Lake Tahoe

laketahoe

By Gabrielle. The photos are of the home we stayed at, but they’re not mine. I took lots of photos, but it was overcast, and I like these shots from the rental description better. : )

Waving hello from New York! Gosh, I’ve got a lot of travel on my calendar at the moment. (Which reminds me, I’ll be announcing my book tour dates either shortly!) But this post isn’t about New York. It’s about last week’s last-minute trip to Lake Tahoe!

This was a ski trip, and it was the first ski trip we’ve had in over 4 years. We had visited Tahoe last year in the Spring, but this was our first time seeing it with snow. Really, we’re at the tail end of the ski season, and it feels like spring/summer in the rest of California, but in our minds, this was a winter trip. We built fires, hung out in the hot tub after skiing, and did a whole bunch of baking.

exterior

There were two big things that I’ve been thinking about from this trip. One, is that all of my kids now know how to ski. I feel like I’ve passed some sort parenting stage. Hah! Before this trip, June had never skied before, but we enrolled her in ski school and she really took to it. On the second day, they moved her up a class because she was doing so well. (Those are definitely not my genes!) Obviously, she’s still just a beginner, but she had a fantastic time. It won’t be long until she’s spending the day skiing with her older siblings.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, I grew up skiing, but I don’t enjoy it. I’m not sure what it is. I’ve spent many winters of my life skiing, and just have no interest. I think the last time I willingly skied was in college. So last week, while the rest of the family hit the slopes, I spent the days in the lodge catching up on work, and being a drop-off location when my kids wanted to shed their layers. I’d meet up with everyone for lunch and then get back to work.

livingroomfireplace

But there was something about seeing June ski that made me think I might enjoy skiing in the future. I can picture the whole family on the slopes together, and I like that picture very much.

Anyway, the second thing I noted about the trip is that we felt like we really scored on the location. The house is a rental that we originally found on Kid & Coe. As it turns out, I ended up getting introduced to the owner, Domonique of The Simple Proof, who lives in the Bay Area. When she had a unscheduled week come up for her Tahoe place, she generously offered it to us, and we dropped everything and made the last-minute trip happen. And we’re so glad we did!

tablekitchen

The house really was perfect (you can see more photos of it here). It was easily roomy enough for our big family. Every one had their own bed, with extra sleeping spaces to spare. There was a big gathering room where we could watch movies and play board games, and an oversize table that could seat everyone. The kitchen had every tool we could possibly need and except for one night of ordering out for pizza, we did all our cooking at the house.

But the best part, is that the stunning lake was just down the path. After skiing, it was still light enough that we would walk down to the lake to skip rocks, or explore, or just hang out on the dock. And it was so easy to picture how amazing this same house would be in the summer.

bedroommasterbath

One of the biggest traveling challenges my family has is finding accommodations that really fit us — not just enough beds, but a place where we can all hang out together. So when we find a location that seems to solve the where-to-stay puzzle for us, it feels like we’ve found a treasure! After a couple of days at Domonique’s house, we were already talking about scheduling rental dates for the summer, and then again for next winter, and making it a regular thing. The idea of planning a vacation and not having to think about where to stay — to just already know! — seems like the most amazing thing ever.

Anyway, I’m curious about several things: Do you ski? Do your kids ski? Is there anyone else out there like me who has skied a bunch but isn’t a big fan? Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? Do you have a favorite season there? And how do you handle vacation accommodations? Do you return to the same spot over and over? I really like that idea!

P.S. — I mentioned Kid & Coe on Instagram and received a few emails about them. I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you about their services, but we’ve become big fans. They offer airbnb-type rentals, but they focus only on family-friendly spaces, and they only list really good ones. No duds! 

39 thoughts on “Lake Tahoe”

  1. Having grown up on the east coast with parents who grew up in Utah and refuse to ski in the east I definitely didn’t grow up skiing. I went for the first time when I was 13. However, now living in Calgary with kids of my own, I feel I owe it to them to give them that experience – and really any winter activity – since winter is so long here. However, my husband (who is a MUCH better skiier than I am) has yet to take our 4 year old out (residency + shoulder surgery = no skiing for him). It’s hard for me to get out since it seems every winter I’m either pregnant or nursing! Maybe next year!

