If you really want to get a peak at the backcountry around Lake Tahoe and don't want to overexert yourself doing it on cross-country skis, then take a snowmobile tour with Zephyr Cove Resort. These tours will take you nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, where you can access nearly 50 miles of groomed trails that run through the mountains, forests and valleys above the lake.
Zephyr Cove's tours take you to the top of Spooner Summit, above Lake Tahoe — Photo courtesy of Zephyr Cove Resort
Zephyr Cove has over 90 current model snowmobiles for use in the deep powder of Tahoe, and visitors can have their own snowmobile or share one with a partner. Each tour is operated by an expert guide who knows the Tahoe area and will take you where most people never get to go in the winter season.
Snow gear and winter clothing are available for rent, and if you get cold, hang onto the heated handlebars of many of the snowmobiles. In addition, each of the tours takes regular stops so you can partake in hot drinks.
Zephyr Cove offers various tours, including a Let's Ride Tour that is less of a sightseeing tour and more of a fast and fun snowmobile ride. The company also offers several days where children under the age of 15 can ride for free. There are also private tours available, where you can fully customize your adventure and learn specific riding techniques with a skilled guide.
The view of Lake Tahoe from a snowmobile — Photo courtesy of Zephyr Cove Resort
Group tours for up to 180 riders are also available, which is perfect for a special event like a wedding or corporate retreat. The prices vary from season to season and tour to tour, but the average cost of a single rider tour is $120 for about two to three hours of riding and $160 for two riders per snowmobile. Shuttle rides to and from your hotel to the Zephyr Cove Resort are also available.
No matter what tour you take, most of them end up in a culmination of a photo-op stop at the top of a mountain overlooking the lake. On a clear, blue-sky day, the views are incredible. You might not want to get back on the snowmobile.