Call 530-550-1212. Regular schedules run 7 days / week from 6:30 AM until 6:30 PM. TART service runs along 30 miles of the North Lake Tahoe shoreline including a shuttle between Tahoe City and Truckee via Hwy. 89. Buses equipped with bike racks in summer and ski racks in winter.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
– Public bus service from and to South Lake Tahoe Airport Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) has a bus stop located at the airport. The bus stop is on route 18X N.B. and E.B.
BlueGO is a service of the South Tahoe Transit Authority, operated by the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD). BlueGO provides fixed route, demand response, sky shuttles, seasonal trolley service, and commuter express routes on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and to the Carson Valley.
– South Tahoe Express
This luxury bus shuttle service offers nonstop service between the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and South Shore casinos and hotel properties. There are 8 daily departures each way from Reno between 5:45 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. and from South Shore beginning at 3:30 a.m. and ending at 11:15 p.m. Purchase tickets through your travel agent, the Welcome Center at the Reno Airport and South Shore Casinos. $27.50 per person, each way. $49.00 round trip. Children 4-12 travel for $15.50 each way or $28.00 round trip with paid adult. CALL 866-898-2463
– Amador Stage Lines
Busses for Airport Transfers, Casino Trips, Convention Event Shuttles, Golf Outings, Government contracting, Parties, Party Bus, Ski shuttles, Sporting events, Weddings, Reno ~ Lake Tahoe Bus Trips. 635 Ferrari-Mcleod Blvd. Reno, NV 89512 | 775-324-4444
– Heavenly Ski Resort
During the ski season, this resort offers FREE fixed route shuttle service to most South Shore lodging properties. The shuttle runs between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. Call for designated stops. 530-541-7548
– Sierra At Tahoe Ski Resort
During the ski season, this resort offers FREE fixed route shuttle service to most South Shore lodging properties. The shuttle runs between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. Call for designated stops. 530-541-7548
– source: onthesnow.com
Would you like to sleep and let a professional driver drive you to your favorite Tahoe resort?Book a discount SF Bay Area to Tahoe ski bus trip: one day and overnight bus trips. Enjoy a full day of skiing or riding; sleep on the way to Tahoe and watch movies on the return while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks.
* Extreme cool POWDER Van Adventure shoutout to Chris Benchetler’s fluid style as a skier (athlete and an artist) and his journey to ski fresh powder as he travels around the West Coast USA visiting various powder destinations.
GoPro: Chasing POWder AdVANture with Chris Benchetler in 4K
* What’s it like to ski/ride Japan’s famous dry champagne powder?
On the Beyond Tahoe Snow Destination ‘Bucket List’: where can you ski and ride at midnight, soak in a hot mineral water pool, then follow that up with soju shots and BBQ eats? Dragon Valley, South Korea – site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Cross Country Tahoe Ski Areas Opening Dates (Lake Tahoe Nordic skiing and snowshoeing areas)
*All opening dates posted above are based on snowfall and could change. Check with the resort before you go for the most updated information.
Map of Lake Tahoe Area Ski Resorts
map source: unofficialnetworks.com
For a detailed listing of Tahoe ski resorts, check out our handy guide to all the Lake Tahoe area ski resorts! It’s the fastest way to scan lift ticket prices and compare the resorts to find the perfect one for you.
Looking to buy gear, skis, snowboard or snow sports clothing? REI is having their REI’s Winter Sale.
Save up to big on Cold Weather Clothing and Footwear. Plus Save 50% off or more at REI Garage! Shop early for the best selection. Free U.S. Standard Shipping on all Skis and Snowboards. Earn a $100 REI Gift Card when you apply for an REI Mastercard. Browse clearance sale items.
Lake Tahoe Area Ski Leases and Vacation Rentals: SnowPals is a Good Value Listing / Advertising Alternative to VRBO and Airbnb
About SnowPals.. we have been connecting busy SF Bay Area snow-sports enthusiasts together to share skiing, snowboarding experiences and to share ski leases / to book Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals for the last 21 years since 1999.
Advertise on SnowPals by listing your Tahoe rental, seasonal ski lease or family / group members ski lease share to get results.
Feedback from property owners who have listed with us:
“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay.
“I think SnowPals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of SnowPals. We actually found this ski lease last year on SnowPals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $40 listing fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks SnowPals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if SnowPals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo | Page down to read more feedback from property owners, ski lease groups and families who have listed on SnowPals.
Are you looking for a good value alternative to listing your vacation rental or ski lease on Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey or HomeAway? We offer a simple and low $40 ad listing fee; notably we do not charge renters and we’ve been connecting property owners with renters since 1999.
Are you not getting noticed because your listing is on sites next to thousands of other properties? What does it matter if your target audience can not find you?
SnowPals’ listing is affordable, user friendly, and niche targeted to Lake Tahoe vacation rentals and ski leases. We’ve been helping vacation rental owners increase their booking referrals since 1999 by connecting SF Bay Area professionals who enjoy snow sports with Tahoe area property owners to book vacation rentals and ski lease organizers looking for seasonal ski lease members.
For 21 years, SnowPals have been connecting San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors to Tahoe together for outdoor activities and snow sports. SnowPals’ 8,230 members list (as of October 2019) grows yearly and we have a 16,000+ audience reach for social media, newsletter list and new visitors to our website; the chart below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ visitor statistics from Google Analytics:
Get results: increase your vacation rental bookings by advertising on SnowPals to reach your Lake Tahoe rentals target audience.
Comparison of Airbnb & VRBO Advertising / Listing Fees
AirBnB listing fees: Takes 3% of the overall rental price (plus added fees) as their charge. This includes credit card processing fees also. (note: guests are apparently charged 6-12% of the booking as a fee to them, so keep this in mind when pricing your home compared to your competition).
VRBO listing fees: They have the option of no listing fee and 10% fee per booking. This includes the credit card processing fees also. You can also choose to pay a yearly fee starting at $349 for the year. It says there’s a 0% fee, but it’s a bit misleading since you still have to pay for credit card processing. So in reality it’s a 10% fee with no yearly fee or a 3% with $349/yr. (or more depending on plan). SnowPals is a good value alternative to listing on Airbnb and VRBO for the Lake Tahoe area; list your vacation rental or ski lease to get booking referrals. To get an idea of what people are listing; browse vacation rentals and ski leases.
Are you considering turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease?
Reviews And Feedback From People Who Have Listed With Us
== The following are feedback/reviews from ski lease/vacation rental advertisers who have listed with SnowPals who sent in their feedback directly instead of posting to Facebook. ==
“Another year, another house filled! Will we ever have continuity of ski lease members? Probably not. Thank you SnowPals for making the worst part of ski season as easy as possible.” – Malcolm; listed: Alpine Meadows ski lease. Ski lease filled on 11/10/2019.
“I highly recommend using SnowPals to post your available ski lease. I listed my ski lease to look for 2 more ski lease members for my ski lease and it worked perfectly within 1 week of posting. Thanks Snow-Pals!” -Caroline, listed: Tahoe City Ski Lease. Two membership spots filled on 10/9/2019.
“We had our place posted on Airbnb as a Winter Ski Lease and on other online listings for about 4 months and maybe had 3-4 inquiries. Within 1 day of posting our chalet for winter ski lease rental on SnowPals, we had immediate inquiries and we had it leased within a couple of weeks. Tim is great to work with and made the process super easy. I will definitely continue to use SnowPals listing!” – Margie, property owner of Tahoe City Chalet. 10/2/2019; you can also read this review on SnowPals Facebook Page to verify.
