- Clark Vandeventer
Living in South Lake Tahoe, I’ll confess to a bit of arrogance in watching the traffic on Highway 50 each Sunday afternoon as the tourists leave town. I live where you vacation.
I won’t let my arrogance, however, slide into snobbery, and as a local, I view myself as an unofficial ambassador whenever I find myself sharing a chairlift with someone enjoying our beautiful mountain paradise.
Since chances are we won’t happen to share a chairlift, here’s a quick introduction to some sledding and ice skating spots you can enjoy while enjoying Tahoe South.
There are snow parks where you can pay to go sledding, like Adventure Mountain at the top of Echo Summit, but those will costs you a few bucks and they can get really crowded on weekends.
To their credit, snow parks like Adventure Mountain do offer some perks. If you don’t own a sled you can rent one. There’s also a lodge so you can really make a day of it. Along with Adventure Mountain, you can also check out Hansen’s Resort, which is located right on Ski Run Boulevard.
In the free, “just a basic sled hill” category, here are some other spots to check out.
Sawmill Pond: Sawmill Pond is a popular family destination year-round in Tahoe South. At the Y, rather than turning to go onto Highway 50, just keep going on Lake Tahoe Boulevard and you’ll eventually come to Sawmill Pond on your left. There’s a small parking lot and a very gradual hill you can sled down. It’s a great spot for young kids. If you’ve got daredevils looking for an adrenaline rush, you may want to try another spot.
Water Tower Hill at the end of Wintoon Drive in Meyers: My favorite off the beaten path sledding spot, this is in a residential neighborhood adjacent to national forest land. From Highway 50 in Meyers between Echo Summit and the Bug Station, turn onto North Upper Truckee Road. Take a left onto Wintoon Drive and go all the way to the end. There’s a great hill where there used to be a water tower. Now, it’s just a fantastic sledding hill.
Kahle Park: This is a great spot and carries with it the advantage of being in a wide-open public park. Driving from California and into Nevada, Kahle Park will be on your right just after you pass Lakeside Casino. There are also indoor facilities at Kahle Community Center if you need to warm up, and from Kahle Park you get to enjoy some views of Lake Tahoe.
Heavenly Village: No spot in Tahoe South is as picturesque for ice skating as Heavenly Village with holiday lights strung all around and music playing. Skates are available for rent and you can even buy day or season passes.
South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex: Located just off Highway 50, you can skate for free at this indoor facility if you have your own skates. Rentals are $3 and it’s free for kids 5 and younger.
Sawmill Pond: You can make a day of Sawmill Pond. Sled for a bit and then go ice skating. But be careful. Don’t tread out onto the water until you know it’s safe. After a big storm, the pond will be covered in snow. Locals often clear it and when it is cleared the pond is great for ice skating. Know how to check to be sure the ice is thick enough or check with others to ensure they’ve already done the checking.
Come enjoy our winter playground. Take it from me – an unofficial Tahoe ambassador.
Clark Vandeventer used to wear business suits and go to important meetings. He moved to South Lake Tahoe to reinvent his life and now wears Helly Hansen gear and skis 50+ days a year. When he’s not being a professional ski bum or playing with his kids, he’s blogging. You can read about his family’s quest to work less, live more, and travel the world at FamilyTrek.org.