Search for lodging

-- +
Under 13
-- +

10 Local’s Secrets to Surviving Tahoe During the Holidays

By: Nicole Reitter

Everyone enjoys visiting Lake Tahoe during the holidays and throughout the winter, but nobody enjoys the agitating traffic, endless crowds and staggering waits at restaurants and shops. This season allow us to let you in on a few tips, tricks and local’s secrets to help make your mountain getaway stress-free and truly spectacular.

1. Visit the Truckee, Tahoe City and King’s Beach Safeways only during off-hours (early morning or late night). Or, try Save Mart—which is always substantially less crowded.

2. If you’re staying in Tahoe Donner, take the “back way” into town—meaning, Alder Creek Road instead of Northwoods Boulevard. It’s a bit longer route, but it’s sure to be less congested & you can avoid steep & scary Northwoods, which is icy & slippery on a cold Truckee evening.

3. Head to the ski resorts early- i.e. by 7:30 am – for premium parking, minimal traffic and a tasty bite before hitting the slopes. Jump start your day with a 2%, extra whip, no foam, venti what-what at Starbucks in Northstar California’s ski village, or grab n’ go with a piping hot Belgian Waffle at a Euro Snack kiosk.

4. Visit some of our lesser-known cafes & restaurants – like Coffeebar on Jibboom Street in downtown Truckee (their cappuccinos, crepes & paninis are, hands down, the best around) or Red Truck at the Truckee Airport (serving up exquisite, crave-ables like ‘naanwiches’ & my personal favorite, the ‘chicken tikka masala quinoa bowl’). You’ll be treated to some of the area’s tastiest food & drink… & a less frenzied overall dining experience.

5. When your ski day is through, stick around and enjoy a live band, ice skating, a well-deserved après ski beverage, or even complimentary s’mores round the firepit at Northstar CaliforniaTM. You’ll avoid the bulk of the traffic exiting the resorts and keep the fun going long after the slopes have closed.

6. Leave the dirty work to your Concierge. Tahoe Mountain Resorts Lodging’s Concierge can take care of your pre-arrival groceries, arrange transportation and childcare, or purchase and deliver lift tickets directly to your residence. Better still, skip the crowded rental shops and get fitted for your gear in the comfort of your living room. Prices are comparable, and yet what you save in hassle and headache is priceless.

7. Make dinner reservations. Simple as this may seem, make reservations. The population of the Tahoe area over quadruples during peak periods and, as such, there aren’t enough restaurants to service such a massive influx of folks.

8. Visit our nearby neighbor, Reno. Reno doesn’t see the increase in tourism that Tahoe does, yet it’s a fun place to go with many excellent restaurants and, of course, gambling and nightlife downtown. But did you also know Reno has a great riverwalk, movies, top name concerts, even Trader Joes, Whole Foodsand an outdoor mall? It’s The Biggest Little City you really ought to visit during a trip to the mountains.

9. Pile ’em in. Consider booking a ski-in, ski-out ‘resort living’ residence with multi-bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining area and family room. Cook some meals in, play Yahtzee or watch a movie around the fire. Everyone in the family gets a bedroom (& Mom & Dad get some peace and quiet after the kids have gone to bed). Or, several families can stay together & play together. Hotels are just so 2009….mountains.

10. Look and book online. Your deepest discounts for lift tickets are going to be found on ski resort websites, and checking out sites like will give you the ins and outs of events in the region as well as the scoop on dining, spa, lodging and outdoor adventure deals.