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Sledding and tubing minus the crowds and costs

For us, sledding and tubing are not about the “hot spots,” but about the adventure, the fun, friends and memories.

We have always tried to avoid the more visible and crowded spots. Instead, we go a little bit off the beaten path. You can find places to sled practically wherever there’s a hill or rise: take a short walk in from the old corral on the way out of Christmas Valley, explore the area off the old dump road at Pioneer Trail and Elks Club. There are many other sites throughout South Shore, Christmas Valley, North Upper Truckee, and more. Look for the base of mountains or hills, and then walk in a little way from roads and traffic.

Snowtubing in Trees Lake Tahoe

Sledding can be dangerous and we always want to make the outings worth our while, so we consider a few items essential, especially for groups with kids: a cell phone (ideally with GPS), a shovel for forming paths, jumps and other desired features; a couple plastic sleds, tubes (preferred), saucers, and helmets (if available).

Beyond the basics, we add the “essential” pump urn for pre-made hot cocoa, some cups, maybe a spray can of whipped cream, and a trash bag. These items turn sledding into a special event.

And last, gear sledders up in decent boots, gloves, hats, and jackets; whether you have to borrow or purchase the gear, it’s worth it to make the experience last longer than it took to get there!  BTW, tell the little ones to keep their gloves ON! Once off, they’re damp and hard to get back on, which brings the inevitable whining about cold hands.

Ask friends to loan you snow clothes, no matter where you live; you’ll be surprised what people have tucked away, and kids’ gear gets little use before they outgrow it.

Coming home from such outings is never the end for us parents, though!  It’s one thing if you’re staying in a rental house or hotel, but if you live here, you don’t want wet clothing and boots all over the place. Plus, dry gear means the kids are happier to get out into the snow and cold the next time.

We were lucky to stumble upon a simple metal shoe rack; we picked up a couple of the kind that easily dismantle, with two wire baskets beneath the upper extensions that hold the shoes, which we use for gloves, socks and hats. The gloves pop over the shoehorns and the hats and socks do the same or go in the lower baskets. Placed near the heater or wood stove, things dry quickly—ready for the next outing.

Snow gear post sledding

Whether on snow days, black-out ski days, or just to vary the usual routine, get out there and discover your favorite sledding or winter play spot in South Lake Tahoe—the memories will last forever.

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Mike Filce

Mike is a long-time resident who grew up in So. Cal. and came to Tahoe for the lakes, rivers, trees, the four seasons, and to teach English at South Tahoe High School. He enjoys the outdoors, from snow sports and activities, to fishing, hiking, camping, enjoying the lake, and everything else the Sierra has to offer.


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