    1. Did you hear that an East Coast resort got the most snow in the U.S. this year? I think it was Hunter Mountain!

      When we lived in New York, Ben Blair took the kids skiing a bunch. He grew up in Utah and appreciates world-class skiing, but for little kids who are just learning, the New York resorts were perfectly doable.

  2. Unlike you, I have never how to ski. Being 37, I still have hope I will lear one day. Because of that so far I had not taken my kids to slops. Since I personally do not ski or my ex husband, we always felt as it is better to go somewhere that all of us could enjoy for sure. Also, skiing is expensive sport around here(Serbia) therefore more affordable options( like visiting Rome instead) always prevail.

  3. My kids and I ski about 40 days/winter. We love it, and it makes our long, cold winters something to not just endure, but truly relish. My husband, sadly, does not share our enthusiasm but plays a supporting role (packs lunches, makes special guest appearances on the slopes a couple of times, takes awesome ski photos of the kids racing). I love skiing with the kids and I have met a ton of “ski friends” who are now valued all-the-time friends! Those long minutes on the chair lift lead to great conversations and strong bonds. Yay for skiing!

    1. I think you’re spot on about skiing creating strong bonds. I have some lovely girl friends from New York that take a ski trip to Colorado each year. No kids, no husbands, just the ladies. Such a fun tradition!

  4. I just about died when you said you grew up skiing but never learned to love it! I didn’t learn to ski until after my husband and I were married (he grew up skiing every weekend and taught me after our marriage) and it is now my absolute favorite thing to do in the entire world. We just took our oldest kids this winter and I’m happy to report that they loved it just as much as we do!

    Give it another try–one of the things that I find most relaxing about skiing is that nobody can ask me to do anything else while I’m on the slopes. No mom jobs, no work jobs–just skiing! It definitely appeals to me a lot more now as a parent than it did as a newlywed (I was so terrified that it took my poor husband two years to convince me to give it a try, but this past December we skiied Aspen for our anniversary and I can’t imagine anything more dreamy!). I love the one-on-one time with my husband or my kids when we’re on the lift or the slopes–we really get to connect in a way that I’ve never been able to replicate anywhere else.

    1. You sound like my brother. There is nothing he likes to do more than ski!

      I imagine I’ll give it another try someday, but I definitely feel like I’ve given it a fair shake. I’ve spent many, many days of my life on the slopes! Probably part of the un-appeal for me is that I don’t enjoy speed, or cold weather. Hah!

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  6. Sounds like an awesome trip! We love Tahoe but usually spend our time there during the summer. We have guests in town who would like to go see Tahoe in person but I’m not sure what to expect weather-wise right now. We won’t be skiing…will we be able to hike in hiking shoes or is there snow on the ground? Usually we love the hike down to Emerald Bay and touring Vikingsholm but I’m not sure that’s an option in Spring. Would love to know what other kinds of activities people were doing when you were there. Or was it all still winter activities? Thanks for any insights!

  7. Lake Tahoe is our family’s favorite place on earth. It is divine every season, but one of our favorite times to visit Sand Harbor is in June—not a lot of people and lots of shoreline for the kids to explore. It’s beautiful too. A fun stop on the California side is Vikingsholm Castle. The hike down to this historic house (built for quite the lady, by the way) is easy enough for little kids but fun for adults too. The house has tons of character, the beach is lovely, and the views at Emerald Bay? Totally worth the trip.

  8. A random-sort-of-related thought/question: In places like Utah that are close to ski resorts, do people of all incomes go skiing?

    When I got my first professional job out of college, I distinctly remember sitting around a table of 10+ people, and everyone was talking about their latest ski trips. I was the only person who hadn’t gone skiing. I thought that maybe it was just me, but when I started asking around, I realized that going skiing was a distinctly upper middle class (or higher) vacation. My husband and most of the people I grew up with had never been skiing either. Since then, it’s become an inside joke with my husband…as proof that you grew up with money. Hah!

    P.S. Since then, I’ve been skiing once (through a work trip, paid for by my company), and I really liked it!

