We know there are people in the world who simply don’t ski, whether you’ve never tried it or just aren’t interested. We get it—you have your reasons. But even if you don’t ski or snowboard, you probably appreciate stunningly beautiful views, the smell of pine trees and wood-burning fires, hot tubs, great food, drinks, shopping and the relaxation of a mountain getaway.
Tahoe, in addition to its many world-class ski areas, also has all of these things and much, much more for non-skiers. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the magical winter landscape and get some exercise without strapping boards to your feet. Here are some of the best ways non-skiers can enjoy Tahoe.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
The best way to explore the Tahoe wilderness is on foot with a pair of snowshoes. As simple as walking or hiking, snowshoeing allows access to anywhere and everywhere. You can rent a pair and meander out on your own around the lakeshore or into the backcountry (rentals are available at Mountain Sports Center) or sign up for a tour, including a romantic, stargazing option. First-timers may want to explore the designated routes at the snowshoe and cross-country centers at Northstar or Kirkwood.
Cross-country skiing does take a bit more coordination than snowshoeing, but it is arguably the most well-rounded winter workout around and a guaranteed way to stay warm and invigorated while gliding through the woods. It also requires less gear and speed than downhill skiing, so if the speed or heights of skiing concern you, try cross-country first. Both Northstar and Kirkwood offer cross-country ski lessons in classic or skate technique and miles of trails to glide on.
There is a timeless thrill behind dashing through the Sierra Nevada mountains behind a pack of energetic huskies. Wilderness Adventures offers dog sled tours throughout the winter, and you’ll enjoy the distinct, boundless energy that comes from these amazing animals.
You can also take the adrenaline-pumping route of speeding through the woods in a motor-powered fashion. Sierra Adventures, Lake Tahoe Snowmobiling, and Zephyr Cove offer guided snowmobile tours through powdery meadows and up and down ridge lines that are rich with sweeping panoramas of the lake and peaks.
Alternately, you can take in the same views as your friends on the hill by stepping from the top of the Heavenly gondola into a high-elevation UTV Tour. These continuous track vehicles move like a tank through the snow, giving you a great way to explore the backcountry, and a guide will discuss the Tahoe region and environment around you.
Surrounded by lights and motivated by music, the Heavenly Village outdoor skating rink is open daily until 8 p.m. with rentals available. Find your inner ice dancer.
Take the gondola to the top of the mountain and fly down on a soft inner tube. Heavenly has not one, but four, lanes open daily for snow tubing. Make your reservations early, as tubing is one of the area’s most popular activities.
It’s not a big secret that Heavenly’s Tamarack Lodge is where the party’s at every afternoon. Even if you’re not skiing, you can partake in the festivities, meet your friends for lunch, and best of all, take in the best views around on the scenic gondola ride.
A mountain getaway is, of course, the perfect excuse to indulge in a hot stone massage, revitalizing facial, or coconut body wrap. The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa is a solid choice for any pampering needs and comes with stunning lake views, situated right on the shore. Conveniently located next door to Heavenly and equipped with a casino and indoor pool, Harrah’s Spa also offers a long list of self-nurturing indulgences.
Whether you’re searching for gifts, contemplating one-of-a-kind local artwork at a gallery, or feeling like a kid again browsing the selections at the candy and toy stores, the shops at Heavenly Village can suck up an entire day.
Now we’re talking, right? Eating and drinking can undoubtedly be considered activities here, especially if you’re sampling suds at one of the many local breweries. Beer is a big deal around these parts, and you don’t have to travel far to hit a slew of brewers that thrive on creating their distinctive crafts. Cold Water is an established go-to, FiftyFifty has become a fast favorite (and makes excellent calzones), and you can always rely on Sidellis for a flavorful lineup of barrel-aged goodness. The suds are sumptuous at Lake Tahoe Aleworx, but the creative wood-fired pizzas alone are worth the trip. Stateline Brewery makes a bright warm-up for casino goers, and Alibi Aleworks is a great choice for dog and nacho lovers. South Lake Brewing brings a classic, industrial feel with its amazing hazy IPA, while Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. delivers yummy pub grub and serious sours. The Brewery at Lake Tahoe has something for everyone, even those who prefer grapes and harder grains.
Last But Not Least
Your trip will clearly be stacked with off-the-hill activities, but don’t forget that you are in the midst of many of the world’s greatest ski opportunities. The wide-open slopes and seemingly endless terrain are begging for you to spread your wings. This is really your big chance. It’s never too late to learn to ski or snowboard or give it another try. Instructors are patient, understanding, and accustomed to guiding every level and age of skier and rider to the next level—whatever that may be. You might kick yourself if you don’t at least plan half a day for a lesson. Carpe diem.
Written by RootsRated Media for Rent Skis.