Sierra-at-Tahoe: Welcome Home

by Greg Colquitt | January 2, 2016

200 feet is a long way up.

From the bottom, at least. Skiing underneath and around an object of that stature reminds you that you are a small, small human. From the perspective of the California Red Fir, you’re just a speck on its floor. Enter Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort. High in the Sierra Nevada mountain range between California and Nevada rests Lake Tahoe–North America’s largest alpine lake and hideaway for some of the nation’s best skiing and riding.  Whether you’re scouting the steeps, pillows, and cornice drops of expert terrain, snaking through mystical forests under towering giants, ripping new tricks at the park, or setting aside the adrenaline for a snowshoe through the forest while your kids tube or learn to ski, Sierra-at-Tahoe is a resort for all walks (and rides) of life.

Glade skiing in California Red Firs

Glade skiing in the Firs at Sierra-at-Tahoe

At the crossroad of resort and backcountry skiing, five gates direct you to your next great adventure. Now encompassed in Sierra-at-Tahoe’s boundary, Huckleberry Canyon, one of Tahoe’s most accessible and sought-after backcountry destinations, offers 320 acres of star-studded terrain such as steep bowls, cliffs, spines, cornice drops, pillows, and untouched tree runs. To get there, just ride the lift. At the top choose one of five gates, each of which provide an entirely unique skiing and riding experience. Pick your poison, then go back for seconds.

Within the main resort area, on the other hand, towering trees continue to grow untouched as they have for hundreds of years. In the 1800s the California mountains were flooded with miners and loggers trying to build a new home and strike it rich in the golden rivers. The loggers of the time cut down the spruce and pine trees in exchange for cash but left the California Red Fir be, for the behemoth tree was too waterlogged and not worth as much as the others. While it wasn’t their original intention, the loggers of old created the experience of weaving freely through a field of old-growth giants unobstructed by smaller vegetation. These trees, the California Red Fir, is also unique in that it only grows within a specific elevation range in only specific parts of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. So while you’re here, bask in their splendor because chances are they won’t be there, wherever that may be.

California Red Fir forest in summer

California Red Fir forest in summer

If your there, is in the air, the terrain parks and half pipe at Sierra-at-Tahoe will give you something to cheer about. Ranked by TransWorld SNOWBoarding as one of the Top 10 Parks and Top 10 Pipes in the nation, the terrain parks provide a training ground, a proving ground, and everything in between. New skiers and boarders looking to break into the park world can get their feet wet in the Burton Progression Park, seasoned tricksters can work their magic at They Alley, where the park crew jams their tunes over speakers set up around the park, and boarders looking to race can smoke the Smokey BoarderX board-cross course next to their friends. Whatever your skill level, there’s a park to challenge you.

But if that kind of challenge doesn’t sound appealing, options abound for young and the old for any pace you would like. No matter what, getting outside is king, and snowshoeing is a fantastic way to slow the world down and do just that. The resort maintains three miles of snowshoe trails and offers rental snowshoes that won’t burn hole in your pocket. Also, while you trek through the woods, send your kids over to Grandpa (who is only sitting down because he’s tired from the day’s skiing) so he can watch them tube down Blizzard Mountain or maybe set them up with a ski lesson for the day from Sierra-at-Tahoe’s ski school.  Either way, one day soon they will be kicking your butt on moguls; it’s inevitable.

At the end of the day, Sierra-at-Tahoe ensures that every person that comes to the mountain is well taken care of. Heck, they even provide a service to lock your skis/snowboard overnight for $3, or if you’re flying in, you can ski free the day you arrive when you present your boarding pass and ID. These folks are out to get people on the mountain, which is understandable when you look West and see the third tallest mountain in the Tahoe Basin, Pyramid Peak, poking out at 9,985′, or North to the magnificent Lake Tahoe. There’s a reason Olympic gold medalists, ski bums, and families call Sierra-at-Tahoe home. Pretty soon you might join the list. Welcome home.

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