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Village People

That sprawling "alpine village" next to the casinos is the 464-room Marriott Grand Residence Club (4100 Lake Tahoe Blvd.; tel. 800/845-5279 or 530/542-8400; www.marriott.com). It's the first phase of a massive redevelopment project slated for Stateline that will level most of the old, inexpensive motels with nickel-slotters and replace them with that expensive corporate faux-village thing that's taking over the world's tourist destinations. The two adjacent vacation ownership resorts also sell rooms on a per-night basis, but it's a good deal only if your family takes full advantage of the resort amenities: restaurants, bars, an ice-skating rink, two pools, a movie theater, a ski gondola, an arcade, and an alpine-style retail mini-mall. The silver lining? The new building codes are fiercely pro-environment: Holding and treatment ponds are now required to prevent polluted snowmelt and rainwater from dumping straight into the lake, and the central ski gondola and high-tech bus system are two new eco-friendly means of luring people away from their SUVs.

Skiing Tahoe, Squaw Valley Style

The fancy new Village at Squaw Valley looks expensive, but it's actually one of the best deals in Tahoe. For as little as $150 per night, you can score a fully furnished condominium -- fireplace, full kitchen, deck, huge TV, sofa bed, DVD player -- right next to the ski lifts. And the free perks are superb: covered underground parking, eight whirlpool spas, ski and snowboard lockers, a billiards lounge, and three fitness centers with saunas. You'll never need your car because the best restaurants, bars, and shops are within walking distance. After a full day of skiing, there's no better way to finish off the day than with a Deluxe Deep Tissue massage at the Village's Trilogy Spa (tel. 530/584-6125; www.trilogyspa.com), followed by a drink at Auld Dubliner (tel. 530/584-6041; www.aulddubliner.com), an authentic Irish Pub from Ireland (literally -- the pub was built in Ireland, dismantled, shipped over, and reassembled). The Dubliner has Squaw's best après-ski bar scene and serves great Irish fare. Combine all of this with Tahoe's best skiing, and you have my top resort choice for a Tahoe ski vacation. For more information, log on to www.thevillageatsquaw.com (be sure to check out the money-saving package deals) or call tel. 866/818-6963.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.