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Recognized as one of the best ski and winter sport regions in America, Lake Tahoe is really 18 + ski resorts in one location, with numerous villages, hundreds of downhill runs and an abundance of cross-country terrain, all set against the stunning backdrop of the lake itself. It's so big, that the region is generally split into three areas -- North Shore Nevada, North Shore California and South Shore California and Nevada.

Whether you are into skiing, snowboarding, skating, sledding or just kicking back by the fireplace after an evening of fine dining and a dip in the hot tub, Tahoe is an awesome winter vacation destination. There's currently a base of over 110"of snow at Heavenly and 160" at Squaw Valley -- so what are you waiting for?

My Tahoe Vacation (tel. 888/434-1262; www.mytahoevacation.com) is the official website of North Lake Tahoe's Visitor and Convention Bureau. It features information and deals for the North Lake Tahoe region, including Incline Village, Kings Beach, Tahoe City, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Truckee, Northstar and West Shore.

They currently list the following midweek winter package options:

  • Enjoy a queen sized room and a two-day Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable Lift Ticket for use at seven plus resorts for just $84 per person per night. This rate is valid until March 30, 2006
  • Stay at a two-bedroom condo including a two-day Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable Lift Ticket to over 7 plus resorts for $90 per night (based on quad share). Valid until April 15, 2006
  • On the mountain ski in/out lodging in a deluxe studio with a two-day Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable lift ticket for just $142 per night. Valid until April 8, 2006.

Slightly higher rates are available for weekend and holiday stays.

Consider investing in the Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable Lift Ticket that gives you access to seven downhill and five cross-country resorts. The 2006 pass prices are as follows and are available online at www.mytahoevacation.com.

  • Three-day pass: $162
  • Four-day pass: $216
  • Five-day pass: $270
  • Six-day pass: $324
  • Seven-day pass: $378

Ski.com (tel. 800/778-8589; www.ski.com) lets you find Lake Tahoe area specials by date. I punched in February 20, 2006 and came up with the following excellent land-only deals:

  • Stay at the Forest Suite Resort located in South Lake Tahoe, only steps away from the State-line casinos, the Heavenly Ski Resort gondola and the Heavenly Village, from February 20 to April 1, 2006 and enjoy six-nights accommodation in a two-bedroom condo (based on quad share), get a five day lift ticket plus full-size car rental (excluding airport taxes) from $755 per person. If there are only two of you traveling together, pay just $836 for the one-bedroom condo instead.
  • The Village at Squaw Power Package includes five-nights accommodation in a two-bedroom condo at the Village at Squaw Valley, a four-day lift ticket, and full-size car rental (excluding airport taxes) from $1,049 per person midweek or $1,429 including weekends. Valid for travel from now until February 28, 2006. The same deal but in a one-bedroom condo instead, based on double occupancy is priced from $1299 midweek.
  • A five-night package staying at Lakeland Village in a two-bedroom townhouse with a four-day lift ticket at Heavenly and full-size car rental (excluding airport taxes) is priced from $654 per person for a quad share ($987 for holiday weekends).

Ski Heavenly (tel. 800/587-4430; www.skiheavenly.com) has a midweek "Ski Free/Stay Free" package available until February 16, 2006. Purchase a two-night stay in a queen size room at Best Tahoe West and get the third night free plus a three-day lift ticket from $215 per person.

Take a few days off work and ski Heavenly starting at just $68 per person per night. The Fun 101 package includes three-nights accommodation at Holiday Lodge, three-days of skiing or riding, a coupon for 25% off an adult group lesson, plus 2-for-1 coupons to some of the hottest shows and restaurants in town including The Cabo Wabo Cantina, The Improv at Harrah's, Fusion 2 at the Horizon and Dancin' in The Streets at Harveys. Valid until February 16, 2006 Sunday toThursday night only.

Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) has a wide selection of Lake Tahoe getaways this winter, including everything from budget to luxury accommodation. For example, from New York, a seven-night package including round-trip airfare on USAir (two-stops) and accommodation can start as low as $621 per person including all taxes (staying at the two-star Travel Inn in South Lake Tahoe) or at the other end of the extreme, stay at the four-star Resort at Squaw Creek at the Olympic Village for a mere $3334 per person -- it's your choice! For those interested in something in between, the three-star Inn by the Lake in South Lake Tahoe ($1244) may be just the ticket, especially because you'll still have to pay for transportation to the slopes and your ski lift tickets.

American Airlines Vacations (tel. 800/321-2121; www.aavacations.com) also features a number of package deals when booked in conjunction with American Airlines flights. Their "Adults Ski-Like-A-Kid" deals lets adults ski for the price of a child when purchasing a three-, four- or five-Day Lift Ticket. The package price includes hotel accommodations for four nights (midweek), hotel room tax and optional three-five day ski lift tickets. Prices staying at Harvey's Resort and Casino on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe start at a super low $108 per person for travel between April 16 and 30, 2006; $163 from March 27 to April 15, 2006; $218 from February 3 to 16 and February 20 to March 26, 2006 and the price goes up to $493 for the Presidents' Day weekend (February 17 to 19, 2006).

For a North shore experience, try one of their two-night midweek accommodation packages at the four-star Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort & Casino starting from just $141 per person from March 26 to April 30, 2006, $197 from February 3 to 16 and February 21 to March 25 or $344 from February 17 to 20, 2006. Travel dates are from February 4 to April 30, 2006 and these deals must be must be booked by Apr 25, 2006.

Reno is the closest major airport to the Lake Tahoe resorts area, approximately a 45-minute drive from North Lake Tahoe via the I-80. The airport is serviced by the following airlines: Alaska Air, Aloha, America West, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Northwest, Skywest, Southwest, United and United Express.

Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) can get you to Reno from Los Angeles from as little as $203 including all taxes during the peak season in February (based on midweek departures) flying either American Airlines or Alaska Air. From Chicago, fares start from $289 on American Airlines, $472 from Boston on United and $465 from New York on USAir.

For more Lake Tahoe information, go to www.visitinglaketahoe.com.

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