When people ask me, "What's your favorite [fill in the blank]?" I think they're almost always frustrated by my answer. I hate questions like that. I like sushi. I also like pizza. They're two different things. I expect them to be different. I like that they're different.
The same is true when it comes to Tahoe South's ski resorts. When I'm riding a chairlift with someone visiting our mountain paradise, people often ask me which of our three resorts on the south shore is my favorite.
I love them all.
Heavenly Mountain, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort are three unique mountains. There are things that I love about each of them.
I love the variety of terrain at Heavenly and I love that there's so much of it. With 4,800 skiable acres, there's enough of Heavenly to get totally engrossed in one part of the mountain having so much fun and months later you'll rediscover a part of the mountain that had fallen out of your routine. If I could only ski one chair at Heavenly for the rest of my life, I'd pick Sky Chair. From the top of Sky you can get a little of everything. Head just down to the left and you're on a black diamond run. Then you can duck into the trees for a while and you end up in this great bowl right underneath the chairlift (watch out for the stream). Then you can finish off your run on a groomer. Oh, and no mountain offers more stunning views of Lake Tahoe.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
I love the extreme feel of Kirkwood, and I'm not just talking about the terrain. Everyone at Kirkwood loves being there. They love the snow. They love to ski or ride. They love it and they think Kirkwood is the best place in the world to do it. To die-hard Kirkwood skiers and riders, it's just an undeniable fact that Kirkwood is the best. I've never been on a chairlift at Kirkwood and had the person next to me say, "Yeah, Kirkwood is okay, but I really like...."
Kirkwood also just gets a lot of snow. I don't know if it's true or if it's just my impression, but it seems like every time a storm hits Tahoe, when the resorts are reporting snowfall, Kirkwood is always reporting a few more inches than everyone else and the snow seems to stay fresh longer at Kirkwood.
Sierra-at-Tahoe is where I came into my own as a skier and I love that Sierra-at-Tahoe is a locals’ mountain. It seems like everyone who lives in South Lake Tahoe grew up skiing at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Everyone has a Sierra story. Everyone who grew up in Tahoe has memories at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Now, I'm teaching my kids to ski at Sierra Resort and I love Sierra with my kids because it's so easy. We just park, walk over to the snow and clip in, and we're off!
While there's plenty of extreme skiing, including their legendary tree skiing, Sierra-at-Tahoe is low-key and it feels approachable. Sierra-at-Tahoe is a pure ski experience, and I love a pure ski experience.
What about you?
What do you love about Tahoe South's mountain resorts? Each one is unique. Every one has their own story. Share what you love by tweeting to me @clarkvand on Twitter. You can also connect with me on Facebook.
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. He and his wife Monica have also recently launched the new site TahoeSkiBum.com.