Diamond Peak and June Mountain Partner Up

Diamond Peak Expands Season Pass Partnership 
Boreal Mountain Resort and June Mountain Ski Area Added for 2014-15
Incline Village, NV– 2014-15 Diamond Peak Ski Resort season pass holders will now receive bonus days at Boreal Mountain Resort and June Mountain Ski Area in addition to Homewood Mountain Resort and Red Lodge Mountain, for a total of 16 complimentary non-holiday lift tickets, four at each partner resort.

Season pass holders must present their valid 2014-15 season pass at the partner resort’s ticket window to receive one complimentary lift ticket redeemable on that day only. Complimentary lift tickets will not be issued during each resort’s holiday blackout periods. Details and restrictions are listed on the Season Passes & Perks page at DiamondPeak.com.

Both Homewood Mountain Resort and Boreal Mountain Resort are about 40 minutes away from Diamond Peak. Homewood is known for their fantastic views from the West Shore and Boreal boasts an extensive terrain park with night skiing. “Boreal is usually the first ski resort to open in Tahoe so this partnership will allow our season pass holders to get in some early season skiing,” said Brad Wilson, Diamond Peak General Manager.  June Mountain Ski Area is about a 3-hour drive from Tahoe and “a great weekend trip from Tahoe with affordable lodging options,” said Eric Kertzman, Diamond Peak Sales Manager. “June has great skiing for all ability levels and is another legendary Sierra secret stash to explore this winter.”

As an added bonus, 2014-15 Diamond Peak Ski Resort season pass holders receive 50% off Woodward Tahoe Core Memberships and Daily Session Bunker Passes plus $100 off 2015 Woodward Tahoe Summer Camp programs at Boreal.

2013-14 and 2014-15 Homewood, Boreal, and June season pass holders receive discounts at the Incline Village Golf Courses for the remainder of the 2014 golf season. Discounts can be redeemed at both the Incline Village Championship Golf Course and Mountain Course. Incline Village Golf Courses will be open until mid to late October, weather permitting. Guests must reserve a tee time by calling (866) 925-GOLF. More information may be found at www.golfincline.com.

Diamond Peak 2014-15 Season Pass* Early Bird Rates (July 1st – Oct 31st)

Full* Midweek*
Adult (24 – 64) $349 $249
Youth (13 – 23) / College $199 $159
Child (7 – 12) / Senior (65 – 69) $139 $125
Super Senior (70 – 79) $59 $49
6 & under / 80+ Free Free

*Non- IVGID Picture Pass holder rates. IVGID Picture Pass holders get special discounted rates.

About Diamond Peak Ski Resort 
Diamond Peak Ski Resort is North Lake Tahoe’s hidden gem. Located in Nevada’s Incline Village, the affordable, family friendly resort offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, a summit elevation of 8,540-feet and a 1,840-foot vertical drop. Skiers and boarders can experience 655 acres of beginner to advanced terrain that include open glades. For more information on Incline Village and the Diamond Peak Resort visit InclineVillageReservations.com

About Boreal Mountain Resort
Nearly always the first resort open in the area and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 7 days a week, Boreal routinely provides skiers and riders more access to the mountain than any other resort in the country. Located directly off Interstate-80, Boreal has become a mecca for terrain park enthusiasts. RideBoreal.com

About Homewood Mountain Resort
Homewood Mountain Resort, founded in 1961, is one of California’s first winter recreation resorts. Homewood is accessible via Interstate 80 to California State Route 89, just 55 miles from Reno Tahoe International Airport. www.skihomewood.com

About June Mountain Ski Area
June Mountain Ski Area, California’s Family Mountain and sister resort to Mammoth Mountain. June enjoys an average of 250 inches of snowfall each year, over 1,400 acres, and is known for its family-friendly feel and broad range of terrain. June Mountain is open for skiing and snowboarding from mid-December to mid-April. June Mountain is the Eastern Sierra gem.