“SnowPals has been a huge help in finding the last few member of our ski lease this year. Not only does the service act as a recruiting tool, it is a great resource for members to see lease specifics and photos of the house even after they have signed up. Creating a listing was easy, and personally I thought the advertising support was extremely responsive to emails. Thanks for offering a great service.” – Jonas of Truckee New Luxury House 11/16/2018
“I’ve been a member of Snow Pals since it started. For the last two years I have been using the cabin share ad listing on SnowPals to fill vacancies in my seasonal rental. For the money involved this is a great deal as it targets a very direct market. It’s incredible that so many Bay Area snow sports enthusiasts get together in this manner. Highly recommended.” – John W. of Donner Lake Cabin Share 10/5/2018
“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay 10/1/2018
“Thanks to your wonderful website, our cabin is now full for the 2018-19 ski season. This is our 6th season advertising our ski lease on SnowPals. I had about 35 people contact me for the listing this year. I don’t know how you they do it, but with SnowPals we get only professional folks and most of them people familiar with snow country. I had tried craigslist and pretty much just got people who wanted to pay $100 and have someplace to lay their head, and could they make the $100 payment in two payments. When I switched to Snowpals.org I found almost exclusively professional working people who had no trouble paying the full lease membership fee and who appreciates a nice, uncrowded place, which is how we do our cabin. THANKS!!” – JoAnn M. of Alpine Meadows Luxury Ski Lease 09/10/2018
“Snowpals ski lease listing is the best for the Tahoe area lease and rental market advertising! It’s well worth the $40 listing fee which is comparatively very cheap. I very much appreciate all you guys do in attracting folks who share a passion for snow sports.” – Christine S. of Tahoe Donner Truckee Ski Lease 9/6/2018
“Thank you Snowpals. I have listed my vacation rental property for the last 4 years with great results. The results from Snowpals advertising brings me good responsible renters every year. I only list with Snowpals now.” – Randy S. of North Tahoe Home Rental 9/6/2018
“I’ve listed my ski lease ads on Snowpals over the past several years. The ads have helped me greatly in filling the memberships in my ski annual ski leases. They have also given me the opportunity to meet and get to know and create some great friendships over the years!” – Jack D. of Lake View Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/4/2018
“Our Snowpals ski lease ad listing worked great. We posted the ad on a Wednesday, and had filled the last 4 spots in our house within 6 days. We had plenty of responses which allowed us to be selective and ensure a good fit for the house. We would definitely use it again. Thanks!” – Kelle & Marc of Great Donner Lake Ski Lease 12/5/2017
“Snowpals offer a great ski lease listing service! I was uncertain at first about whether we’ll actually find someone we wanted to share a ski lease with, however lots of people ended up approaching me of all ages and backgrounds. Most of those seemed like they would be a good fit, and it only took me a single meeting with one of the first responders to decide it would be awesome to share a lease with. I give SnowPals a rating of 10/10; would re-list next year if we need people to join our ski lease!” Jaco R. of Heavenly Kirkwood Ski Lease 11/18/2017
“Listing my ski lease on Snowpals helped us fill the remaining 5 spots with cool people (and great skiers, even one woman who has trained with the US ski team!). It’s better than posting on Craigslist, because all of the people who reach out are actual ski/snowboard enthusiasts. Would definitely recommend, and $40 is totally worth it–just put it into your ski lease budget–a drop in the bucket for great ski members additions!” – Alan A. of Ski Palace Tahoe City Ski Lease 11/16/2017
“I can’t say enough about how great my experience with Snowpals was! Snowpals made it easy and logistically possible to find cool ski / snowboarders for our house!! You know the people you find and who find your listing are like minded, and love to be in the snow! The vetting process is so much faster, and it’s a great community to get involved with.” – Michelle M. of Squaw Valley Ski Lease 11/08/2017
“This is our second season using Snowpals to find the last couple members of our ski lease. It’s easy to post and we end up getting tons of responses! We’ve had so much success that every person we’ve found so far on Snowpals has joined the cabin for the next season! Definitely worth $40 ad fee!” – Miriam M. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 11/02/2017
