Granlibakken_2Granlibakken Lake Tahoe Conference Center and Lodge provides a serene, high country, alpine setting for a family vacation. Families can ski, snowboard, sled, snowshoe, and unwind in a peaceful, unpretentious, tranquil, mountain setting. The first thing we noticed upon arrival, was a warm and welcoming staff providing first class hospitality in a down-to-earth fashion.

On our drive from the Sacramento area, we saved room to dine in the Cedar House restaurant in the main lodge. Daily specials change but delicious signature specialties like the flat iron steak, authentic German schnitzel with potato pancakes, fish and chips, and generous helpings of homemade spaghetti and desserts help your clan fuel properly for the next day’s activities. 

A talented local musician, Baron von Remmel, will get the kids interacting on various instruments as you all dine in this lovely, rustic, timber-built restaurant, where a blazing fireplace and full bar only add to the après ski ambiance.

We loved unwinding after the drive, in the huge outdoor spa and heated outdoor pool, framed by a snowy backdrop and blanketed by the stars. After warming up in the sauna we chose to retreat back to our condo to enjoy some relaxing board games and movies in front of our own crackling fire.

Granlibakken_photo courtesy of Tor JohnsonGet the kids to bed early so nobody misses the delicious buffet breakfast offered each morning. The fare changes daily but offers satisfying staples like omelets, bacon, sausage, hot cereal, an array of fresh fruit and berries, pastries, yogurts and more. Famous bread pudding, quiche Lorraine, cheese blintzes along with quality coffees and teas make this a superb way to begin the day.

After prepping for the day ahead with a sumptuous breakfast, it’s time to decide what to do first.

Located on 74 pristine wooded acres, Granlibakken offers groomed snowshoe trails, cross country trails, its own private ski hill, sledding hill, full rentals, lessons, and everything you’d find at a larger ski resort but on a smaller and much more intimate scale. The ski staff is helpful, patient, and knowledgeable, particularly with children.

If you’ve never skied or snowboarded or if it’s just been a long time and you need a refresher, a private or group lesson with one of the highly qualified instructors, can be the added boost you need.

At the bottom of the ski hill there’s even a small Ski Hut restaurant, serving outstanding freshly hand-made burritos, tacos, chili, guacamole, freshly-made chips, homemade soup and a dozen other choices will both surprise and satisfy your exercise-induced hunger pangs. The portions are positively huge and priced reasonably; we were utterly amazed.

Granlibakken’s ski hill serves beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders perfectly. Should you decide that more challenging skiing or snowboarding is in order, Granlibakken partners with Homewood, Alpine Meadows, Mt. Rose, Northstar at Tahoe, Sierra at Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA, and Sugar Bowl to offer unbelievably inexpensive cooperative ski packages where you can stay at Granlibakken to enjoy the low-key quietude, yet ski at these larger giants for greater challenge.

Granlibakken_6Cheap Family Ski Vacations

Packages starting at $114 will get you the best of both worlds plus a shuttle to these neighboring resorts.

We chose to venture out to nearby Alpine Meadows the second day of our stay. It provided the perfect balance after savoring the quieter skiing of Granlibakken the day before. The lodging at Granlibakken offers more choices with condos, townhouses, studios, suites, and varying types, with many plans offering full kitchens.

This makes an environment perfect for a family vacation or for a family reunion. High speed Internet, spa quality toiletries, and daily housekeeping service all add to the comfort. For nearly a century, Granlibakken has had a fascinating history with ties to the Olympics and much of the heritage of Lake Tahoe.

This gem may be small in comparison to some of the larger Tahoe area ski resorts but is big on hospitality, quality, and serenity. Good things really do come in small packages.

(Granlibakken condo photo courtesy of Tor Johnson)