Fun at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

shakespeare-blogEntertainment, food, family and friends will converge under the stars on the scenic shore of Lake Tahoe this summer as Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival- a premiere summer event in the Reno/Tahoe region – launches its 2014 season. Featuring live entertainment seven nights a week from July 11 – August 24, 2014 at Sand Harbor State Park, the season is anchored by the Festival’s main stage production of William Shakespeare’s enchanting romantic comedy As You Like It; performed Tuesdays through Sundays each week at 7:30 p.m.
shakespeare-1
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is annual event with different famous works being produced.  Past productions include “Two Gentleman of Verona”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“We are thrilled to continue Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s four-decade legacy of producing extraordinary professional theater under the stars for the residents of and visitors to the Lake Tahoe region,” said Artistic Director, Charles Fee. “The breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe is the perfect backdrop for our 2014 season.”

“Featuring gorgeous costumes, stunning sets and one of the most talented professional acting companies in the West, our production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It is sure to delight the entire family,” continued Fee. Comic twists and turns abound in the fertile Forest of Arden, where a disguised Rosalind seeks refuge after being wrongfully banished by her uncle. Her unfortunate exile is transformed into a charming adventure when she encounters some of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters – colorful fools, witty rustics, and the handsome, lovesick Orlando. A clandestine, gender-bending courtship ensues, changing the lost into unexpected lovers, in this timeless and transcendent tale.

Sand Harbor is located next to popular Incline Village, a sand and ski resort in North Tahoe. Incline Village Nevada offers a complete vacation experience with quaint shops, gourmet restaurants and boutique stores set within walking distance to the sand.  Pamper and relax at one of the local spas, sit on the beach, and then go around the corner to Sand Harbor for the Show.

The Sand Harbor experience is complimented by al fresco dining at its on-site restaurant – Shakespeare’s Kitchen, or customers may choose to bring their own food or drink for picnicking. It’s like the Hollywood Bowl but on the beach says “Jefferson Lanz” Chief Everything Officer for the Lake Tahoe City Concierge, whose corporate offices are in …Hollywood.

Concours d’Elegance returns to its history in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Boat Show

Classic wooden boat show features a parade of boats

Lake Tahoe has been home to Boat Week for 20 years. With a long run in Carnelian Bay at the Sierra Boat Company, the annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance will move to the west side of the lake. The Tahoe Yacht Club sponsors of the prestigious wooden boat show have declared the west side of the lake and home to the Tahoe Maritime Museum in Homewood will be the new home. The new location will elevate this classic wooden boat show and parade to new levels in this very intimate setting.

For spectators, the parade of these classic boats is unparalleled and guests often journey quite the distance as this kind of show is not seen anywhere else. Each summer it is a highlight event on the North Tahoe shore, so guest will want to find accommodations in vacation rentals along the Lake Tahoe coast, or in the surrounding neighborhoods of Homewood, Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista and Truckee. This event is and equivalent to a giant vintage car show… just on water. The historic venue offers unbelievable views of the lake and lends itself to incredible shopping and dining experiences with the show’s vendors and community. It usually takes place the first weeks of August.

Lake Tahoe is synonymous with wooden boats and the oldest boat company Obexer’s will be the host. The goal has always been to blend the history of these magnificent craft with the history of the Lake and the venue where wooden boats were first introduced to Tahoe. The partnership strives to bring back the authenticity of Lake Tahoe to the show and reinforce the exclusivity of this premier wooden boat show.

“We are also thrilled to bring the show to the Homewood community, also rich in history and home to the Tahoe Maritime Museum,” Dave Olson, Founder. “

The Tahoe Yacht Club is a private membership club founded in 1925 and ranks among the oldest boating associations in the West. It offers an 18-week summer program of laser and keel boat regattas, rallies and cruises for power boats. Off the water, the club is host to an array of parties and social events at their lakefront location. More information is available Lake Tahoe Concourse website.

