During our week-long stay in our HomeAway vacation home in South Lake Tahoe, we were only minutes away from skiing, snow play, and other area attractions. On Christmas Eve, we took the opportunity to try a snowmobiling tour with Zephyr Cove Resort, located just past the Nevada border on Tahoe’s South Shore.
Our tour was scheduled for 2 pm (they offer 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm tours daily during most of the winter), and we arrived at the resort approximately 45 minutes ahead of time, as was recommended. (During peak seasons, you do need reservations.) Zephyr Cove Resort sits directly on the lake shore, and features a main lodge and dining room (which is very good), cabins, an RV park, and a campground. At the dock, visitors can also book a lake tour on the M.S. Dixie or Tahoe Queen. In other words, this is a bustling, busy resort! Zephyr Cove can accommodate enough visitors for a fleet of 99 snow machines, which means the check-in process is crowded and, at least on the busy day we visited, time-consuming. The staff was efficient and friendly, however, getting everyone tickets and fitted for helmets (required) in a timely fashion, and I was assured they were busier than the norm due to the holiday.
Once we were all ready for departure, we boarded a resort bus for the 10 minute drive to the snowmobile trails. Again, our driver was friendly and professional. I was a bit concerned about being in such a large group of riders, but once we arrived, we were split into groups of only approximately 10-12 machines, each with two guides (one to lead, one to take up the rear). Our guides showed us how to operate the machines, and quite quickly, we were off!
The tour is two hours in length (ours went a little longer), and includes stunning lake views, beautiful trails through the snow-covered trees, and even a hot cocoa stop. Our guides were on-hand if we had any trouble, and stopped us periodically to point out landmarks and just make sure we were all together. Kids are encouraged (over age 4). Riders must be at least 16 years old to drive, but kids can ride behind adults for the ‘double rider’ price. Toby (age 6) and Nate (age 11) both had a great time.
Extra Tip: Tours go up to 9000 feet, and even mid-day, it gets cold! On our 2 pm tour, the sun was beginning to go down toward the end, and temperatures dropped. The machines have heaters on the hand grips (which was awesome) but be sure to bundle up! Our kids wore ski goggles under their helmets; on the adult helmets, sunglasses worked better. Warm boots and gloves are a must.
Date last visited: December 24, 2010
Distance from the interstate: Directly off Hwy 50 just past the Nevada border.
Cost: $119 for single riders, $159 for double riders. On most Thursdays, kids ride free!
Reservations and information: 1-800-23TAHOE
Directions: From South Tahoe, drive along Hwy 50 to Zephyr Cove Resort, four miles past the border. The resort is on your left, right on the lake.
As I disclose with all compensated reviews, Zephyr Cove Resort generously hosted us for this portion of our Tahoe Holiday review series. While we greatly appreciate their hospitality, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review. Read all our articles in our Home (Away) for the Holidays series!