Truckee Summit (north of Truckee) and include "play areas”, where guests are allowed to go off-trail through large open meadows and experiment with their skills. Two, three and four-hour tours are available, as well as full-day, moonlight and two-day excursions. Mountain Lake Adventure's Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours explore more than 100 miles of trails above Kings Beach with expansive views of the entire lake. Three tours are offered daily and reservations are strongly recommended.
From white-knuckle speed to a leisurely traditional gallop, sleigh rides round out the eclectic off-slope offerings. Borges Sleigh Rides in South Lake Tahoe takes guests for storybook rides in handmade sleighs fit for two to 20. The unmistakable sound of jingle bells sets the tone as beautiful Belgium horses dash over the meadows and through the woods. Sunset and dinner rides are available.
For additional information about Reno Tahoe USA, or to book a winter getaway, go to 800-FOR-RENO (367-7366) or www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.
Reno-Tahoe USA offers visitors a year round, 24-hour destination - a play all day and night atmosphere you won't find anywhere else. Reno Tahoe boasts the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America, all surrounded by 30-feet of average snow pack and 22,000 acres of skiable terrain. Reno Tahoe skiing and back country adventures come complete with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada with the added bonus of unlimited recreation, dining, entertainment and 24-hour Nevada-style gaming excitement.