You’ll find many things to do in Lake Tahoe in winter, proving that the alpine lake isn’t just popular in warm weather. Hemmed in by the rising summits of the Sierra Nevada, the turquoise water spreads from the hulking tops of Monument Peak in the south to the crystalline waters of Agate Bay up north. While spring and summer see booms in visitor numbers, the colder months aren't much different.

    Powder hits the mountain resorts and sees skiers flock to Squaw Valley and others. There are local festivals filled with snow-inspired fun. The lookout points and hiking trails are almost empty, too. Then, you've got the casinos and beer bars of happening South Lake Tahoe to enjoy. Plan your winter vacation in Lake Tahoe with this handy guide of things to see and do.

    1

    Heavenly Mountain Resort

    Skiing in the sun above South Lake Tahoe

    Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of the premier ski fields overlooking the waters of Lake Tahoe. It actually straddles the California-Nevada border on the far southern end of the lake. That's where it rolls between the pine forests and peaks of the Sierra Nevada to offer nearly 1,200 metres of vertical drop and a total of 97 groomed runs.

    More than anything, Heavenly Mountain Resort is famed among West Coast skiers for its stunning views. You'll be whizzing down double-black-diamond slopes while gazing north to the cobalt shimmer of the lake. Panoramas shouldn't be too hard to come by, either – the resort is one of the sunniest in the USA, with over 300 days of cloudless skies to enjoy as you ride.

    Lokasi: 3860 Saddle Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Buka: November–March: daily from 8.30 am to 4 pm

    Telepon: +1 775-586-7000

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    2

    Squaw Valley

    Olympic-level runs to get stuck into

    The Squaw Valley Ski Resort is hallowed ground for powder hounds all over the USA. Encompassing a whopping 6 peaks of the Sierra Nevada just to the west of Lake Tahoe on the California side, it rose to fame as the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It's also been a practice ground for some of the world's very best skiers – the freestyle maestro Shane McConkey, for example.

    Head over and you'll find a massive 3,600 acres of skiable terrain, which now extends to over 6,200 acres thanks to a link with nearby Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. The area has loads of groomed runs, but it really excels on the freestyle front, with open bowls and powdered off-piste by the bucket load.

    Lokasi: 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA 96146, USA

    Buka: November–March: daily from 9 am to 4 pm

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    3

    Hard Rock Casino

    One of the biggest casinos in Lake Tahoe

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    Hard Rock Casino beckons punters just a stone's throw over the California-Nevada border. In fact, it's in the small town of Stateline itself, where oodles of other gaming halls just like it shimmer with their neon lights within sight of the border.

    But the Hard Rock Casino isn't just one of the bunch. It's also one of the biggest in the area, spreading over a mind-boggling 22,000 sq ft of space with upwards of 530 rooms and suites. Betters will find plenty. Blackjack tables? Check. Sportsbooks? Check. Poker showdowns? Check. Oh, and there's a great mix of steakhouses and sports bars on site to boot.

    Lokasi: 50 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449, USA

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    4

    Emerald Bay

    See the ice-topped beauty of Tahoe

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    Emerald Bay is considered by many to be the single most picturesque spot on the shores of Lake Tahoe. You can be the judge of that by cruising along the Emerald Bay Road that zigzags through the forested hills on the south side of the lake. Pull up at the Emerald Bay State Park and get ready for a stonker of a view.

    In a horseshoe shape fringed by the low hills of the Sierra Nevada, the bay shines an impossibly clear blue colour. It's dotted with little Fannette Island at its heart and hosts the curious gothic folly of the Vikingsholm mansion at its base. In the colder months, there's only a fraction of the crowds, not to mention a charming dusting of snow and ice.

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    5

    The Brewery at Lake Tahoe

    A hearty mountain drinking hole

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    The Brewery at Lake Tahoe shows it's not all about the great outdoors in this mountainous corner of the Golden State. Huddled with all the other cafes and après ski bars in the buzzy heart of South Lake Tahoe, the venue sits right alongside Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

    Drop in to find arguably the town's top range of craft brews. The taps pour all sorts, from the acclaimed homebrew of Alpine Amber Ale to the light and easy Palisades Pilsner. The interior is warm and cosy with its own log fire and festive decorations come December. Food-wise, you've got comfort pub grub like pizzas, burgers, and hotdogs.