    1. I live in Canada and we have 2 hills within 20 min from town – growing up it was more like 5. No elaborate resorts, just decents hills with a number of options for different levels of runs. My parents had zero money, but we could learn to ski through school elective options on Fridays – so they put us in that, for very minimal price. I’ve never been skiing in the Rockies or at a big resort, but nope, not everyone who learns is middle-class or up!
      After all that, I’m now too scared to ski, much like Gabrielle. :)

    2. Good question, Rachel. It’s true, skiing can be crazy expensive. Equipment rentals plus ski passes add up fast.

      Growing up, my family couldn’t afford to go skiing at all. That is, until a ski resort called Brianhead, which is about an hour and a half north of my hometown, was trying to grow. And Brianhead offered season passes to all students and teachers in my town for $14. Not joking. $14!!!! For a season pass! Not just a day pass!

      Since my dad was a teacher, we all got season passes. Then, my parents found used skies for us in the classified (this was pre-internet, pre-Craig’s list). I remember my pair had the original owners’ name engraved in them. Hah! We bought ski bibs at Kmart — they were crummy quality, but they were probably still a splurge because there were so many of us. Anyway, that’s how my family made it work. Until those $14 passes came about, it just wasn’t an option.

      But like Annet mentioned, I think another way kids from all backgrounds learn to ski, is via their public schools. Though I imagine this is only true for kids that have schools located near ski resorts.

    3. Rachel i agree with you. I grew up outside of Portland, OR and never went skiiing. I so badly wanted to go on the weekend ski buses that would pick up the kids at our junior high. My parents said skiing was an expensive sport and i could go when i was old enough to pay for it.
      As a result, I never did learn. Who wants to be the only one that cant ski on a college ski trip, i never had all the clothing and accessories for a ski trip when i was on my own. I did go skiing once when i was about 24, visiting a friend in Alaska.

  9. I feel the same way about skiing Gabrielle. it just feels like a great big hassle to me. Too many layers, overheated rooms, equipment that is cumbersome. I could go on. Plus there is very limited skiing in Australia and it is a 10 hour road trip to get there for us. We have had skiing experiences in the US, Canada, and Europe and what is on offer here does not compare on scale or quality of snow. I think I would have a different attitude if I lived somewhere like Calgary.
    On the other hand Lake Tahoe in spring or summer looks divine.

    1. I know that hassle very well! I think when my kids are old enough to totally deal with the equipment on their own, joining them on the slopes might be more appealing.

  10. I have never skied, but my husband has skied since he was a child. For some reason it kind of terrifies me, but I don’t want my children to be like me :) So our two oldest have done ski school the past three years (they are 6 & 8 now) that we’ve gone to the mountains. Our youngest was 2 this year when we went, and I say he’s my ticket to staying off the mountain right now, ha. Once he is old enough for ski school (probably next year), I feel like my husband is really going to try to get me out there. I, too, have pictures in my head of us skiing as a family, though, so I may have to break down at some point and give it a try.

  11. I’m with you Gabby, I went skiing as a teenager but I never really enjoyed it. I haven’t been in years, but my husband and kids sure love to ski. They get season passes and they really want me to go with them! I guess sitting in the lodge drinking hot chocolate while waiting to meet them for lunch isn’t enough! They want me to go on the slopes, so one of these days I’ll have to give in!

  12. This house is so pretty! We live near Tahoe and I’ve always wanted to spend a week holed-up somewhere so close to the lake we could visit without the windy-mountain drive. I think skiing is terrifying. Falling down a mountain into a pile of other people. If I could practice alone with one or two other people on very gentle hills that end in a vast meadow, I could maybe get into it.

    1. “If I could practice alone with one or two other people on very gentle hills that end in a vast meadow, I could maybe get into it.”

      Love that! Like an empty bunny hill that you can have all to yourself.

  13. I never even liked the idea of skiing and was always afraid of trying. When I was 31 my husband persuaded me to try cross-country skiing which he claimed was safer. Very first time I fell awkwardly and ended up with permanent damage to my arm and back! Moral of the story: some people really are not suited to skiing! I do still love the mountain scenery but I will never ski again.

