Are you taking a ski vacation to Lake Tahoe? There’s nothing like the feeling of a blue bird day at Heavenly with beautiful Lake Tahoe in front of you. It’s stunning. If you’re coming in the summer there are a hundred ways to enjoy the lake but in the winter there’s really only 1: The Tahoe Queen.
Thanks to the good people at Zephyr Cove Resort and Lake Tahoe Cruises, my wife and I recently took a ride on what’s billed as the world’s only waterborne ski shuttle.
The cruise departs South Lake Tahoe at 7:30 in the morning and arrives at the North Shore two and a half hours later. On the way to the North Shore a continental breakfast is served and the captain provides a verbal narrative highlighting some cool facts about the lake. Once you dock on the North Shore, a shuttle takes you to Northstar Village where you can enjoy a half day on the slopes or just hang out in the picturesque village.
The journey to the North Shore in the morning is low-key and quiet. Just sip your coffee and take in the view. On the journey back to South Shore in the evening the boat transforms into après-ski with food and drink specials, a DJ spinning tunes, and a blackjack tournament.
Having experienced it for myself, I’d say this is a definitive Tahoe experience. How do you come to Tahoe and not enjoy that big blue lake? Especially if you don’t know when you may get back to Tahoe, taking a ride on the Tahoe Queen to Northstar is something you absolutely must add to your list of things to do.
If you’re staying on South Shore there are certainly quicker ways to get to Northstar. If you’re looking for an experience though, then this is it. You get to enjoy the lake, and unlike in the summer, you’re the only boat out there. You get the experience of skiing another mountain. And then there’s the Northstar Village. I didn’t grow up skiing or around ski resorts, but the first time I stepped into Northstar Village I thought to myself, “this is always what I pictured a ski resort looking like.” Heck, even if I didn’t ski I’d take the ride over to the Northstar Village and enjoy a stop at Northstar’s Balance Spa.
The shuttle runs every Tuesday and Thursday through April 15. If you already have your lift ticket for Northstar the cost is only $59. Kids ages 3-11 ride for just $30. If don’t have a Northstar lift ticket, for $125 per adult you get your lift ticket and the shuttle ride. For more information or to book your ride, check out the Zephyr Cove website.
My wife and I had a blast. It was well worth all the finagling to get the kids taken care of for 12 hours. But I think the experience would be perfect for larger groups, families, office parties, and more.
If you go, let me know. I’d love to hear what you think.
-- Clark Vandeventer