Regional Report
South Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
How The Other Half Lives
Words and photos by Tim Peare

It goes without saying that South Lake Tahoe is a party town. Between the 24-hour nightlife, the constant flow of cheap booze, and the legalized gambling, an indelible reputation of sorts has polluted the clear waters of reason. The region boasts three top-notch resorts: Heavenly, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and Kirkwood. To sweeten the deal, Mother Nature consistently drops enormous amounts of snow onto the region (the ’04/05 season delivered 840 inches to Kirkwood!). Tahoe snowfall usually comes down wet and heavy, unlike the light and dry snow found in Utah and Colorado. Initially, this may seem detrimental; however, the wet snow bonds with the hardpack so strongly that it makes Tahoe one of the safest backcountry environments in the world. Couple that with the amazing terrain accessible by foot or snowmobile, along with Tahoe’s signature bluebird days, and you have a top destination for everyone from the regular Joe rider to professional snowboard and film crews worldwide. So if you like powder, bluebird days, and challenging terrain, complete with a backdrop of indescribable beauty, come check out what South Lake Tahoe has to offer. Oh yeah, and if you still have room for more, last call don’t come at all!

Where To Ride:
Things usually get rolling around Thanksgiving and continue solid through April. Snow falls every month of the season, so a pow day is as likely in January as it is in April. The resorts are close by, and all provide some sort of shuttle-to service for the automotively challenged.

Heavenly Ski Resort-The Lakeview
Heavenly is the closest resort to South Lake. It literally rises from the south shore of Lake Tahoe and looms over the city. Once on top, you’re rewarded with one of the best lake views anywhere. The terrain encompasses everything from the super steep sections of Mott and Killebrew Canyon to the gentle, rolling slopes of Tamarack and the California Trail. The High Roller terrain park is feature rich. The acreage that this mountain covers is immense. It can take you all day to get from one side of the mountain to the other and back, so spend a couple days here and explore what this giant has to offer.
Distance from South Lake: 0 miles
Cost: $74
Best for: “Nooners”
Web site: skiheavenly.com

Sierra-at-Tahoe-The Trees
Sierra is well known for its superb tree runs, deep snow, and laid-back atmosphere. You come here because you want to ride, not shop. Sierra has some of the best tree riding in the States. The terrain has something to offer everyone, from the novice to the advanced. Backcountry access gates are accessible from the Grandview lift and are an immediate escape from the crowds. Be careful, though; it is the backcountry! Things become life threatening back in these zones, so don’t take it too casually. If you’re into park riding, thanks to the help of world-class park builder Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, Sierra has cemented its reputation as having one of the best terrain-park setups on the South Shore. The Circuit is a tour de park and is designed to intertwine the freeriding and park-riding experience into one fluid motion. Don’t miss the halfpipe-this is as good as it gets.
Distance from South Lake: 14 miles
Cost: $59
Best for: Shredding pow with best friends
Web site: sierraattahoe.com


Kirkwood-Terrain-Packed Freeriding
Kirkwood is legendary for its rugged terrain and heavy snowfall. Due to its location, Kirkwood gets storms that sit over the mountain and deliver the good stuff for days. If you’ve ever fantasized about getting snowed in at the resort with only a handful of people after a three-foot dump, this is the place. Kirkwood’s terrain is insane-insane enough to host the North American Freeride Championship every year at the Cirque, a closed-to-the-public zone at the center of the mountain. SurprisinglyKirkwood is probably the best place to learn to ride due to the beginner area, Timbercreek. It’s designed so that the crowds of experienced riders won’t distract your learning experience. Three lifts depart from the Timbercreek Lodge in a logical manner, bunny to beginner and on to your first intermediate run. It’s worth the drive, but you might decide that you never want to go back.
Distance from South Lake: 32 miles
Cost: $62
Best for: Getting snowed in
Web site: kirkwood.com

Around Town:
For such a small community, South Lake Tahoe offers a diverse selection of good eats, and there’re no shortages of watering holes. Whether your wallet’s fat or flat, you can find something to suit your style.