Pineapple Express hits Lake Tahoe

Heavenly Valley From Above

Heavenly Valley After the Pineapple Express Hit

We are hearing all about the Pineapple Express, how much snow it is bringing, and how it comes from off shore. So what is the “Pineapple Express”. It is a non-technical term for a meteorological phenomenon characterized by a strong and persistent flow of moisture always tied to the Hawaiian Islands. A Pineapple Express is an example of a meteorgical event where water vapor is moved abournd by an arctic troughs from the Northwestern United States. It leads to the one thing we all want this time of the year which is snow. And Lake Tahoe is getting dumped on!

This is the current snow report as of Sunday, February 9 at 6:02 a.m. PT Check out why Northstar and Lake Tahoe are having a booming month, and it is the place for a February vacation . New Snow: 32″

Mid-Mountain (Elevation 6,800′)Last 24-hrs (5a-5a): 2″

Last 48-hrs (5a-5a): 6″

Last 7-days (5a-5a): 9″

Base Depth: 20

Summit (Elevation 8,610′)Last 24-hrs (5a-5a): 32″

Last 48-hrs (5a-5a): 37″

Last 7-days (5a-5a): 43″

Base Depth: 26

Heavenly Valley Feb 2014

Heavenly Valley after a snow dump. Powder everywhere!

2013-2014 Total Summit Snowfall: 76″

So if you’re following the numbers, you can see that Northstar has had very little snow up until this weather pattern.  Great news for skiers and for those who are looking at a late winter vacation.   This is an unbelievable dump of snow. It is as if the weather man was 2 months late on his forecast as this much of a snow dump on Lake Tahoe was originally planned for December and January and now it looks like it is going to continue into March!  The means it looks like vacations to the ski resorts in California will continue on through Easter Sunday which is April 20 2014 this year.

Past 24 hours Approximate Base Depth
February 6900′ 8300′ 6900′ 8300′
4 Tuesday 0″ 1″ 18″ 21″
2 Sunday 1″ 2″ 18″ 21″
TOTAL 1″ 3″
January 6900′ 8300′ 6900′ 8300′
31 Friday 4″ 7″ 18″ 21″
30 Thursday 4″ 7″ 18″ 21″
11 Sunday 1″ 4″ 18″ 18″
TOTAL 10″ 18″

Forecast last updated on Sunday, February 09, 2014 at 2:26:48 AM.

Today

snow

snow High: 35° F

Precip chance: 100%

Monday

chance of snow

chance of snow High: 41° F

Precip chance: 40%

Tuesday

mostly cloudy

mostly cloudy High: 43° F

Precip chance: 0%

Wednesday

chance rain

chance of rain High: 44° F

Precip chance: 40%

Thursday

chance of rain

chance of rain High: 45° F

Precip chance: 0%

Tonight

snow

snow Low: 28° F

Precip chance: 100%

Monday Night

mostly cloudy

mostly cloudy Low: 26° F

Precip chance: 0%

Tuesday Night

slight chance rain

slight chance of rain Low: 30° F

Precip chance: 20%

Wednesday Night

chance rain

chance rain Low: 34° F

Precip chance: 0%

Thursday Night

chance rain

chance rain Low: 30° F

Precip chance: 0%

Today: Snow. High near 35. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches possible.
Tonight: Snow. Low around 28. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Monday: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph after midnight.
Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.
Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Breezy.
Wednesday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Breezy.
Thursday: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45.
Thursday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.

To check out what is happening with the Pineapple Express, and read more about Northstar’s open terrain and snow conditions Visit Northstar’s Mountain Report.

California’s Mammoth Mountain and Lake Tahoe’s Northstar Bike Parks Make The “Top 10 Bike Parks in the World”

 

 

Mammoth Lakes California

WBP-Logo

This week, I’d like to feature some excerpts from the title article written by Dave Scorer, business creator of the best and most comprehensive Mountain Bike Park Web site around – World Bike Parks.com . Although Dave’s informative and interesting piece covers great top ten bike parks from around the world, we’re going to take a look at two of these winners, right here in our own backyard mountain resort towns of Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe. So here’s what he has to say about how to pick a winner!

“So how do you identify the top 10 bike parks…? I mean number one is obvious. Few people would argue that Whistler Bike Park leads the pack in probably every single metric you’d care to choose, from the number of trails to offering the best development programs for kids. But who is in the chasing pack?

First, we have to…

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How Did Incline Village Get Its Name?

incline-resort-2

Incline Village got its name thanks to the Incline Railway that serviced the area back in the late 1800s. The name came from the loggers, who in 1878 built a railway to ship the logs to build the towns of Lake Tahoe. The logging company relied upon the Incline Railway, which was also known as a cable railway, to help transport its timber. And like its name, Incline Village is not flat! It truly sits at an Incline.

In 1935, the area that is now known as Incline Village was bought up by George Whittell from these timber interests, as he had an idea as to the area’s most viable, as well as valuable, use. Whittell took his property at the north end of Lake Tahoe and sold off individual parcels to developers. Then over the years these parcels grew into developments that blossomed into the new towns at Incline Village and Crystal Bay, named after the Crystal Bay Construction Company.

Today, Incline Village has some of the most expensive homes in Lake Tahoe and has become a playground for these stunning mountain retreats. Incline Village vacations are one of the more exciting getaways in the Lake Tahoe area. The pristine alpine environment is the perfect setting for this four season resort with great outdoor activities, fun and entertainment, and rejuvenating spas and relaxation. One of the most beautiful things to do while in Incline Village is the drive around the lake. It takes about 2 hours in summer plus a little extra if you make several stops at all the vistas and scenic points along the route.

The beaches of California are amazing. Laying on the sand, playing in the water, riding the surf then kicking back to relax, it is what has made California famous and it’s what we do. And Lake Tahoe beaches are pristine and with the sport boats and paddle boards. Incline Village has one of those remarkable beaches. Here the sun is dazzling, the climate temperate and relaxing, and there are an abundance of water toys. Walking along the lakeside, cooling off in the water, lounging in the sand, it is part romance and part relaxation rolled into one. For those of you who swim, you can actually swim from Nevada to California. That’s what makes staying in a beach rental in Incline Village special.

Incline Village has more beautiful luxury lodging than any other Tahoe community. Large estates are available as five star luxury rentals with gourmet kitchens, modern living spaces, comfortable bedrooms, plenty of bathrooms, some with private hot tubs, pool tables or more.

Sitting on the shoreline, beach rentals in Incline Village are usually condominiums. With just steps to the water you’ll find an array of custom home rentals from small to large with many features you’d expect in Incline Village accommodations. Perfect vacations start with great lodging in Incline Village Tahoe.

From luxury lakefront homes to beachfront condos or villas on the golf course rentals in Incline Village are the start of a perfect retreat. It’s come a long way from its historical logging and railroad roots, yet the natural setting on the shores of “the lake in the sky” mixed with the unique charm of the town and the top-class lodging makes Incline village a vacation experience found nowhere else.

South Lake Tahoe – A Water Lover’s Paradise

get-INTO-the-water-2013-5

Looking for paradise? Then look no further than South Lake Tahoe, which is the perfect oasis for you if you are a water loving outdoor enthusiast. With the lake’s crystal waters, forested pines and snow-covered mountain peaks, there is an abundance of things to do in this panoramic playground. The refreshing air and open space makes you feel happy – such a nice change from city congestion. And making reservations for your South Lake Tahoe summer vacation is easy and the ideal way to enjoy these surroundings in a vacation rental property along the water, in the marina or tucked into the forest yet close to all the activities.

Nobody has to be sold on wanting to experience the beautiful and fun water of Lake Tahoe. In 2012, Lake Tahoe won the “Best Lake in America” title: “Lake Tahoe has been named the “Best Lake in America,” according to results of a summer 2012 reader’s poll released by USA Today. Various magazine editors narrowed national nominations to the top 16; readers weighed in, and the largest and most popular alpine lake in North America took home top honors by garnering more than 5,000 votes via Facebook and Twitter.”

So, to make your vacation special, you’ll want a rental home that is as nice as your own home, or even a step up. Lake Tahoe was built with the idea that there are some people who like to stay in hotels, but there are others who want different kinds of vacation lodging. And fortunately for those folks, situated all through this breathtaking area there are many varieties of vacation homes and condos for rent, from quality-cozy to jaw-dropping luxurious.

