Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in the Winter

By Tim Hauserman

Friday January 17 dawned beautiful and clear after over a foot of snow at lake level. It was a true powder day that brought every powder hound around town to the downhill slopes. While I’m sure the downhill skiing and snowboarding was extraordinary, I took the right turn to Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area, where the cross country skiing was spectacular, and the crowds were practically non-existent. 

Most of my skiing days are on skate skis, as it is my favorite sport. When more than a foot of snow falls, however, classic skiing is a good alternative. All that fresh pow can take a few days to pack down tight and fast, which is best for skating, while the cold, new stuff is a classic skier’s dream. This explains why a lot of Tahoe folks go downhill skiing when the snow is new, and then a few days later, make their way over to the nordic ski areas to skate ski.

This past month the skate skiing has been off the charts good, so my classic skiing muscles were a bit out of shape. But there is something mediative and relaxing about the gentle rhythm of kicking and gliding your way down a perfectly smooth set of tracks. You roll along at just the right speed to fully appreciate the panorama of that smooth blanket of untouched snow, as above you thick clumps of frosting cover the branches of the white fir, jeffrey pine and incense cedar. 

I ran into a friend at the trailhead who spends a lot more time classic skiing than I do, so by skiing with her I skied a faster pace and more kilometers than I might have done otherwise. I was pretty proud of myself for pushing my envelope, but on those last few k’s I had this sinking feeling my body might be talking to me the next day.

Yep, here I am writing this on the next day and my hip flexors have their hands on their hips, looking at me with that knowing glare asking why I skied that far, and my shoulders are stepping up with their objections as well. But when the snow is there and the joy is to be had, you get out there. Because really, what is more fun than playing in the snow? So time to get my sore body up, and hit the trail. 

by Tim Hauserman

Before bedding down for a much needed sleep on Christmas Night I listened to the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. Reluctantly it was the last time I would get to hear it this year. It has been my background music for Christmas’ for over 30 years. And just like that 30 years, this Christmas has come and gone, leaving memories, which is what Christmas is all about. 

The long ago memories of my childhood revolve around immense gatherings of my older siblings and their wild brood of urchins taking over my parents house. There were football games on the street (the telephone poles were the touchdown lines, the edge of the road the sidewalk); enormous turkey dinners were followed by turkey and cranberry sandwiches, and lusty Christmas morning attacks into the pile of paper wrapped presents while we drank Ramos fizzes. There is also a less stellar memory of spending the entire Christmas Day watching my beloved Kansas City Chiefs lose the playoff game that turned into the longest game in history.

Then there are the more touching, and quieter, memories of a few decades later of Christmas times with my daughters. Christmas began a few weeks early, with the harvesting of a Charlie Brown tree from the forest nearby, and the girls setting up the lights and their favorite ornaments. I was always the first one up Christmas morning, perhaps still holding out hope in the deepest recesses of my brain that someone had secretly hid my Red Rider BB Gun behind the tree. This was a fitting dream because  “The Christmas Story” was always on in the background throughout the day. 

Kids in their jammies and me in my ugly Christmas sweatshirt, we slowly made our way though the presents. Quite sedated in comparison to the crazy free for all of dozens of happy kids simultaneously ripping apart the packages that I remember from my childhood. Presents were followed by a glorious breakfast of eggs and bacon and lox and bagels…and cinnamon rolls…,and coffee and hot chocolate…

Now, alas, the kids are all grown, and I cherish the opportunity to get together with them briefly around the holidays when it works for them, this year, at Thanksgiving.These get togethers are still poignant with the memories of those early years. As a parent, every phase of our child’s lives are rewarding, but the best age we will ever experience the true joys and mystery of Christmas are between 5 and 15 years old.  

This Christmas Eve was a quiet one with my girlfriend Joyce, and it gave me the opportunity to cherish her memories. Her Christmas tree was loaded with ornaments from around the world, each commemorating a treasured visit to a special place. At the base of the tree was a manger, built by her grandfather over 80 years ago. We toasted to her childhood Christmas memories, and to all those who smiled brightly in those ancient photos that are no longer with us. And expressed gratitude that we are still kicking and gliding. 

This Christmas morning I put on my Santa hat and green ski pants and spent my day saying “Merry Christmas” and “what size shoe do your wear” to the throngs of visitors at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area. I found joy from seeing how excited they were to be spending their Christmas in the snow at Lake Tahoe. Hopefully, giving their kids Tahoe Christmas memories that they will enjoy decades down the line. 

by Tim Hauserman 

Looking for a great way to spend your evenings after a day of skiing? The Tahoe Film Fest brings a fascinating variety of films to North Lake Tahoe December 5th through the 8th in Incline Village, Crystal Bay and Northstar. The Film Fest benefits the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), and their programs of science education and research at Lake Tahoe.

