America's Seniors/ TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com
California dream skiing
on a budget
Special to America's Seniors/TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com
California meant sunshine, surfing and
until we skied at
Lake Tahoe. My husband Nelson and I tour the country
winter, hunting for good places to ski. We found sunshine at Tahoe; we
also found lots of snow, breathtaking scenery and top-notch ski
resorts. The surf and stars
were farther west on the Pacific coast. But once at Lake Tahoe, lying
at 6229 feet in
the Sierra Nevada mountains along the California-Nevada border, we
never gave them a thought. The scenery and good skiing at Tahoe have
drawn us back there several times to enjoy the slopes of the many ski
areas around the lake.
The majority of winter visitors to the lake region choose lodging
on the glamorous South Shore and do their skiing at Heavenly,
Sierra-At-Tahoe and Kirkwood. We decided however to go off the
beaten path, over to the quiet side and explore lodging possibilities
on the North Shore. This area appeals to tourists in search of
clean, convenient places to stay at reasonable rates. But staying
there means no sacrifice of great scenery. Sweeping views of the lake
and mountains can be had from the North Shore during the day, with a
dazzling sunset finale. Nature-lovers dot the long shoreline, walking,
jogging, meditating, sketching, all of them enjoying in various ways
the unspoiled environment.
Along the north shore, Kings Beach is a small lakeside town that
accommodations to skiers. The town received its name from Joe King, who
the property in 1925 as the winnings of an all-night poker game.
Mostly a summer
vacation spot until the 1950s, the opening of several ski areas
generated a need for
winter lodging. Innkeepers and motel-owners obliged.
The 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley put Lake Tahoe on the
ski map. Today Kings Beach welcomes tourists all year round. Yet it
has lost none
of its simple charm.
We arrived in Kings Beach in late February 2003. At first glance,
Motel had nothing special to recommend it. But the clerk at the
told us that there were more attractive lakefront units that could not
be seen from
the road. Crossing the outer courtyard into the newer section
confirmed the clerk’s
description and we decided to give Ferrari’s a try.
Our accommodations proved to be beyond all our expectations. We spent
more days there, in a cozy lakefront unit with a kitchenette, a gas
fireplace, and the
most comfortable mattress we met with during our three months on the
road. Since we were right on the shore, traffic noise was muted and we
could appreciate the peaceful lake.
Ferrari’s Crown Motel is one of a vanishing breed of family-owned
in other popular vacation areas, big-name resorts have begun buying
out Mom and
Pop establishments, especially in South Lake Tahoe.
But while the giant conglomerates continue to erect massive
condominiums across the lake, guests return to the Crown Motel. They
come back year after year, to their
The motel is now run by the children of the original owner, who opened
it almost fifty years ago. Dave Ferrari, the manager, sees to it that
guests in his forty-five units
are well cared for. The keywords here are clean, tidy rooms with
regular renovations and very comfortable beds.
Kings Beach is in the heart of Lake Tahoe’s recreation area. Golf,
riding and hiking are a few of the popular summer activities. In
offers the best variety of alpine and nordic skiing in the world.
There are fifteen ski
areas around the lake, four of which offer free shuttle service from
the north shore:
Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar and Diamond Peak.
Mark Twain wrote that “three months at Lake Tahoe would restore an
mummy to his pristine vigor and give him an appetite like an
thought even this praise was inadequate. He added, “The air is very
pure and fine,
bracing and delicious, the same as the angels breathe.”
Tahoe has snowy mountains, sunshine
300 days a year and a mild climate. Our après-ski walks on
Ferrari’s private beach, breathing the air of angels, was exactly
what our sixty-something bodies needed to regenerate for another day
Trust me: this is as good as it gets!!
The Crown Motel is located at 8200 North Lake Boulevard. All rooms
have a fridge
and microwave. Rooms can be viewed on
www.tahoecrown.com . Winter
rack rates at the Crown Motel are $50 for standard units and $80 for
deluxe lakefront units. Senior discounts are available. The mailing
address is P.O. Box 845, Kings Beach, CA 96143, USA. Telephone:
The easiest way to visit Lake Tahoe is by car. The nearest major
airport is Reno NV,
forty miles away. A shuttle for the south shore is available at the
airport. To visit the
north shore, a car can be rented in Reno.