“For the second year in a row I found great tenants in less than a week on Snowpals aka SkiPals. So much more efficient than using Craigslist, which attracts all the international people on visas, and Airbnb, which attracts weekend rentals. Will continue to be my go to Snowpals to list my ski lease.” – Kathleen M. of Kings Beach Ski Lease 10/26/2017
“I’ve now used Snowpals two years in a row to fill my ski lease and it’s been an amazingly smooth process! There are so many fun people who share my enthusiasm for ski season – and are all courteous, helpful, clean, and overall a blast to hang out with. I can’t imagine going back to trying to hunt down unsure friends! Snowpals is now my go-to for filling my ski lease every year.” – Agatha of Heavenly Four Bedroom Ski In Out Ski Lease 10/5/2017
“We’ve used SnowPals for the last couple of seasons and compared to other listings it’s brought in the best leads by far. Keeping our listing up-to-date is always easy, and this year we didn’t bother to list anywhere else… it’s not worth the time or trouble vs relying on SnowPals.” – Robert H. of Beautiful NEW Truckee Luxury House 10/2/2017
“I think Snowpals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of Snowpals. We actually found this ski lease last year on Snowpals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $35 fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks Snowpals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if Snowpals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo 9/26/2017
“I am please to let you know that we filled our ski lease in Tahoe Donner. I am sold on Snowpals! Last time we were in the market for a replacement, we advertised on CraigsList and this was a much more pleasant experience! Thanks for your help.” – Laurie B. of Beautiful Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/22/2017
“Tim and the Snow Pals’ team have made filling our ski lease drop dead simple. One post and we fill our lease right up.” – Micaiah F. of Meyers Ski Lease 9/18/2017
“We have successfully used Snowpals to fill a few vacancies in our house over the years (pre-season and mid-season). We received multiple responses in a short amount of time, and nobody flaked (unlike experience with other sources). Snowpals is definitely worth the minimal advertising investment.” – Jen W. of Carnelian Bay Ski Lease 11/30/2016
“Snowpals is a great site to get quality referrals for our vacation rental. I received more than 23 different enquirers and had my vacation rental condo booked for as a ski lease within a month of posting. I am pleased with the professional renter we were connected with and look forward to using SnowPals again next year.” – Kathleen M. of Northstar Condo Vacation Rental 11/25/2016
“Thanks to Snowpals we went from 5 members and an expensive, empty house to a dynamic group of 11 consisting of regular and weekdays only members in about a month’s time. A $40 listing fee saved the original members over $1200 each, and we all made new friends!” – Kate S. of South Lake Tahoe Ski Lease with Hot Tub 11/24/2016
“Snowpals is a great resource which helped us to find additional members for our ski lease. We now have a fun winter to look forward to with a great group of skiers from San Francisco. Snowpals’ website was easy to use, and ad placement just took a few minutes and we got tons of responses. I would definitely use Snowpals again.” – Alexis R. of Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 11/21/2016
“I was astounded by how much high quality interest I got through Snowpals – I could have easily filled my lease twice over. Tim at Snowpals was very responsive; great experience overall, would use it again and would be happy to recommend to others.” – Anne R. of Tahoe City Ski Lease Memberships 10/27/2016
“Snowpals saved our winter this year! We wanted to organize a ski lease but had friends who were unsure if they could commit. We listed our lease on snowpals in mid September and were able to fill it by the end of September. And the people we met are amazing! I would highly recommend using snowpals for anyone trying to organize a ski lease.” – Agatha B. of Heavenly Ski-in/out Ski Lease 9/28/2016
“Snowpals is just what you need if you are trying to fill your ski lease with quality members. I posted an ad on Snowpals, and within 9 days I had received a dozen inquiries. We were able to close out our roster quickly and conveniently. I will use the site again for certain.” – Alex P. of Alpine Meadows Year Round Family Ski Lease 9/17/2016