  14. My husband and I eloped in Lake Tahoe when we were stationed in Monterey, CA in the Army Language School. It’s the only time I’ve ever been there, but it obviously holds a special place in my heart. I’d love to go back and bring the kids–who, incidentally, all just learned to ski this winter. We had so much fun and will definitely be a family that skis every winter now! That house looks AMAZING–we have checked out Kid & Coe a few times, but haven’t planned a trip with them yet. Maybe this year!

  15. I grew up in the Swiss mountains. Spent every winter of my childhood and teenage years on skis and never really enjoyed it. It was just something that everybody did, not skiing was not an option. I really tried and even pretended having fun on the slopes way into my twenties
    Now that I’m all grown up I’m very happy that I can choose not to go skiing. My husband and my boys all enjoy it very much. I usually spend the day reading, sitting in the winter sun, catching up on work and making sure there’s enough food in the house. This way I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time (and money) doing something I don’t enjoy at all AND I get to spend some well deserved alone-time which makes me a much happier mom. So it really is win-win for all of us!

    1. YES! That is exactly how I feel. My brothers LOVED skiing and now my children do too. But I simply never enjoyed it. It totally faked liking it as a teenager. : )

      And like you, I’m totally content that my kids are having a great time, while I get some alone time.

  16. I’m with you- I really dislike downhill skiing. I didn’t really grow up skiing, but I’ve been a few times with my family (who all love to ski). I dislike when I don’t have control and I dislike feeling like I’m falling or going to fast. And it hurts my legs. The last time I went, I was getting pretty comfortable on the green slopes, and for some reason I let my brother and sister convince me to go down a blue slope (it was a pretty difficult blue slope). It was awful- I hated it! And then I got on the wrong lift and ended up having to do the same slope again- I cried the entire way down and don’t plan on ever skiing again. I don’t mind cross country skiing, though. My mom raised us cross-country skiing, so that’s not too bad (although still not my favorite thing to do, I can appreciate it)- and it’s much cheaper (it’s easy to find older skis/boots at lawn sales and we have quite a collection now).

  17. I happen to somewhat share your sentiment about skiing. I grew up skiing recreationally, a couple of times a year, and I liked it. But I am not a dare devil, and so it was never my first choice of winter sports. Now we live near a mountain (Mt. Bachelor, OR) and finally have a little more money after bills, so we have enrolled our kids in ski lessons. There is something magical about watching your kids learn a new skill, especially a sport. And then to get to do it with them? I suddenly like skiing a whole lot more than before. I know it will only last a few years before my older kids surpass my mediocre skills, so I am trying to enjoy it now. In the meantime, I have found a new love for nordic skiing. Guess that means I’m definitely an adult. :)

  18. My family skis, we are are a family 0f 5 and we have taken ski vacations to many resorts in the US and to Canada, Japan most recently Austria. I do not ski. We live in NJ and my girls basically learnt in Lake Placid. If they can handle those conditions they are pretty much set for any conditions. We go with groups of friends, our party can number as many as 28. So far we have found that hotels work for us as the swimming pool is still a big incentive and source of enjoyment for the kids. As a non skier I am absolutely fine , I’ve done massages, theaters,photography tours, snow shoeing, dog sledding and sledding. I read, draw ,stitch, eat, shop, and enjoy a nice peaceful day. Up on the mountain these days there’s wifi! I complain and beg for a trip to a sunny place that serves pina coladas but just between you and me, not having to get in a swimsuit is fine. The part I hate most is lugging all the gear.

  19. Forgot to add, we were in Sth Tahoe last summer- we had my parents join us for a road trip around California. My parents and I took the cruise whilst my husband took the girls to the the beach at that beach at Vikingsholme. Later that day he insisted driving back to the lookout above to show me the view. It is a beautiful place and a day that will be always in my memory. My husbands’ line of work means that he sometimes get accommodation benefits through his employer plus he has lots of air miles to use at hotels and airfares.We also use airbnb.

  20. Where I live, skiing is a very expensive sport. Even though we have our own equipment, passes at the ski hill are usually around $50 CDN per day, times five people = $250/day. I can’t imagine the cost for a larger family. Having said that, I enjoy skiing and I like that it’s something we call all do together. The rental house looks stunning but the price tag ($500-$800 US per night) is definitely beyond most means.

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