Robert Roussel is the director of Tahoe Film Fest. He has been putting on film festivals for nearly 30 years and has been the director of the Tahoe Film Fest for the past four years. He founded The Film Series for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Berkshire Film Festival and the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival with Anjelica Houston. 

The Tahoe Film Fest opens with “Marriage Story” starring an all star cast including Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, and Alan Alda. There will be over a dozen environmentally oriented films, productions about fascinating musicians, and a focus on Latin Cinema. 

“They have put out some outstanding Latin films. We screened ‘Roma’ last year before we realized how successful it would be,” said Roussel. “There will a documentary of Raul Julia, a great actor who died so young and Harvest Season, about immigrant Mexican’s picking grapes in the Napa Valley.” 

Films screened include: 

Echo in the Canyon-which explores the popular music the came out of LA’s Lauren Canyon in the mid-60s, and features Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan

Linda Ronstadt-The Sound of my Voice

David Crosby: Remember my name

Clarence Clemons: Who do you think I am?  (He was the sax player for Bruce Springsteen)

The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Price

The Story of Plastic

The Condor and the Eagle

Pollinators

Honeyland

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

The River and the Wall 

Raul Julia: The Worlds A stage

Midway

Map of Paradise

Harvest Season

Eating Animals 

To view the full schedule for the Tahoe Film Fest, get more information on the films, and to purchase tickets go www.tahoefilmfest.com. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. All access passes are also available for $75 which give entrance to all the films, and four after parties to be held at Crystal Bay Casino.

By Tim Hauserman 

Need to do a bit of work while you are visiting Lake Tahoe? The Tahoe Mill Collective at the entrance to Alpine Meadows has just expanded to a second location in the center of Tahoe City. The new space has six private offices and desks for rent in an open concept space. There is also a conference room, kitchen, lake views, a gym next door and the famous Pete and Peters bar just across the parking lot. In addition,  Commons Beach and the Lakeside bike trail are just across the highway, Alpenglow Sports is next door, The Cobblestone Center is a block away, and the Tahoe City Golf Course sits right behind the building. I know, sorry, this might be way too many distractions to get your work done, or maybe it is an incentive to get to it so you can go out and play. 

“We know you come to Tahoe to get away and unplug—spending time with friends and family outside. But sometimes, you’ve still got to crank out a few emails, make a conference call, or check in on work from afar, and it can be hard to do that in a vacation home filled with others and possibly limited cell service and wifi,” said Megan Michelson, co-founder manager of Tahoe Mill
Collective.  

“We created the Tahoe Mill Collective, a coworking space in North Lake Tahoe, for just that reason. We offer desk and office space for remote workers, freelancers, start-ups and anyone who needs a quiet place to get work done while they’re in Tahoe. Whether you’re a full-time local or a visitor just here for a couple of days, we’ve got permanent spots and drop-in desks available for rent for the day or week (drop in rates start at $30/day, $75/week, or $150-$250 for the month), as well as conference rooms for small groups.”

For more information on the Tahoe Mill Collective  go to www.tahoemill.com

On a personal note, I’ve been familiar with this property since I was a wee tike. It once housed Kehoe’s Market, the only grocery store in town when I lived up the street where The Cobblestone is now. When I was seven I would obtain my candy money by gathering up recyclable bottles and returning them to Kehoe’s.  

By Tim Hauserman

Big winters like this one are a perfect opportunity to combine two of Tahoe’s favorite pastimes: Downhill skiing and water skiing. Homewood Mountain Resort happens to be the perfect place to make it happen, so they are continuing a tradition that has been going on for 15 years with the Gates and Wakes competition on April 6th. 

Sponsored by Superior Boat and Repair, Gates and Wakes supports the High Fives Foundation   Participants first race gates for two runs each at Homewood. Then in the afternoon, the water skiing segment commences across the highway at Homewood High and Dry Marina.  Racers will take turns executing turns on Lake Tahoe behind Superior Boat’s Ski Nautique.

Competitors need to bring their own skis, both snow and water, and their own wetsuit for the water ski portion. Given that the temperature will be in the 50s, a wetsuit is pretty darn essential. It will be the combined snow and water skier that will win the competition. As Homewood says: “The top three places will be rewarded with unlimited bragging rights, prizes, and a trophy.”

