Lake Tahoe offers world-class skiing at over a dozen resorts that should satisfy the needs of all shades of winter sport enthusiastskiers, 'boarders, Nordic skiers, and party animals alike. On its north shore, you have the big-mountain, fear-inducing slopes of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows; to the south lie the big-time slopes of Heavenly, Tahoe's largest resort, and all-around terrain of Kirkwood. If you're not confident driving in the snow, the best way to get around is by one of the resort shuttles that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off at the various resorts. The closest resort to the Truckee Amtrak station is Northstar-at-Tahoe. With 15 lifts and 70 trails, skiers and snowboarders will find challenges aplenty to keep them entertained all day. After spending the day shredding down the slopes, slip into a warm hot tub and relax your aching muscles. Accommodations at Northstar are moderately priced. For a more luxurious layover, try the Resort at Squaw Creek. This spa resort has its very own ski lift that whisks its patrons up to Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
(www.amtrak.com/holiday.html for full details)
ROUTE: Grand Junction, CO to Truckee, CA
LINE: California Zephyr
DURATION: 19 hours
PRICE: $105 to $186 (departs at 5:15 p.m.)
SCENERY: Farmland, desert, and the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains
ARRIVAL TRANSPORTATION: Northstar offers courtesy pick-up at the Truckee Amtrak station
RESORTS: Northstar-at-Tahoe or Squaw Creek: www.skinorthstar.com; www.squawcreek.com
WHAT TO BRING: Ski equipment and clothing, sunscreen
DURATION: Ski lifts are usually open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at most resorts PRICE: The average price for an adult lift ticket is $57. Hotel rooms at Northstar range from $184 to $279 during peak season.
DIFFICULTY RATING: Easy to expert
WHEN TO GO: December to March
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication