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North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

Perth, Australia
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North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

Hi

I am from Australia and visiting the US at the end of the year for 6 weeks. During my time I am planning on a designating a 3 week snowboard period from the beginning of January.

Initially I was very keen on going to Tahoe. I was unsure whether to stay in Tahoe City or South Lake Tahoe. Given the group I am travelling with are all roughly aged 23 - could someone please advise which location would be better given we would like a choice of bars and restaurants to relax after a tough day on the slopes?

Could someone also please advise whether staying in town house (vacation rental by owner) is too far away from the slopes?

I have also researched Vail - it seems to be what I am after, however, it appears to be quite expensive. Could someone recommend whether I should by-pass Tahoe and go to Vail? And if so, could you please recommend places to stay that are reasonably priced?

Thanks in advance!!

Dublin, California
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1. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

I don't ski or snowboard, but Vail has better and more reliable snow than Tahoe. For info on Vail you should post your question to the Vail forum.

San Jose, California
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2. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

Lake Tahoe (California) and Vail (Colorado) are both popular ski destinations. Both has a number of famed ski resorts.

Lake Tahoe is on the West Coast, Vail is somewhere in the middle of the country, so you might want to decide based on what other areas you are planning to visit while you are in the US.

You mentioned that you are traveling with a young crowd, and are interested in restaurants and bars, so, if you decided to visit Lake Tahoe, then I would recommend South Lake Tahoe. It is at the Stateline between CA and Nevada, and has a few Casinos that offer many night time activities.

There are many town houses for rent at South Lake Tahoe. You can find them nearby slopes if you like. We have rented a 3 bedroom townhouse within walking distance to Heavenly Ski Resorts before. You can search in vrbo. There are lots of choices there.

California
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3. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

South Lake Tahoe can be fun but Vail does have more happening. Vail is more village like while South Lake Tahoe is trying to be it doesn't have that vibe yet. There are things to do however so if you do choose Tahoe, because it's cheaper, you will have things to do at night.

Colorado isn't exactly in the middle of the US. I believe it is considered in the western US just next to Utah.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

True, Colorado isn't exactly in the middle of the US, but it kind of is...

I think most overseas tourists tend to visit the West or East coast. If you are visiting CA, particularly the San Francisco area, then Lake Tahoe is 4 or 5 hour driving distance away. Vail would require a flight, then a rental car to the ski resorts, so that add up to the expenses too.

My husband is from Colorado, we have skied there. I would agree that Colorado ski is better, but Lake Tahoe is excellent too. Particularly if you are already visiting the West Coast, and is perhaps concerned with expenses and travel logistics.

3 weeks is pretty long for snowboarding, if cost isn't that big of a concern, why not do both.

For 3 weeks, you might want to buy a season pass. There is a season pass you can buy that will give you access to some of the best ski resorts in both Colorado and Lake Tahoe: Vail, Heavenly (Tahoe), Northstar (Tahoe, and great for Snowboarding), Kirkwood (Tahoe). You can visit any of these resorts' website, and look that up.

California
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5. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

Oh I didn't see that SF was included in the itinerary. Sorry about that. Yes Tahoe is closer than flying to Colorado. I would choose Colorado if I were going to be snowboarding for 3 weeks.

California
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6. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

I see on your Vail topic you had a nightly lodging budget of $600. Well I am certain you can get one of the Marriott properties, which are really nice, for less than that. The Grand has a 2 story unit that has 3 full bathrooms, kitchen living room and huge loft area for less than that per night. You can find those on the Marriott site or via VRBO.

The Marriott Properties flank the Heavenly gondola, there is a movie theater behind it along with ice skating, across the street is a great pub and just a block up are the casinos - easy walk. Across the street is a terrific grocery store where you can stock your kitchen with fresh or cooked food.

Nearby there is dining whether quick pick up or sit down. Starbucks across the street - but where in the US can't you say that?

If you get a pass at Heavenly you can take a trip to Northstar for snowboarding as well.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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7. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

I don't think it is much of a contest. The snow in Colorado is so vastly superior to the snow in California it borders on the ridiculous. The Sierras in CA get very heavy, wet snow because the mountains are lower and the storms come directly off the Pacific Ocean, skiers and snowboarders call it "Sierra cement" because when it is deep it is like skiing in cement. Water content of the snow averages 12%

CO on the other hand has a much drier snow because the mountains are higher and the storm has traveled a long way and that changes the characteristics of the snow. Water content of the snow in CO averages less than 8%. But Vail is NOT where I would go as a 23 year old, I would look in Summit County and Breckenridge especially.

http://www.breckenridge.com/

The chair lifts at Breck (as it is called by locals) reach down into the city and the city is full of bars and restaurants. If the city of Breckenridge is too expensive you can stay in the nearby Frisco, Dillon or Silverthorne much cheaper and ride the Summit County Stage free all over the county.

http://www.co.summit.co.us/index.aspx?NID=586

coloradoskiresorts.com/summitcounty/summitma…

There are also four resorts to ski, Keystone, Breck, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin, in the county. You can easily reach Vail, Beaver Creek & Bachelor's Gulch if you want variety.

You should also look into the costs of a season pass vs buying tickets for individual days. If you plan on skiing say 14 days of the 21 days you are there, a season pass would be cheaper. Also look at multi-day tickets because you can use your Breckenridge or Keystone ticket to also ski at A-Basin and Vail/Beaver Creek.

http://www.keystoneresort.com/

If you were visiting San Francisco and wanted a place to ski a few days, I'd say sure, go ski at Tahoe, but three weeks, no way, go to Colorado. Look into flights to Vail/Eagle (EGE) and you can get a shuttle to Summit County, Denver International (DIA) is a possibility too, but Vail/Eagle is easier.

You might look at Utah too, which has even better snow than CO, but UT also has some very strange liquor laws that makes post skiing drinking a challenge, not hard, just a hassle. Park City is probably the best area in UT to look at.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

I ski both areas. Tahoe in December and Vail in March. I have a Vail Epic Pass which if you ski more then 6 days pays for itself. It is good at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, A Basin, Beaver Creek in Colorado and Northstar, Kirkwood and Heavenly at Tahoe. I think the snow is excellent in both regions, as long as they actually receive snow. Even the manmade snow is pretty darn good. Bottom line is both places are beautiful, great skiing, with plenty to do. Accomodations in Vail are more expensive. You will get more for your buck at Tahoe. It's completely personal preference and budget. if you have the funds 3 weeks is long enough to try both places, just saying..... Different experiences both excellent, you won't go wrong with either or both.

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

To answer the rest of your questions...Marriott Grand Residence at the gondola at Heavenly is the nicest place I've stayed in any ski area. I booked directly from their website and received a good rate until Christmas break started and prices tripled. So, I'd definitely check your dates. I've also rented from an owner thru www.vrbo.com and it was ok, no where near as convenient or nice as the Marriott property. For Vail I've used www.vrbo.com but have also had good luck with www.brandesscadmusrealestate.com and even Vail Realty has worked on occasion. To save money you can stay across the freeway from Vail in the Sandstone area is one I've tried and take the free shuttle to the slopes. It adds about 20 minutes each way which we eventually decided wasn't worth it, but it is much less expensive. We bite the bullet and pay the big bucks for the convenience of being right in the Village, but there are ways to save money if you don't mind a little inconvenience.

10. Re: North or South Lake Tahoe or Vail?

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