“Thanks for running Snowpals’ website. Met some of my best friends on here when I found my first ski lease. This year we advertised on Snowpals and filled our ski lease memberships quickly.” – Justin H. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 9/20/2016
“Snowpals helped us find amazing families and fill our lease more quickly this year than we ever have in the past! I highly recommend snowpals for anyone who is looking to fill a few spots in their ski house!” – John H. of Tahoe Donner Family Ski Lease 9/12/2016
“Thanks for listing my ski lease quickly – in the last 10 days I got a lot of people who where interested, so now I finalized and we’re full 🙂 ! Thanks again for your help and for SnowPals, it’s great to get this done so quickly!” – Jan V., Tahoe Donner Luxury Cabin
“We found 4 great folks via Snowpals to fill up our ski lease. Totally worth the $35 ad listing fee. It usually took us longer to fill our lease with another listing service we had to pay a higher listing fee than Snowpals’. Thanks!” Mike M., Carnelian Bay Ski Cabin
“Last year we advertised on both Snowpals and Craigslist. The Craigslist responders were to a person looking for the cheapest bed possible, with one scammer who wanted to come look at the house when we weren’t there, and tried to get all sorts of information from me. The Snowpals responders (last year and this year), were professional, business owners, professors, and high tech people. We will certainly be back next year!”- JoAnn M, ski lease organizer, Alpine Meadows Ski Lease
“I’m very happy with the quality of people referrals your site attracts. Keep up the good work!” – Sandy W., owner of Truckee Rental House
“It was awesome posting on Snowpals! Within 36 hours, I received a bunch of responses in my inbox, and our listing closed fairly quickly. All the emails were super nice and friendly, and many responses were from people already familiar with the Tahoe area and experienced in previous ski leases, which was a huge plus!” – Cindy L., Tahoe City Ski Lease
“SnowPals is a far better resource than Craigslist or the local papers. For several years running I’ve managed to find excellent full season renters in a very short time and with minimal hassle. Thanks Snowpals!” — Chris K., Markleeville homeowner
“We got about twice as many queries from SnowPals as from Craigslist. The queries seemed from ‘more normal’ people, and it was nice to not have to hit renew every few days.” – Trent G., Donner Lake Ski Lease
“Advertising my ski lease on Snowpals was quick, easy and highly effective! In no time, I had responses from really nice, high-caliber potential ski cabin members. I filled my spots in no time with people I really like, who are a great fit for the cabin.” – Heather D. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease
* Read additional reviews from people who have advertised / listed their Tahoe vacation rental and ski lease on SnowPals’ Facebook page:
By Vicki Olds, aka Shibumi – “Snowpals Reporter At-Large”
Last week we asked some “locals” how they felt about the new management at Kirkwood. This week we’re highlighting a few dining destinations, and one historic B&B, along the way, and in Kirkwood Valley.
Let’s face it: Kirkwood is Big Mountain Fun—so close to the San Francisco Bay Area, you can practically smell it in the tule fog that makes your passage through the Central Valley, at times, harrowingly poetic. Yet getting from here to THERE can be a long haul, chomping 6-8 hours of your waking life in the to-and-fro, and that’s not accounting for a traffic accident (drive safely, always!) on two-lane Hwy 88. Boo. Goodness gracious, aren’t we lucky to have SnowPals to ride with to make the time fly?
Certainly, hitting the road in the pre-dawn to make the slopes and back by 9pm in a whirlwind, mission-from-God-type, herculean effort, is something many of us have done because, like, there’s no good reason to dally in the valley? Are you one of those people who feels lost if your smart phone can’t find a Starbucks near? Do you race along the byways of the Sacramento River delta, determined to put as many miles behind you as your gas tank and bladder will allow with no favorite pit stop?
On Hwy 88, and about fifteen miles northeast of Stockton, you will find the hamlet of Lockeford, home of the COUNTRY CAFÉ that opens every day at 5:30am. This is the place you bring your big appetite, to leave it behind. Breakfast burritos ($7), chicken fried steak and eggs ($9), and the Combo Special of waffles plus 3 eggs plus 3 sausages ($8.50) are eye openers. Fish & chips, homemade salsas and generous Mexican dinners, such as Chili Verde Steak with rice & beans ($10.29), are served until 8pm—except on Tuesday when the cafe closes at 2pm. Have a beer and try the Gnarley Head house wines, locally-produced by Oak Ridge Winery in nearby Lodi CA.
