How to: Explore Lake Tahoe

When I was a kid, my California cousins used to do this thing my East Coast family always thought was funny - they would "go to the snow", meaning, they would go to Lake Tahoe or somewhere in the Sierras to catch a glimpse of "weather".

Now that I live in California, I get it. It is essentially somewhere between 50-70 degrees every single day of the year. I don't check the weather report because the chances of rain are so small.

I planned a trip with some friends to Lake Tahoe in early November, with a plan to go in early December. I had no expectations of snow or doing any winter adventuring. I was imagining sitting in the cabin by the fire, going for a hike, soaking in the hot tub with some spiked cider, eating some good food... 

So we were in for a surprise when it snowed 2.5 feet the day before we left for the trip! And I hate to admit it, but despite growing up on the East Coast and going to college in essentially the arctic tundra of upstate New York, I was SO EXCITED to see some fresh snow!

Instead of sitting around, we got out on the slopes for the first time in 2 years, at Northstar Resort on the north side of the lake. I had visited this mountain back in March of this year but could only go snow shoeing because the ski conditions were just so bad! 

We lucked out and had an amazing ski day - fresh powder, sunshine, and a majority of lifts and routes open, even though it was only the second week of the season!

That night, we caught the last glitters of sunset bouncing off the lake.

Sunset on the lake in winter.

Sunset on the lake in winter.

The snow, coupled with the unfrozen lake, made for a magical sight.

The next day, we had to high tail it out of there, as another big storm was coming through - and even though we left early, the snow was coming down about a quarter foot an hour, and before we had even driven a few miles past our AirBnB, we had to struggle to put our snow chains on. The usually sub 4 hour journey back home then took almost 7 hours, as snow chain advisory was on route 80 over Donner Pass. It was a harrowing experience but we survived unscathed, fortunately!

The white out conditions driving out of Lake Tahoe in a snowstorm!


Here's hoping the snow keeps falling in Lake Tahoe, and there are many more quality ski days this winter!