If you want to “try on” some top-quality lakeside lodging, there is the Tahoe Keys, which is a marina with every house on the water in a bay, many with boat docks so you can bring your boat and pull it right up to the private dock. You’ll find that the home rentals in South Lake Tahoe come complete with fully-stocked kitchens with all the traditional appliances. Many have added gourmet kitchens, which is especially nice if your family is large and you want to have home cooked meals or parties. The living rooms have varieties of “entertainment centers” with TVs, DVD players, stereos and plenty of room so everyone in your group can spread out and not feel cramped. Many even have bonus rooms with game tables such as foos ball, ping pong or billiards. Of course a vacation wouldn’t be a vacation without a hot tub. And if you’re close to the lake or right on the beach, you’ll have a great day relaxing in the sun of South Lake Tahoe.

But if you believe that there are different strokes for different folks, then staying in a rustic cabin Lake Tahoe style may sound appealing to you where you can find some pretty fine examples of what life is like living beneath the firs and pines. Just moments from the city are the forests that line the perimeters of the lake, and a place away from the activities means you’ll hear the birds chirp and frogs croak at night. So if this is your idea of truly getting away from it all, some of the areas you might want to consider are the neighborhoods of Meyers or Kingsbury.

And what if you want something on the swanky side and are leaning toward a more high-end luxury property. Some travelers who only travel and stay in a “Ritz” property love the beach front homes and other vacation homes that have private indoor swimming pools. These are gorgeous properties are close to all the activities but just far enough to have some privacy. Many are right in South Lake Tahoe, nearby Zephyr Cove or just on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe in Stateline. Often these luxury vacation rentals are large enough for the entire family, grandma and the rest, to stay. And an extended family trip, groups of friends, or even a couple of families jointly off to the lake to share a vacation home is the new “in” thing.

As far as things to do – the “Lake of the Sky” offers plenty of hiking, biking, waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing, paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking and much more during the summer months. And if you love concerts, Harrah’s and Harvey’s Hotels (on the Nevada side of Tahoe) run a summer concert season with headline entertainment packed with amazing groups including Jefferson Starship, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Vanilla Ice, The Steve Miller Band, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and The Dave Matthew’s Band.

South Lake vacation rentals generally are placed around stunning Lake Tahoe so you can experience the most relaxing and convenient vacation possible. Whether you are visiting in the summer for the water activities and jumping nightlife, or decide to come up for the winter ski and snowboarding season at the three different resorts, you can find the perfect home or condo for you that makes it easy to take advantage of everything South Lake Tahoe offers to its visitors.

According to Jefferson Lanz of City Concierge, the vacation expert’s central reservation and concierge company that exclusively handles the reservations for these many different vacation rentals, also often puts together Lake Tahoe travel packages. And with the desirability of a “Get Into the Water” Lake Tahoe vacation, these special packages, as well as the best properties, are always subject to availability, so travelers will want to preserve their spots as soon as they can. City Concierge is the local authority to vacation planning in South Lake Tahoe and vacation rentals are our specialty. So we’d like to share a tip with you: for the best in lodging, consider the South Lake Tahoe home rentals for your upcoming vacation to beautiful blue Lake Tahoe.

When Business Partners Partner, Customer Win Big

beaches

With the economy on a positive upswing, Lake Tahoe vacationers can find good luck when they take advantage of this summer’s special cost-saving vacation packages. Since every penny still counts, these unique deals are being offered by a couple of penny-wise, creative lodging companies who’ve partnered together to give people a break and some “Get Into the Water” incentive. Travelers can save money, stay in upscale lodging and enjoy an affordable summer escape to the pristine “Lake of the Sky”. And when these lodging partners decided to offer a free night’s stay and other goodies as part of this package, they knew this could offer a real stimulus!

