Four Heavenly Days in Lake Tahoe

posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 9:27:48 AM

Treat yourself to an adventurous escape to the mountainous region of Lake Tahoe. Known for its adrenaline-pumping slopes and breathtaking scenery, a vacation to Lake Tahoe is exactly what you need. Take a trip to the winter wonderland and enjoy four heavenly days with Vacations by Marriott.

Day One: It’s late morning when you land at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO). You collect your suitcases and skis, pick up an SUV at Hertz and make your way to your home away from home: Grand Residences by Marriott, Lake Tahoe. The one-bedroom villa you’ve booked offers ample space, a full kitchen and all of the comforts of home … perfect! After getting the gear organized and settling in a bit, you put on your coat and scarf and leave the lobby to make some leisurely laps around the ice rink just outside. You breathe in the cool air and watch as the Heavenly Valley gondolas pass by on their way up and down the mountain. You’ll be up there soon enough, but right now you’re really hungry. Stateline Brewery & Restaurant looks good. You order the Acclimator IPA and try The Scorcher, a burger prepared with jalapenos and habanera sauce. It’s a bit of a daredevil move, and it won’t be the last one on this trip.

Day Two: There’s something about the mountains — or maybe your cozy villa — that makes for a great night of sleep. It’s just what you needed, and you enjoy some pastries and hot chocolate to get ready for a day at Heavenly. Within minutes of getting your lift ticket, you reach the top of the mountain and make your first turns, heading down the Skyline Trail toward the picturesque blue waters of Lake Tahoe below. Later in the morning, you tackle the Upper Mombo and Powderbowl Run before moving over to Sam’s Dream, the Big Dipper and the California Trail. And with the intermediate terrain mostly out of the way, you graduate to the more challenging Sky Canyon and Double Down before joining the big Unbuckle après-ski party at Tamarack Lodge, which keeps the adrenaline pumping with a DJ set and culminates just after dark with a gondola ride back down the mountain — with the city lights twinkling below. What a day!

Day Three: Yesterday was totally amazing, although your enthusiasm did leave you a little sore. But after a leisurely breakfast at Driftwood Café, you head back for some more downhill fun – this time on the Heavenly Tubing Hill. With five lanes of action, you climb inside a big inflatable tube and hold hands as you quickly pick up speed on the snow. You enter a few informal “races” organized by competitive kids, then pull your phone from your jacket to snap some photos from the nearby Café Blue’s observation deck. By the time you arrive at your next stop – Serenity Spa – your pics have gotten a few “Likes” on Facebook, and a deep tissue massage is exactly what you need to rejuvenate tired muscles. Newly energized, you walk over to the Shops at Heavenly Village, where you browse the Patagonia store for eco-conscious outdoor apparel and eventually take a table at Azul Latin Kitchen to enjoy a couple of cocktails and Super Burritos.

Day Four: It’s your last full day in the Lake Tahoe area, and this morning the skis are in the SUV for the half-hour drive south to Sierra at Tahoe. You take the express lift to the top of the mountain and warm up on Sugar N’ Spice before dropping into the black diamond Upper Powderhorn and Pyramid trails. After a dozen or more runs and a snack break, you ditch the skis, rent a couple of snowboards and sign up for a two-hour lesson. The instruction is comprehensive and the instructor patient as you learn the heel-to-toe motion required for riding, as well as the upper-body movements that help you execute proper turns. You begin to catch on slowly, and you eventually make your way down some beginner trails, alternating between clean turns and wipeouts – a few of which leave you face down in the powder! But its great fun, and you’re glad you’ve been able to experience something completely new in this amazing winter wonderland.

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