Lake Tahoe, California, is a popular weekend destination any time of year, but that’s especially true during a snowy winter. To make the most of a wintry 48 hours in the area and avoid spending the majority of your time waiting in line or stuck in traffic, you’ll need to plan ahead and think like a local.
First, I highly recommend heading to neither the north shore nor south lake, but to the sleepy west shore instead. Here’s why: You can stay at the super-cute Cedar Crest Cottages, be first in line for brunch at The Fire Sign cafe (a perfect spot to fuel up before a day of skiing or snowboarding), and make it to Squaw in the ideal timeframe — between 10:30 and 11 — to find parking and miss the crazy lift lines. That will still give you a good four hours of mountain time.
After an apres-ski beer and snack at The Rocker, head over to Soule Domain for a romantic dinner. You can either head back to the slopes on day 2 or go for a plan that combines scenery and exercise with a trick for beating the Sunday traffic home: go cross-country skiing at Royal Gorge, in Soda Springs. As North America’s largest cross-country ski resort, this place has something for everyone, and if you’re headed back to the Bay Area, you’ll miss the crazy traffic on 89 and 267, and get a jump on 80, too. Plan on a quick breakfast at Tahoe House (pro tip: their homemade bagels are delicious!), and stock up on treats and snacks for the trip home, too.