    Lokasi: 3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Buka: Monday–Thursday from noon to 8 pm, Friday–Saturday from noon to 9 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Telepon: +1 530-600-4141

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    6

    Sugar Bowl

    Skiing on historic ground

    Sugar Bowl is one of the more moderately sized ski fields in this corner of the Sierra Nevada. It occupies the ridges that unfold around Interstate 80, approximately 40 minutes' drive out of Tahoe City. The skiing is great, with 103 runs and 1,650 acres of accessible terrain, much of which lends itself to confident intermediates.

    However, there's more than just snow runs at the Sugar Bowl. This resort creeps up to the tops of Mount Judah and Mount Lincoln, which were once an important pass in the journeys of the first pioneers back in the 1800s. You'll be able to see them as you ski, along with portions of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail.

    Lokasi: 629 Sugar Bowl Rd, Norden, CA 95724, USA

    Buka: November–March: daily from 9 am to 4 pm

    Telepon: +1 530-426-9000

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    7

    Olympic Museum

    Get your skates on for this sporty exhibit

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    The Olympic Museum showcases the glory days of the Tahoe region. It sits in the heart of Squaw Valley Ski Resort, which was the host of the prestigious 1960 games. Within are exhibits that chronicle the full history of that momentous event, unravelling the story of the various competitors and the new technologies that were changing winter sports in the middle of the 20th century.

    Guests get a chance to pose on a replica medal podium. There's an informative film about the Squaw Olympics. You'll see the famous rings and original training gear worn by the athletes. Even getting to the Olympic Museum is fun – you need to ride the Aerial Tram to a station that's more than 8,000 ft above sea level.

    Lokasi: Olympic Museum, Olympic Valley, CA 96146, USA

    Telepon: +1 800-403-0206

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    8

    Tahoe SnowFest

    Mardi Gras on the mountains

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    Tahoe SnowFest – also known as SnowFest! – takes place in the midwinter months on the shores of North Lake Tahoe. It's a fun-filled festivity that sees the locals come out of hibernation for all sorts of events. Started way back in the 1980s, it's now an integral part of the Tahoe cold season.

    There are around 100 organised activities on Tahoe SnowFest’s line-up. Some are weird and wonderful, like the Hawaiian-inspired luau shindigs and the fancy dress polar bear swim. Others are artier and more traditional, like the ice carving competition, the fireworks displays and ski races.

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    9

    Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe

    Go tubing in the snow

    Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe is a fine alternative to the huge ski resorts for families with little ones visiting in the colder months. Look for it on the wiggling El Dorado Freeway past the town of Meyers on the southern end of the lake. There, it occupies 40 acres with its fun-filled winter enjoyments.

    Billing itself as a "sledding resort", Adventure Mountain has laid out courses for tubing and sledding, set in lines of five between the pine forests. You don't need your own ride – there are rentals on site. For something a tad more chilled, the attraction also boasts designated snow-play areas for the little ones.  

    Lokasi: Nebelhorn, Hwy 50 Echo Summit, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96155, USA

    Buka: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm

    Telepon: +1 530-659-721738

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    10

    Paige Meadows Loop

    Miles and miles of scenic meadows, woods and hidden glens

    The Paige Meadows Loop is a hiking path around the side of Lake Tahoe that remain open during the winter months. You can find the trailhead in the suburbs of south Tahoe City. It's not as easy a trek as in the summer and spring, and you won't find the lovely wildflowers in bloom. But strap on the snowshoes and there's an adventure to be had.

    The walk goes through gorgeous hidden glens and clearings in the woods. The duo of rock tops that is the Twin Peaks looms overhead, while the ski runs of Ward Peak and Alpine Meadows are visible in the distance. It's about 5 miles in total, but you don't have to complete the whole thing. Remember: Always tell someone you're heading off hiking before you go.

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    Joseph Francis | Penulis yang Berkontribusi

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