Go: Granlibakken Tahoe
What a spectacular winter we've had! Endless rain, snow mounting to the heavens, a drought-over declaration; we're puddle stomping and snow angel-ing in a west coast winter wonderland. (More rain and snow coming tomorrow!) While the weather's been delightful, the presidential transition has been quite frightful. Put these two factors together, and what do you get? You're gonna need a vacation, it should be in the snow, and I have a great idea for where you should go.
Over Christmas break, my family spent a week at Granlibakken Resort, a hidden gem on the Tahoe west shore. I was so happy with our experience that it's hard to summarize succinctly. I loved the family feel of the place; the price point; the indulgent (and complimentary) breakfast buffet fit for a queen; the sledding, ski hill, cross-country skiing trails, snow play areas, ropes course, pool, and hot tub; the complimentary New Year's Eve feast and dance party that felt like I was on a cruise line; the proximity to the lake and Tahoe City.
And, did I mention that this is the official birthplace of Tahoe skiing? Quite a distinction, indeed! In the 1920s, a Norwegian ski-jumper named Kjell "Rusty" Rustad cleared the slope of trees, installed a rope tow, and built overnight facilities. Granlibakken is Norwegian for, "a hillside sheltered by fir trees." The 300 feet of vertical is now the smallest ski mountain in all of Tahoe, but it's perfect for beginners and families with young children. You won't find cheaper (adult full day $30, child full day $20), and you can rent your gear right there for competitive rates; they also have lessons. Right next to the ski hill is a sledding hill; sledding is included when you ski/snowboard. It costs $16 to sled for the day; if you're a guest at the resort, you sled for half-off. My family spent one full day on the sledding hill—we had a blast, and got a killer workout from climbing the hill again and again.
Quick story: My friends were planning to take their children to Northstar to learn to ski, where an adult full-day lift ticket is $150, child $89. After I told them about Granlibakken, they adjusted their plans and happily reported the change saved them at least $1,000, and they loved the experience.
I hope these tips help you plan an unforgettable Tahoe vacation that doesn't break the bank. Can you say Spring Skiing?! Bring it on!
Granlibakken offers deals thru Groupon and Expedia and is active on Instragram, follow them to see recent photos of the resort. Currently, they have 54 inches of snow.
For dinners, we frequented Fat Cat in Tahoe City where they have happy hour from 4-6:30 pm with half-off appetizers and salads—my kids couldn't get enough of their insanely delicious chicken tenders. We also enjoyed a yummy fajita lunch at Blue Agave, the Tahoe City Mexican restaurant and sports bar that my uncle and aunt own—fun scene packed with regulars.