THE INN AT LOCKE HOUSE is a beautifully restored bed and breakfast operation on property listed on the National Register of Historic Places, about 1,000 feet north from town center on Elliot Road. Proprietors, Lani and Richard Eklund bought the original estate of Dr. Dean J. Locke, founder of Lockeford, twenty years ago; fixed it up with love of finer things for six years, and now offer guest rooms with private baths—some with their own fireplace—all with views of English gardens. They’ll make you an Early Bird breakfast to-go if you want to hit the road before breakfasts are served between 7-9:30am. (209) 727-5715 http://www.theinnatlockehouse.com
JACKSON and PLYMOUTH, CA
Hwy 88 takes a dogleg in Jackson, to merge, briefly, with Hwy 49 in Gold Country. You’ll pass lots of eateries and hotels here. If you want sushi, OKO SUSHI is a gem for tempura lovers. It’s by the Safeway and other fast food joints at the north end of town on Hwy 49. If you keep going north just 12 miles, the town of Plymouth is the unlikely home of Zagat’s “#1” rated restaurant in the whole Sacramento Region, TASTE. Dinner entrees range from $31 to $50; yet we have filled-up on an array of appetizers … and wines! Plymouth calls itself the gateway to famous Amador Wine Country, and Taste is a five-time winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. But it’s not fussy. And you can’t miss it as it seems the only bustle on Main Street. (Gee, I just can’t say enough about this place, so I won’t.) Try it, someday.
You’re here! Before you buckled your boots, there are several hot BREAKFAST options to hold out for. MONTE WOLFE’S MOUNTAIN KITCHEN is to the left of the Kirkwood tickets office, off the main Mountain Village plaza. Daily, from 8a-4:30p, Starbucks coffee is served alongside pastries, eggs, salads, sandwiches and soups. Say hello to Chef “Daddy Wolfe” (he’s a burner) who makes a mean Wolfe Burger with chipotle aioli, cheese, bacon, and sautéed onions—totally non-fattening! There’s a “baked potato” bar and the full-service THUNDER SADDLE BAR here to hoot in, too. Or, slide into the Red Cliffs lodge where the KIRKWOOD GENERAL STORE offers “the best breakfast sandwich on the hill,” with a full service espresso bar, at their deli, as well as other sundry comforts, 7:30a-6p. SNOWSHOE THOMPSONS at Timber Creek, Chair 7, has hot pastries, burgers and pizza—no wonder the kids love it! Open 10a-4:30p, 7 days a week.
Did you know the KIRKWOOD INN & SALOON offers a Saturday Night Prime Rib Dinner ($26.95), and $2 tacos during Happy Hour, Monday through Friday 3-5p? BUB’S PUB (nee Cornice Grill) with nine beers on tap, and veggie and casual menu options served in the glow of big-screen TVs, is everyone’s favorite sports bar. It’s been getting a facelift lately, yet when Bub’s reopens they’ll be serving Pizza & A Pint ($7.25) and Dirty Blonde Ale pints for $4 from 11a-9p. Dinner reservations are required at OFF THE WALL BAR & GRILL but you can enjoy their primo location, and upscale wine and bar choices Sunday through Thursday, with a lunch menu on Friday and Saturday only, from 11a-5p. 209-258-7365
By Vicki Olds, aka Shibumi – “Snowpals Reporter At-Large”
What does this mean for us Bay Area Snowpals, and the local Kirkwood crews who have faithfully served us for years–some of us for decades? Find out in this exclusive, two-part Snowpals report.
When Vail Resorts, a premier mountain resort development company based out of Colorado, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort, announced in March 2012 that they were joining forces, some fans of the Kirkwood resort community in California braced, defensively, for big changes; others took a big sigh … of relief.