Nobody has to be sold on wanting to experience the beautiful and fun water of Lake Tahoe. In 2012, Tahoe.com reported that Lake Tahoe won the “Best Lake in America” title:

“Lake Tahoe has been named the “Best Lake in America,” according to results of a summer 2012 reader’s poll released by USA Today. Various magazine editors narrowed national nominations to the top 16; readers weighed in, and the largest and most popular alpine lake in North America took home top honors by garnering more than 5,000 votes via Facebook and Twitter.”

But Lake Tahoe’s summer season is even busier than its ski season, so demand is higher and lodging prices are even higher, with really good deals from high quality properties often tough to find and selling out quickly. Hotels can become highly competitive with each other as they vie for tourist’s dollars. That’s why these two friendly companies decided to create a unique vacationer-focused partnership package instead of competing with each other! It’s a win-win for everyone, especially for the travelers.

“We wanted to create a special summertime package that would allow folks to enjoy our fabulous, upscale boutique hotel and receive some extra special offerings all for an affordable price, and for our guest only,” says Katy Donoghue of The Avalon Lodge, which also offers a couple of minutes’ walk to the Heavenly Gondola, their own private beach access, and nearby casinos.

According to Jefferson Lanz of City Concierge, whose vacation expert’s central reservation and concierge company often puts together Lake Tahoe travel packages like this one, “this summertime deal – Stay and Play 4 4 3 (stay 4 and pay for 3) – is an exclusive package between the two companies. That’s a 25% savings on a 4 night stay! Plus as a City Concierge guest, the folks at Avalon Lodge will put a bottle of hand selected wine and complimentary souvenir glasses in your room so you can celebrate your vacation when you arrive, and for years to come. This how customers can save, get a few perks, and perhaps even an exclusive deal on their travel

Of course with the desirability of a “Get Into the Water” Lake Tahoe vacation, these partners point out that a package like this is always subject to availability, so travelers will want to preserve their spot before it is sold out for this season. But looking forward, when lodging businesses like these two become partners instead of competitors, more quality deals will become available for travelers. It takes a cooperative business perspective, creativity, and most importantly, sincere customer service and care to produce a three-way winning strategy for everyone. City Concierge and The Avalon Lodge of Lake Tahoe have offered a jackpot this time.

MORE ABOUT THIS COMPANY:
About City Concierge® – As an internet-based fully independent central reservation agency, City Concierge ® delivers a collection of tourism-based vacation planning services, lodging reservations, personal services, rentals, and activity information for individuals, groups and corporate travel in Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe and Big Bear California. City Concierge ® 866-864-6444.

 

Don’t Get Scammed On Your Next Resort Vacation

big bear cabin

The simple and convenient use of online vacation rental Web sites is on the rise and has become the new norm for many people planning a trip. Vacation lodging is being reserved through computers and smart phones, on commuter rails and lunch breaks, and while watching the kid’s soccer game. Unfortunately, vacation-rental-scams are also on the rise. Sadly, the scams are proliferating by the larger companies such as Expedia, Travelocity, Trip Advisor Bookings.com and the like.  They are not telling you the whole truth about their hidden fees.  The last thing anyone wants to worry about is being scammed on vacation.

Yes, it’s true, VRBO once meant “Vacation Rental By Owner” however in order to jump on the vacation rental bandwagon, they now import properties from local area business property managers.  In order to make their margins, they add on “service fees”.  Since they also get paid by the property managers, these local companies need to add on more fees so prices are higher than going local.  But we’re not singling out just one company, all the national companies are doing this, and ironically, they are all owned by just a few big boys.  The days of renting direct from an owner and getting an owner’s hospitality are over.  Even AirBnb, the original rent from an owner site has the majority of their listings by property managers.

More and more vacationers are choosing the ease and comfort of staying in a vacation rental home rather than in a hotel when they travel to a resort. The hustles and bustles of a hotel aren’t always the most relaxing, the cost can be quite a bit higher and the creature comforts are missing. The advantages to vacation home and cabin rentals over individual hotel rooms are many, with the larger space, improved privacy and shared living areas making this choice preferred by numerous travelers. However, booking these homes online through a private party can be risky for the renter.