Eating:

Freshies
Freshies serves up an eclectic mix of healthy and delicious meals at a reasonable price. The fish tacos are the best anywhere, and the service and quality is consistent. If eating consciously is important and you’re not willing to sacrifice taste, then Freshies is your bag, baby.
3300 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 542-3630

Taqueria Jaliscos
Jaliscos serves up some of the best Mexican-style eats out there. Get yourself a beer and some tacos, help yourself to the salsa bar, and have yourself a fiesta! And it’s cheap, too!
3097 Harrison Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 541-6516

Izzy’s Burger Spa
This burger joint’s got the goods if you’re in the mood for a big, fat, tasty burger. I’ve never been able to figure out why someone would rather stop at some crappy fast-food chain when you’ve got real burgers at Izzy’s.
2591 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-5030

Orchid’s Authentic Thai Cuisine
Best Thai on the South Shore-consistent and cheap! This place is the real deal. The food cannot be denied, and for the price, you almost feel like you’re ripping them off. Get the pumpkin curry!
2180 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-5541

Kalani’s
Kalani’s is Hawai’ian Pacific Rim fusion. The atmosphere is amazing, and the food is unbelievable. It has a sushi bar in the back with the freshest of the fresh. Late-night sushi is discounted, so let the sake flow. The sushi chefs are talented in the kitchen as well as on the hill. I know two of them who can ride better than you.
1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-6100

Super Tacos
Located one block from The Block hotel and two from Heavenly, Super Taco is a patio-seating-only restaurant. The burritos are large, and the tacos are tasty! Half-day riders at Heavenly can stop at Super Taco first, walk to the gondola, and have stuffed their face by the time they reach the top.
4113 Cedar Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-0988

Steamers Bar And Grill
Locals-this place is filled to the brim with people who actually live in South Lake Tahoe. The owner, “Doc,” is just about the nicest guy you’ll ever come across, and the food is great. Stop by on Mondays and Saturdays for the special tacos and homemade salsa, or on Fridays for the steak special.
2236 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 541-8818

Getaway Cafe
The Getaway Cafà‡ is located in Meyers and is your last stop for sit-down breakfast before you head to Sierra-at-Tahoe or Kirkwood. The staff is friendly and the prices reasonable. The bacon, avocado, swiss omelet is a reason to live, and the dark house coffee provides the fuel to carry out the reason.
3140 Highway 50, Meyers, (530) 577-5132

Alpen Sierra Coffee Co.
This is the best place to get a coffee in the morning. The staff is friendly, and the coffee is way better than that big chain. They can also make you up a specialty sandwich.
3940 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-7740


Nightlife:
South Lake Tahoe is split into three unique sections from east to west: Stateline, South Lake Tahoe, and Meyers. If you’re into casinos and all-nighters, Stateline’s your section. South Lake Tahoe spans a distance of about ten miles, so there’re a lot of choices here. Meyers is located west on the outskirts of town. It has one bar and it’s super sweet!

Whiskey Dick’s
Whiskey Dick’s is a primo place to check out live music. I’ve seen quite a few bands play here, everything from death metal to hip-hop. It’s located at the center of South Lake Tahoe.
2660 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-3425

Lakeside Inn and Casino
On a budget? Lakeside offers two-dollar drinks all day and all night. This is the typical meeting spot to get things rolling. It’s about one mile from Stateline.
168 Highway 50, Stateline, 1-800-624-7980

Bill’s Casino
Bill’s is like the stepchild casino. It’s a smaller casino squashed between giants MontBleu and Harrah’s. Cheap drinks, pool tables, and hot dogs await you.
27 Highway 50, Stateline, (775) 588-2455

Vex
This is a place to come shake your booty. Vex is a state-of-the-art nightclub with beer-goggle lighting, bass-thumping sound, catwalks with go-go dancers, and mind-boggling special effects. You’ll wake up the next morning and ask yourself, “What happened?”
15 Highway 50, Stateline, 1-800-522-4700

Divided Sky
The Divided Sky is a casual local’s bar. Many shreds live in the Meyers area and frequent this spot. Live music on the weekends and a quality atmosphere make this one of my top spots to come to and chill. It has good food, too!
3200 Highway 50, Meyers, (530) 577-0775

Sleeping:
There are literally hundreds of places to stay in South Lake Tahoe. The casino hotels are a relatively good deal and right in front of Heavenly.

