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Country: California, USA
Author: Wear The Fox Hat
Our holiday: This was the last day of my 10 day trip to Lake Tahoe.
Basics: I stayed at the Granlibakken ( http://www.granlibakken.com/ ) on the outskirts of Tahoe city. Flew Heathrow - San Francisco with Virgin, then on to Reno with United. From there it was a 45 minute shuttle ride to the hotel.
Lift system: 4 lifts. Yes, you heard it right. 4. That means 1 lift to get you out of each of the 4 lowest points. This is not a problem, because there are no lift queues. The lifts are triples and quads. Non-detachable. They give you plenty of time to recover from previous runs, and enjoy the views.
The terrain: From the road you see 1 run and 1 lift. I guess that's what helps keep tourists away. There are a couple of long cruising greens, and a beginner section at the main base. Most of the pisted runs are blue, but the fun comes with the steeper runs through the trees.
The snow: Over 50cm of fresh powder had fallen the night before I arrived (and the report was that they had only bashed 10 pistes). This was on top of a good base.
Off-piste: Given the amount of snowfall and lack of piste-bashing, pretty much every run was off-piste, but the best actual off-piste for me was between White Lightening and Dutch Treat.
The resort: Facilities at the hill are limited - just the bare minimum, but it is a 10 minute free bus ride from Tahoe city on the TART or resort bus from the hotel. The base area is on one side of the road, and Lake Tahoe is on the other side of it, so if you don't stop in time, you might find the conditions under your skis go from powder to water quite quickly! It's not a built-up area, so no concrete monstrousities to create the typical alpine view either. At a guess, there were about 200 people at Homewood the day I was there.
Food: I ate at the resort base restaurant. Service is cafteria style, but slow, as the food was prepared for me once I ordered it.
Accommodation : The Granlibakken is a resort and conference centre in its own right. It has a large hot tub, swimming pool, tennis courts, and even a ski hill. The breakfast is excellent - buffet style with enough hot and cold food to keep everyone happy. It has a bar/restaurant as well, but I didn't eat there. For the first week I was there I stayed in a townhouse - sleeps 6, but there was only 4 of us in it. It was fully equiped, had 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 TVs, lounge, dining room, kitchen and balcony. During the second week, I stayed in one of their standard hotel rooms.
Costs: Hotel: $99 per night during the week, $122 at weekends. This included breakfast and a lift ticket for one of 5 different resorts. Lift ticket (typically overpriced US! ) $27 (if I'd had to buy it). Lunch (two courses + drink) $9. Beer $5. Bushmills $5. Jagermeister $6. (prices at the hill restaurant/bar)
Conclusion: If your prime requirements for a resort are kms of piste, number of lifts and size of queues, then stay well away. If you want to get away from the crowds and have a lot of fun on a "locals hill", then this place might well be worth a visit or two.
Homewood Resort Report Feedback Thread
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