A holiday weekend is coming up, which guarantees one thing: the ski resorts will be very busy. Sure you can show up at the resorts an hour before they open and fight the crowds, or you can ditch the stress and opt for less crowded activities. Foregoing skiing or snowboarding doesn’t mean you have to forego a great weekend in Tahoe. There are plenty of other great things to do in the area and ways to spend time outside without having to go to the resort. Below I’ve listed out five of my favorite winter alternatives that I turn to when the resorts get a little too busy for my comfort.
1. Explore the Trails on Snowshoes
Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and get some exercise in the winter months. Unlike skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing is an easy activity for anyone with a moderate fitness level to pick up. If you’ve never explored the trails here in Tahoe before, I recommend checking out my blog post on three beginner trails to try in Truckee to help you get started. Also, if you don’t own snowshoes or poles, it’s easy and pretty inexpensive to rent them. I recommend picking up a pair for $20/day from Tahoe Dave’s, which has several locations around the north side of the lake.
2. Shop in Downtown Truckee
Perusing down Donner Pass Road in historic downtown Truckee is a great way to spend a sunny winter afternoon. Downtown Truckee is full of mountain charm and features unique shops, wonderful restaurants, wine tasting, and art galleries. Each store is unique and offers hidden gems you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll find everything from craft supplies and one-of-a-kind home goods, to custom jewelry and books written by local authors.
3. Try Cross Country Skiing
Similar to snowshoeing, cross country skiing is a great winter activity that will get you outdoors and exploring new trails. One of the best places to cross country ski in North Lake Tahoe is the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center located in Truckee. The Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center has been voted the Best Cross Country Center in North Lake Tahoe & Truckee by the Sierra Sun for 6 years running and in the top 10 Best Cross Country Ski Resorts in North America by USA Today. With over 100km of cross country ski trails and state-of-the-art grooming, you’re guaranteed to get plenty of exercise and adventure with a day spent here.
If you’re staying closer to the lake, you may want to check out the Tahoe City Cross Country Center. The Tahoe City Cross Country Center features 21 groomed trails of skate and classic cross country skiing. One thing that’s great about this XC Center is that you can take in views of Lake Tahoe from some of the trails.
4. Go Ice Skating
Ice skating is a great winter activity for the whole family. While most resorts in the area have ice rinks, if you are trying to avoid the traffic and parking headaches at the resorts this holiday weekend, you may want to check out the rink at the Truckee River Regional Park. Located a half-mile from downtown Truckee the ice rink at Truckee River Regional Park features public skating, rentals, private lessons, and various other ice-related activities.
5. Sample Beers at One of the Local Breweries
After a day spent exploring Lake Tahoe, who wouldn’t love sampling a few beers? Luckily the North Lake Tahoe area has several microbreweries with a broad menu of beers to choose from. Some of my favorite breweries that I frequent include Alibi Ale Works, which has locations in both Incline Village and Truckee, Fifty Fifty Brewery, The Good Wolf Brewing Company, and Truckee Brewing Company. If you go to Alibi, I definitely recommend getting a flight to try several options and pairing it with a mustache pretzel.
Enjoy the area and have a great holiday weekend! 🙂