Warm-weather brings Lake Tahoe into its off-season bloom, and the mountain resorts that ring the largest lake in the Sierra put on their summertime best for visitors near and far.
Gondolas and chairlifts run all summer to open up vistas from ridgelines surrounding the lake. The usual fare of ziplines, hiking and biking, coasters and alpine slides, and adventure park challenges await. Here's a look at some of the highlights:
There's a new via ferrata on the Tram Face of Palisades Tahoe. Guides take climbers up two routes of permanent iron anchors and cables. Group or individual tours go 2, 3 or 4 hours daily. A tram ride ends at the popular High Camp at 8,200-foot elevation, where you can roller-skate, hike, disc golf and geo-cache.
Anchoring the south end of the lake, Heavenly's main gondola takes folks up to mid-mountain for the resort's summertime fare. There, thrill-seekers will find the Ridge Rider Coaster with 90-second slide down 3,400 feet of loops, twists and turns; lift-served Hot Shot zipline; tubing; and, adventure park. Or jump on the Tamarack Express chair to get higher.
Few downhill MTB systems can match Northstar's network of black-expert trails. A gondola ride to mid-mountain gets biker to two high-speed chairs equipped to bring rider and bike to dozens of single-track, cross-country and downhill runs.
Down south, Kirkwood boasts one of the most challenging disc golf courses around -- and one that is in its 23rd year. The course climbs out of the Timber Creek base area and winds through forests up and down the front. And it's all free.
On the west side of the lake, Homewood takes advantage of its lakefront location to promote its marina and water activities. Home to the High Sierra Water Ski School, visitors can purchase lessons in waterskiing, wakeboarding, waterskating and wakesurfing. Rentals of all sorts of water craft available.
Just off Donner Pass, Boreal is home to California's only Woodward youth active sports campus. Woodward Tahoe has two skate parks, BMX park and MTB trails on the lower mountain, plus base-area Wrecktangle and Woodward headquarters.
A half-dozen ski and snowboard resorts encircle Lake Tahoe, and two of the largest -- Heavenly Mountain and Northstar California -- belong to the Epic Pass network.
A trio of Lake Tahoe-area resorts on the Epic Pass system have done all they can to get ready for the 2021-2022 season, and now it's up to Mother Nature.
In the West, one of the most active summertime areas can be found around Lake Tahoe, where a dozen ski and snowboard resorts host warm-weather concerts and festivals for city-dwellers looking for a way to chill out.
The baker's dozen of ski and snowboard resorts in the Lake Tahoe region will start opening for the season in late November, and all will have policies in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Back on Aug. 24, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe posted to Instagram a photo of sunbeams breaking through the clouds and splashing its terrain that overlooks Lake Tahoe.
After a landmark season last year, California's ski and snowboard resorts are pumped to do it again, with a half-dozen more opening around Thanksgiving and plenty of snow on the way.
Once summer settles in, the winter resorts around Lake Tahoe become magnets for city-dwellers aiming to beat the heat – and to have a bunch of fun doing it.
For most Western resorts, the season is over, but lots of snow in the mountains -- even late into April -- means plenty of water in the rivers for rafting and blankets of colorful wild flowers covering the high alpine meadow for hikers and bikers.
Taking a flight to a major airport in the West is just the first step to getting onto the ski and snowboard mountain.
Early on, above-freezing temps kept snowfall down in the Pacific Northwest. But lately, the temps have dropped and the depths have risen. Pacific storms have stayed north, pummeling the Cascades and intermountain region with snowfall measured in feet.
Christmas in the mountains runs deep with traditions. But a number of resorts try to work outside the box and be creative with their celebrations.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is set to drop the ropes a week early to give season pass holders the privilege of putting down the first tracks of 2018-2019.
With the proliferation of Smartphones and digital cameras, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the beauty of the West – especially in the mountains.
Just like for skiers and ‘boarders, golfers want to squeeze in that last day of the season. Even as most U.S. resorts are turning on their snow guns and warming up the snowcats, many still keep the golf course open for those late-season die-hards.
Summer vacationers often seek out lakefront property to cool off, and a number of ski and snowboard resorts across the West are blessed with a lake within spittin’ distance.
When the hustle and bustle gets too much down below, Californians head to the hills. And, the state’s ski and snowboard resorts shift into summer gear to provide the thrills, adventures and just plain relaxation that they are looking for.
Catchin' the corn is springtime ritual. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
Like many regions in the West, skiers and riders had to wait until March before all the trails and slopes were open. In California, a trio of resorts hope they can make it last as long as possible.
Above compact base area, mountain spreads out. (Kirkwood/Facebook)
Though less than an hour from the glitz and glamor of South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort couldn’t be a more unlikely neighbor. Stuffed up at the head of a box canyon, the mountain known as “The Wood” retains an old-school, bare-bones flavor that, despite ownership by Vail, emphasizes good skiing and riding over amenities (i.e., cell service is iffy).