The Block at Tahoe
This is Marc Frank Montoya’s joint, well known in the industry as the first snowboarders’ hotel. The Block is two blocks from the gondola at Heavenly and will definitely get you in the mood to shred. The rooms are sponsored by various companies and themed around the sponsor-even TransWorld has its own room.
4143 Cedar Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, 1-888-544-4055

Super 8
This hotel is located about a mile from the gondola at Heavenly. Campers from the Southshore Soldiers Camp stay here. The rooms are nice, fairly inexpensive, and close to everything-that’s about all you can ask for.
3600 Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 50), South Lake Tahoe,
1-800-237-8882

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa
This is a swanky place. The rooms go from nice to extraordinary, and everything is self-contained within the casino. Plus, you can see Heavenly out your window. Rooms start at about 130 bucks.
55 Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe, 1-888-829-7630

Local Shops

Snow And Surf
Don’t be fooled by the name-there’s no surfing in South Lake. We do have some rad terrain and a lot of snow, and Snow And Surf’s got the gear to get you prepped for the season. It’s located in the Tahoe Trading Post in the village center across from the gondola.
Highway 50 at Park Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-6600

Shoreline Snowboards
Shoreline’s got some history as being the first snowboard shop in South Lake. Pioneer shreds like Damian Sanders and Jimmy Halopoff used to ride for this Tahoe staple. The staff can even T-bolt your board to give you that double-wide stance.
259 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, 1-888-877-7669

(Sidebars)

SouthShore Soldiers Camp
Every March, Heavenly steps it up and hosts the legendary Southshore Soldiers Camp. Here you get the chance to ride with and be coached by professional snowboarders in a non-intimidating fashion. Jimmy Halopoff and crew have it going on proper and set you up for a week that you’ll never forget. The camp coincides with spring break to make for some serious party. Everything from wrestling girls in bikinis to riding the infamous mechanical bull places the Southshore Soldiers camp as a must if you’re looking for the all-time.
Sessions one: Marline’s your section. South Lake Tahoe spans a distance of about ten miles, so there’re a lot of choices here. Meyers is located west on the outskirts of town. It has one bar and it’s super sweet!

Whiskey Dick’s
Whiskey Dick’s is a primo place to check out live music. I’ve seen quite a few bands play here, everything from death metal to hip-hop. It’s located at the center of South Lake Tahoe.
2660 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-3425

Lakeside Inn and Casino
On a budget? Lakeside offers two-dollar drinks all day and all night. This is the typical meeting spot to get things rolling. It’s about one mile from Stateline.
168 Highway 50, Stateline, 1-800-624-7980

Bill’s Casino
Bill’s is like the stepchild casino. It’s a smaller casino squashed between giants MontBleu and Harrah’s. Cheap drinks, pool tables, and hot dogs await you.
27 Highway 50, Stateline, (775) 588-2455

Vex
This is a place to come shake your booty. Vex is a state-of-the-art nightclub with beer-goggle lighting, bass-thumping sound, catwalks with go-go dancers, and mind-boggling special effects. You’ll wake up the next morning and ask yourself, “What happened?”
15 Highway 50, Stateline, 1-800-522-4700

Divided Sky
The Divided Sky is a casual local’s bar. Many shreds live in the Meyers area and frequent this spot. Live music on the weekends and a quality atmosphere make this one of my top spots to come to and chill. It has good food, too!
3200 Highway 50, Meyers, (530) 577-0775

Sleeping:
There are literally hundreds of places to stay in South Lake Tahoe. The casino hotels are a relatively good deal and right in front of Heavenly.

