Go: to the SNOW
Snow is on my mind! All this rain in the Bay Area means fresh powder piling up in the Sierras. Today I thought you might appreciate a run down of the best deals I've found for visiting the snow. In no particular order, I present 3 recommended destinations. (And remember, you don't have to buy a lift ticket to enjoy the snow.)
Zephyr Point is a conference center that sits on a half-mile of southeast Lake Tahoe shoreline. It's located 3 miles from Heavenly Ski Resort. A little known fact is that they have 44 cabins available for rent to the public. I called this morning, and for this upcoming weekend they still have 12 cabins available. The cheapest one is cabin #54: it has 3 bedrooms plus a sleeping loft and is $140 a night, 2 night minimum. When you book, tell them Simply Silicon Valley referred you. I previously wrote about this opportunity, click here for the article from the archives.
The town of Arnold sits at 4,000 feet elevation and doesn't always have snow, but it certainly does right now. It's an easy drive from Silicon Valley, clocking in at just under 3 hours. I recently spent some extended time there and loved it.
Rent a cabin in the Blue Lake Springs resort community in Arnold, then kick back and breathe in the mountain air. I had no cell service, and it was fabulous. (You could also opt to stay closer to Bear Valley Mountain, which is 30 minutes up Highway 4.)
Visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where the giant redwoods are like a playground with tunnels, caves, and obstacles; it's the perfect place to play in the snow. $10 to park. They have a cozy warming hut where you can get a hot drink for free.
Dine at Sarafina's Italian Kitchen—delizioso! We ate our way around Arnold, and this was our favorite restaurant, hands-down. One order of spaghetti & meatballs fed our 3 sons, it was the perfect amount of food for them and was a great deal. Giant Burger is also a good place for an inexpensive meal. I don't recommend JJ's Dive Bar & Grill, the portions were small and the food wasn't good.
Bear Valley Mountain Ski Resort is a 30-minute jaunt up Highway 4; I recently wrote all about my experience there, click here for the article. Lake Alpine is a few miles beyond Bear Valley and is a beautiful place to explore. (In the winter, the highway closes at Lake Alpine.) Between Arnold and Bear Valley is Lube Room Saloon, a fun pub with really good food and a strong following. Don't miss it, it's THE place to stop on the way home from the mountain. My kids loved the chicken fingers, they were a big portion for $6.
Granlibakken is on the west shore of Tahoe, across the street from the lake. It's a great place to stay, they have a small ski hill and sledding right on the property. Included in your stay is a grand breakfast buffet that will power you up for a day of tromping in the snow. My family spent a week here last winter and loved it. Click here for the article from the archives.
Lots of ski resorts are close by, including the less expensive Homewood Mountain Resort. Yesterday, I shared on Instagram and Facebook that Granlibakken was having a promotion of $133/night for stays through May 31. The offer ended last night. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook to be informed about last minute deals and opportunities I come across.
A Note on Lift Tickets: We all know lift tickets are expensive, thankfully there are ways to buy them discounted. REI and Helm sell discounted lift tickets for certain mountains. I recommend you call the ski resort you want to visit and ask them how to get the best deal on your lift ticket, they'll advise you well. They know it's an expensive sport and they want to help people make it happen.