Well Intentioned: A Winter Wellness Guide to Tahoe

This state-straddling region, with its glittering lake and lofty peaks, is made for outdoor adventures
This state-straddling region, with its glittering lake and lofty peaks, is made for outdoor adventures | © Purestock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Sparks
30 November 2021

Lakeside yoga sessions, toasty firepits and hotels with hot tubs – here’s how to ski in style on the NevadaCalifornia border.

With a glittering freshwater lake surrounded by evergreen pines and easy access to the lofty peaks of the Sierra Nevada, this state-straddling region is made for outdoor adventures, whatever the season. In winter, snow-cloaked Tahoe is all about skiing and snowboarding – but there’s a blizzard of other ways to explore and unwind, too. Inhale a big gulp of fresh mountain air and prepare to chill out in Tahoe.

Granlibakken Tahoe

Exterior of a snow-covered Granlibakken Tahoe, with a balcony and trees beside the building
Courtesy of Granlibakken Tahoe / Expedia
Ski newbie? Head to the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, on the California side. The slopes surrounding the family-run hotel Granlibakken are ideal for beginners and intermediates, and the resort also runs a decent ski school and other child-friendly snow sports such as sledding and snowshoeing. There’s even a treetop adventure park next door. After all that action out in the cold, you’ll want to thaw out in the hotel’s hot tub, or cozy up under an infrared blanket after a tension-busting massage at the spa.

Mountain Lotus Yoga

Yoga Studio
This yoga studio is one of two Mountain Lotus locations (the other is in Truckee, a 20-minute drive north), but only the original Tahoe City outlet can boast a lakeside perch. In summer, SUP yoga on the lake is a popular pastime, but come winter, it’s all about the hot classes. Choose from super-sweaty Bikram yoga (comprising a set of 26 held postures), dynamic hot vinyasa flows and hot pilates.

Edgewood Tahoe Resort

A stylish dining room at Edgewood Tahoe Resort with a view over Lake Tahoe
Courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe Resort / Expedia
Whether your vision of winter wellness includes skin-quenching facials, sweaty peloton workouts or toasting marshmallows over an open fire, you’ll find it all at this luxury lakeside resort. The LEED-certified lodge is cathedral-like but super-cozy thanks to an abundance of gas fireplaces – which you’ll also find in your room, along with a deep soaking tub. Don’t miss the seasonal outdoor ice rink, surrounded by snow-dusted pines.

Black Cabin Coffee

Coffee Shop, Coffee
Winter slowing you down? Don’t hibernate – caffeinate. Black Cabin Coffee in South Lake Tahoe has all the sweet treats and energy-boosting beverages you need to get you through a frosty day. Warm up from the inside out with a hot honey latte or chipotle-cinnamon spicy mocha – or strengthen your immune system with a mint matcha or antioxidant-packed smoothie.

Resort at Squaw Creek

A cosy living area at Resort at Squaw Creek, with sofas, armchairs, a small table, a TV, fire place and windows with snowy views
Courtesy of Resort at Squaw Creek / Expedia
This sprawling, 405-room mountain hotel has direct access to the pine-studded slopes of Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Winter Olympics took place. This part of Tahoe has more snowy days than anywhere else in the region, making it one of the most reliable locations for winter sports. If you’re struggling with the altitude (mountain runs reach up to 9,000ft, or 2,743m), the high-altitude massage at the spa can help you acclimatize, while the sports massage and jacuzzis will soothe aches from hours of shredding powder.

Heavenly Ski Resort

Resort, Lodge
Person skiing near Lake Tahoe
Courtesy of Heavenly Ski Resort / Expedia
The biggest ski resort in Tahoe, Heavenly has a whopping 97 runs, ranging from wide-open slopes to narrow vertical chutes. The mountain offers staggering panoramas of the lake below and the chance to ski across the California–Nevada state line. Not into snow sports? There’s no need to miss out on the views – take the 2.4m (4km) scenic gondola ride to the observation deck and warm up with a hot chocolate at Tamarack Lodge.

Zephyr Cove MS Dixie II cruise

Natural Feature
At 501m (1,644ft), Lake Tahoe is so deep that the lake never freezes – meaning scenic boat rides are possible year-round. Head to Zephyr Cove Resort on the quiet East Shore to board the retro paddle steamer MS Dixie II for a two-hour sightseeing cruise. Sure, it’s a little touristy, but as you glide through the crystalline water, surrounded by snow-draped forest, towards Emerald Bay (home to the quirky Vikingsholm Castle and the only island on the lake), time seems to stand still.

Blue Granite Climbing Gym

The crags and boulders of Tahoe might be off limits come winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to hang up your chalk bag. Everything from kid-friendly footholds to gnarly overhangs can be found at this indoor climbing gym. Grab a day pass for unlimited climbing, as well as access to a fitness center and yoga classes. Kit is available for rent, and private lessons can be arranged if you’re looking for tailored training.

Fancy discovering plush places to stay in Lake Tahoe? Check out our pick of the best hotels to book in Lake Tahoe, California, bookable with Culture Trip.

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