The Block at Tahoe
This is Marc Frank Montoya’s joint, well known in the industry as the first snowboarders’ hotel. The Block is two blocks from the gondola at Heavenly and will definitely get you in the mood to shred. The rooms are sponsored by various companies and themed around the sponsor-even TransWorld has its own room.
4143 Cedar Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, 1-888-544-4055

Super 8
This hotel is located about a mile from the gondola at Heavenly. Campers from the Southshore Soldiers Camp stay here. The rooms are nice, fairly inexpensive, and close to everything-that’s about all you can ask for.
3600 Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 50), South Lake Tahoe,
1-800-237-8882

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa
This is a swanky place. The rooms go from nice to extraordinary, and everything is self-contained within the casino. Plus, you can see Heavenly out your window. Rooms start at about 130 bucks.
55 Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe, 1-888-829-7630

Local Shops

Snow And Surf
Don’t be fooled by the name-there’s no surfing in South Lake. We do have some rad terrain and a lot of snow, and Snow And Surf’s got the gear to get you prepped for the season. It’s located in the Tahoe Trading Post in the village center across from the gondola.
Highway 50 at Park Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-6600

Shoreline Snowboards
Shoreline’s got some history as being the first snowboard shop in South Lake. Pioneer shreds like Damian Sanders and Jimmy Halopoff used to ride for this Tahoe staple. The staff can even T-bolt your board to give you that double-wide stance.
259 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, 1-888-877-7669

(Sidebars)

SouthShore Soldiers Camp
Every March, Heavenly steps it up and hosts the legendary Southshore Soldiers Camp. Here you get the chance to ride with and be coached by professional snowboarders in a non-intimidating fashion. Jimmy Halopoff and crew have it going on proper and set you up for a week that you’ll never forget. The camp coincides with spring break to make for some serious party. Everything from wrestling girls in bikinis to riding the infamous mechanical bull places the Southshore Soldiers camp as a must if you’re looking for the all-time.
Sessions one: March 18-23, 2007
Session two: March 23-28, 2007
Session three: March 28-April 2, 2007
southshoresoldiers.com


Higher Education
Staying in Tahoe for a while? Many local rippers take classes by night and shred the gnar all day at Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC). Classes range from general education to avalanche awareness programs. LTCC even has the sweetest photography department equipped to handle all your digital and analog darkrooms needs. It’s also a great place to meet people-check it out online.
itcc.edu

Local’s Knowledge With Ryan Baca
Five Ways To Improve Your Life In South Lake Tahoe:
1. Go to Lake Tahoe Community College.
2. Take avalanche-safety classes.
3. Ride as much powder as possible.
4. Get a good night job.
5. Be a digger at Southshore Soldiers.

Five Ways To Ruin Your Life In South Lake Tahoe:
1. Become a local at every casino bar.
2. Talk shit to Southshore Soldiers campers from the lift.
3. Shred the backcountry without a transceiver.
4. Start a DUI collection.
5. Throw your rent money on black.


March 18-23, 2007
Session two: March 23-28, 2007
Session three: March 28-April 2, 2007
southshoresoldiers.com


Higher Education
Staying in Tahoe for a while? Many local rippers take classes by night and shred the gnar all day at Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC). Classes range from general education to avalanche awareness programs. LTCC even has the sweetest photography department equipped to handle all your digital and analog darkrooms needs. It’s also a great place to meet people-check it out online.
itcc.edu

Local’s Knowledge With Ryan Baca
Five Ways To Improve Your Life In South Lake Tahoe:
1. Go to Lake Tahoe Community College.
2. Take avalanche-safety classes.
3. Ride as much powder as possible.
4. Get a good night job.
5. Be a digger at Southshore Soldiers.

Five Ways To Ruin Your Life In South Lake Tahoe:
1. Become a local at every casino bar.
2. Talk shit to Southshore Soldiers campers from the lift.
3. Shred the backcountry without a transceiver.
4. Start a DUI collection.
5. Throw your rent money on black.