According to an August 2010 leading travel industry article by Tnooz, “Industry studies show that the overwhelming majority of travelers (up to 80%) select their accommodation through the Internet, and over 50% end up booking online.”

Most vacation rental Web sites are trustworthy. As one California resort reservation booking company pointed out, “working with a local and professional vacation rental Web-based business helps avoid the rip-off, the excessive fees,  and the enticing to-good-to-be-true advertisements that are found on Craigslist, Backpages.com, larger national sites, or other Web sites where fraudulent perpetrators lie.”

So how can the public tell the good guys from the bad guys? Not all rental scams are that obvious. Here are several important characteristics to look for when deciding on which online vacation rental business to use and choosing the right property:

  • Is the vacation rental Web site locally or regionally based? Real businesses have real local or regional addresses. Google their address. The vacation property itself should have an address for Google Maps verification. If it doesn’t ask a telephone agent for it. Then Google it.
  • Are there additional “service fees” and line items that you see only at check-out
  • Does the Web site business have a working phone number? Call them and talk to them, or notice how soon they return any messages left. Real businesses have real professional and knowledgeable employees who provide quality information. They also use a consistent email address in their correspondence. The email address should be the same as the domain name, not a “free” email box from Yahoo, MSN, AOL or Gmail.
  •  Real businesses have their name the same as their Web site address (the URL). When they have good, original content on their site, such as “local activities to do”, this helps to prove their credibility.
  • When was the business started? Do they have a trademark and a business license? If they don’t provide this, do not do business with them. This is public information; you can find it easily with a search.
  • Are the photos of the vacation rentals really theirs? Fake sites steal photos from legitimate Web sites.
  • What is their payment system? Credit cards are the absolutely safest way to go. If they want, cash, wire transfers, money orders or a personal check written to their first name, run the other way.
  • 24-hour service is important. Does this company/person have a local representative that is within an hour of any service call? What happens if the heat goes out in a snow storm? Often when renting direct with an owner there is no 24/7 service which is how they compete to keep the price down. Why ruin your vacation?

Any online business is potentially susceptible to being a fraud when money and “products” are exchanged through a virtual format. Dealing with a fraudulent vacation rental “business” is like going to a car dealer that sells you a lemon – it looks really good at the dealer but turns into a nightmare on the road. A “buyer” should use the same smart due diligence with an online vacation rental Web site. This way they will get what they paid for and be spared a vacation disaster. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How To Ski Lake Tahoe in a Week

Want a week’s worth of ski vacation fun? Lake Tahoe, both the North and South sides, is so large that there are 14 different ski resorts ringed around this high elevation lake. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiast from California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon come here because of this wide variety of quality resorts, world-class entertainment and breathtaking landscapes. With so many ski venues and fun places to pick from, how do you choose between them all? Why not try skiing several and taking in “The Lake of the Sky” in a week. Sort of like a “skiathon.” It really is doable for you on an extended vacation without feeling rushed, leaving plenty of time to spend outside. There are two ways for you to do it: 1) stay on either the North or the South ends, and then travel to the different resorts around the lake on different days, or (our preferred way) 2) split your stays between both ends, enjoying each for half the vacation with less driving. Both ways will work.

So whether you choose to stay at North Lake Tahoe or on the South Shore, or split your stay between both, your first choice is making the right Lake Tahoe reservations. Vacation rental houses, whether posh South Lake Tahoe luxury rentals, convenient North Lake Tahoe condos, or cozy, rustic Lake Tahoe cabins, make the best “Base Camps” for a ski resort adventure. Both families and friends traveling find that vacation home rentals are actually far less expensive than individual hotel rooms – better for shrinking budgets and more features such as full kitchens for cooking meals, living rooms for hanging out, and plenty of space for spreading out. This more personalized form of travel offers each property’s unique features for you to look forward to enjoying. Like hotels, most short-term lodging in Lake Tahoe is fair traded and appears on multiple sites, but is not necessarily serviced in the same way. Working with a quality Lake Tahoe reservations and full-service concierge company will make a huge difference in your vacation experience.