Fees: $45 for Homewood Season Pass Holder, $95 for non-passholder. Registration includes both events and lunch is included in the fee. There is also a two day pro challenge entry for $150. The pro-challenge starts with a two round slalom waterski completion in Rio Linda, CA on April 5th, followed by the Gates and Wakes at Homewood on April 6th. 

by Tim Hauserman

This winter we’ve seen some spectacular days of skiing through deep snow, and day upon day of less spectacular never ending shoveling so we can get to our car and ski. All that snow has been beautiful, but also exhausting. Which for many of us means, it’s time to get some body work done. And I don’t mean the kind on your car (although given the driving conditions, that is a possibility as well). Fortunately, Tahoe City is loaded with opportunities, to get your body worked on by professionals who will ease the pain of winter, and get you back out on the snow with a smile on your face. 

As I write this I smell like citrus from the massage oil my massage therapist Lisa Goodman rubbed into my tired back, legs and shoulders yesterday. Lisa owns Massage on the Lake, which is located next to the New Moon health food store just down Highway 89 a half mile from Tahoe City. She has spent a lot of time over the years working out my skate skiing and bike riding caused kinks, but yesterday she noticed new places of tenseness in my back and shoulders. Several times I heard her say as I was tensing up…”Oh, yeah, that’s a shoveling spot right there.” Have you done too much shoveling? Reach out to Lisa she will do her best to loosen it up a bit. massageonthelake.com 

While massage is a special treat, you can do more regular maintenance by attending one of the yoga classes at The Yoga Room, Tahoe. They are located just across the parking lot from Hauserman Rental Group in the Cobblestone. They have several classes each day, as well as a regular array of fun events. Yoga Room is also home base for monthly group Acupuncture Clinics with two acupuncturists who grew up in Tahoe City, Lauren Corda and Tyler Lapkin. yogaroomtahoe.com 

Another option is to hit up Dr. John Walsh at Sierra Sports Care and Chiropractic. John’s a life long Tahoe guy and former US Ski Team member who focuses on working on the aches and pains caused by us wanna be athletes. I’m not sure whether shoveling is a sport, but this year, it is certainly has been what we have been spending the most time doing.  Contact John at tahoedc.com. He also is located in The Cobblestone Center. 

By Tim Hauserman

Since 1984 the first week of March in North Lake Tahoe has meant it is time for Snowfest! It begins on February 28th and goes through March 10th, and is a gathering of friends at parties and parades, There are  lots of classic quirky events that have been going on for decades, as well as new events that are making their debut. This year Snowfest will be a much needed chance to take a break from all the shoveling and let your hair down. 

The first weekend of Snowfest! focuses on Tahoe City, while on the second weekend Kings Beach is the happening place. Here’s what’s happening March 1-3rd: 

Friday afternoon the Pioneer Cocktail Club in the center of town has a block party during the afternoon, then the fireworks fly over the lake at 7:30 above Tahoe City’s Commons Beach. Later, Hacienda Del Lago in the Boatworks is the place to catch live music. 

Saturday March 2nd it’s time for probably the biggest attraction at Snowfest. The Tahoe City Parade. It’s a small town parade where half the town is in the parade and the other half is waving at their friends (I hear a rumor that Hauserman Rental Group will be a star attraction). Before the parade you can carb up at the Firefighter’s Pancake Breakfast. After the parade stay in Tahoe City for the fun Tahoe Community Nursery School party, Pete and Peter’s Post Parade Party, or Paint the Snowman contest. 

A little later at 2:30 pm make your way to Garwood’s in Carnelian Bay for the Polar Bear Swim. Where a few hearty souls tackle a rather lengthy swim in Lake Tahoe in March (Yes, it is very cold). 

Wind down your Tahoe City fun at the Tahoe Art Haus in the Cobblestone for the Haus Brewfest where five breweries will be showing off their wares, and food, live music and games are to be had. 

Sunday morning, March 3 you could begin your day by joining the throngs skiing in The Great Ski Race from Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area to Truckee if you can ski 30 kilometers. 

Those not up for a race, could instead watch the dogs doing the slogging at the Dog Pull at Cafe Zenon, or eat your own dogs at the Fat Cat’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. If you are not too full after all those hot dogs, go Hawaiian, at the Sunnyside Luau, where you can get tropical drinks and hula pie. 

Want to hear about all the fun stuff in Kings Beach next weekend? Well, keep your eyes peeled for my next post. Or all the event information can be found at tahoesnowfest.org 

(By the way this photo is of my daughter Hannah about ten years ago riding in the parade after she was crowned Snowfest Queen…it was destiny since she was born on the opening night of Snowfest.)