Kirkwood is a four-season township and recreational services development, located just 11 miles south (as the crow flies) of the Lake Tahoe basin and a 35-mile drive from the city of South Lake Tahoe, on Hwy 88 in California. In the winter, Kirkwood Mountain Resort focuses on skiing and snowboarding, and hiking and mountain-biking activities in the summer. A long-time favorite of San Francisco Bay Area snow riders in-the-know, Kirkwood is famous for its epic vistas (more reminiscent of European valley ski experiences), deep snow, and challenging stacks of terrain. Now, Kirkwood is Vail Resorts’ most western and southern star for this corporation whose mission is the “experience of a lifetime” for luxury, destination-based travelers and property owners.
WHAT’S UP WITH NEW MANAGEMENT
Kirkwood opened their 2012-2013 ski season with all ski lifts operating on Friday, December 7, 2012. It was a shake-down week; a trial run for newbies and employee associates that had stuck around after the Vail Resorts buyout. We spoke with some “olde timers” who have lived, and worked, on the mountain … trying to ascertain the local’s zeitgeist in the valley.
“A lot of people wanted to leave when the new management came in. They’re really liability-minded. I mean, Kirkwood (old management) used to be ‘OK, whatever, make it work,’ and now there are all these rules and regulations. But it’s probably for good … I mean, Kirkwood was losing its ass; up to here in a lot of debt and big ideas. They had a vision for development of the valley that just didn’t fulfill as fast as it could … all these time-shares, condominiums. I blame it on global-warming.”
— 4-yr Kirkwood Maintenance Associate
“Whatever everyone says, I love it. They’re coming professional and we’re in it for the long haul. Now we don’t have to worry about the Big Picture. Vail knows what’s it’s doing. This place is going to be more beautiful than ever.
— Kirkwood Meadows homeowner, since 2002
“A lot of my friends are all ‘no’ … but they just don’t know what’s going to happen. Personally, I think things will get better because if VR hadn’t bought us, no one would be skiing Kirkwood this season. It was that bad. Now we’ll be able to do the right thing for the valley (environmental) development and us skiers. You may not notice it but by this time next year you’re going to see some changes!”
— 3-yr. Kirkwood Ski Rentals Dude
Vail Resorts also owns the venerable California mountain ski resorts of Northstar at Tahoe and Heavenly (aka The Heave) which spans Kingsbury Grade in Nevada to the east, and Ski Run Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe, California to the west. All three resorts are recognized world-class snow riding destinations, with Northstar being more “chic; family-oriented”; Heavenly serving “the masses”; and Kirkwood having a higher concentration of locals saying, “WTF! Let’s ride!” … IMHO.
So, expect Kirkwood to be spruced-up a bit; the facility equipment better maintained (not left out overnight); the walkways and byways around the Mountain Lodge ‘chopped & trimmed’; and signage for services, escapes and splurges a bit more defined. Around Kirkwood Valley, Caples Resort is under new management, and valley restaurants, and the venerable Red Cliffs Lodge, are having face-lifts, too (more on this in Part II of this report).
Safety and guest service considerations are paramount for the sugar daddy, Vail Resorts, whose affiliate, Rock Resorts, is a hotel development concern with operations in the U.S., Caribbean and Jamaica. I couldn’t find much on Vail or Rock Resorts environmental track records, operating in some of the world’s most pristine environments as they do. Yet, the slick “Echo” program video at http://www.vailresortsecho.com/ indicates a long-term, “local ecology”, marketing savvy.
Let’s hope the new mountain resort management comes through for the locals and the communities around NorthStar and Heavenly … and now, Kirkwood, in California—good for us who have been patronizing this year-around, off-the-beaten-path, treasure, and for all who care about preserving the unique environmental resources of Kirkwood Valley, Caples Creek and Silver Lake wilderness areas—and, HECK, the whole Lake Tahoe Basin, in general!
Kirkwood Mountain Resort opened its ski lifts in 1973. Now Kirkwood is a year-round resort, headquartered in the hamlet of Kirkwood, California, 1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, Kirkwood, CA 95646, 209-258-6000.
Kirkwood has 2,300 skiable acres, 12 lifts, and 65 trails. With lodge accommodations in the valley (tel. 800/967-7500), and dining options, this is a great year-round destination. The shuttle service to downtown/State Line, South Lake Taho, is $5 each way.