“We’re not in the travel business, we’re in the customer service business” commented City Concierge® CEO, Jefferson Lanz, one such local company that builds relationships with its customers who return over and over again because of it. “When all things are equal, customer service continues to win out. By making it easier for people to plan vacations and get Lake Tahoe rentals easy, we’re hoping we’ll see less churn in the customer base and more repeat visits.”

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Squaw Valley has perfectly groomed slopes for all levels. Plan a day at the resort made famous by the 1960 Olympics.

So, once you’ve settled in, one place to start resort hopping is at the winter wonderland north end of the lake, near Tahoe City’s California side. The area hosts Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Olympic Games, and Northstar, which are the most popular places to ski. If you chose a North Lake Tahoe condo, cabin or home, you will want to be close enough to walk to the lifts. Both Northstar and Squaw have world-class  ski slopes and ride parks, along with their own village shopping, dining and clubs, so stay close to both so you can alternate where you go as they are only 15 minutes apart. The other ski resorts near Tahoe City are Alpine Meadows, Boreal and Sugar Bowl, and on the east side is Incline Village Tahoe  home of  Diamond Peak, all midsized and will give you the skiing entertainment without the price of the big guys.

Other north end activities include the famous Royal Gorge Cross-country ski resort, along with a multitude of snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling and sleigh riding opportunities. And for the more adventurous, winter kayaking is popular on Lake Tahoe, North American’s 26th largest lake, which is 17 miles long and 12 mile wide. All along the quieter unique and cozy north end you will find Lake Tahoe condos right on the lake, in the small neighborhoods and very close to quaint shops. Many places will have private beaches. The smaller towns have meandering paths along the coastline and are filled with memorable restaurants and cute shops full of hand crafted goods and original merchandise. The Cal Neva Resort in Crystal Bay, once a secret haven for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack and San Francisco’s upper crust, has gambling and music action for those wanting to turn up the heat. There is also a wonderful spa and casino at the Lake Tahoe Hyatt in Incline Village.

Continuing your ski tour south along the lake’s breathtaking eastern edge brings you to South Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side. A winter vacation on the South Shore means you can visit three different ski resorts all within 30 minutes of each other. You will want to stay in a South Tahoe luxury home rental when you are skiing in South Tahoe or  staying in Heavenly Mountain Resort lodging, Kirkwood or Sierra-at-Tahoe. There are  homes and cabins all over for all budgets, but treat yourself to one of the more posh places that are either on the lake front, have a lake view or are close to the slopes. Many are big enough for two or more families to share, which means you can share the cost and get something more elaborate.

As far as the southern ski resorts go, the massive Heavenly Valley spans both California and Nevada making it the largest skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe with incredible lake views. Kirkwood Mountain Resort is one of the California’s top year round family destination resorts, recognized by winter purists for the quality of its snow and terrain variety. Sierra-at-Tahoe is the last of the South shore resorts. Much quieter than the larger Kirkwood and Heavenly Valley, Sierra is a medium size resort geared for families. They have a wonderful tubing park called Blizzard Mountain perfect for the young ones, and young at heart.

The renowned rocking nightlife of South Lake Tahoe is filled with fun for high rollers and non-gamblers alike. The hotel showrooms feature great headline entertainment along with casinos – comedians, bands, magicians, shops and exotic restaurants make it a very active place to vacation. Some of the top bands that have played Tahoe recently include Elton John, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Lady Antebellum and The Steve Miller Band. Ski all day, and then play all night. Winter fun at South Shore also includes sledding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, dogsled tours, gondola rides and sleigh rides.

Seven days will seem hardly enough time with all the ski resorts and activities to choose from, but it’s a great start to experiencing all that Lake Tahoe has to offer all year long, not just in the winter. Whether you stay in lodging in Lake Tahoe in one place and venture out from there, or would rather move locations and hang out on both ends of the lake, your week will offer relaxation, memories, excitement, adventure and a taste of Tahoe that will leave you wanting more – maybe even thoughts of a return to experience the summer side of The Lake of the Sky.