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Hard Times in Tahoe - Great Vacation

Lawlar

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I’m back from my second yearly vacation at Marriott’s Timber Lodge. Before Marriott gets nervous, I’ll start off by saying that I really like the resort and I had a great time. The place is beautiful - great location next to the Gondola/casinos/shops. Everything was clean/newish/and very pleasant. The pool and Jacuzzis are wonderful. The staff are very friendly. Next to Maui, this is my favorite Marriott timeshare resort (ahead of NCV and Phoenix, though I really like Phoenix).

I stayed away from the sales staff except I did talk to them briefly as I walked by and learned, after I mentioned that I had heard that unemployment in Tahoe is at 70 percent, that one of them was “lucky” to have recently found a night job as a security guard (my, how times have changed).

Several worrisome things I saw or learned on my trip:

1. The Chateau at Heavenly Village – directly across from Timber Lodge – is a high-end condo/timeshare complex that was being built when I was there last year. They were just finishing the foundation. They had a sales office that was accepting deposits for preconstruction sales. Well, the foundation is there but nothing else has happened. It is a big hole that takes up a city block of prime land. Vail Resorts (dba RockResorts) has withdrawn from the project. I have a bad feeling that those who made deposits may find they are out of luck.

2. The Casinos were virtually empty. I saw a $2 bet limit at one of the blackjack tables. Last year I had to stand in a long line to eat at the Buffet at Harrah’s. This year there were only a few couples eating when I dined (and no line).

3. During my drive to Tahoe, I saw a few homes boarded up in Sacramento (foreclosures) and a closed GM dealership. There were lots of callers on the radio talk shows discussing whether they should stop making their house payments and just walk away.

A Few Hints for Those Headed to Tahoe:

The Timber Lodge units that overlook the pool give you a nice view (and I didn’t hear any noise from the pool area because I kept my windows closed – that would change during the summer).

If you reserve a one-bedroom unit try and get a unit that is a dedicated one-bedroom. Otherwise you will get a lock-off studio adjacent to your unit and you may pick-up some noise from the adjoining room through the locked door.

Take binoculars up the Gondola if you are going there to sightsee (and dress really warm).

The Heavenly Flyer is an interesting experience if you want to try something different. But it costs $40 (plus $30 for the gondola trip) and the ride last only 90 seconds. But it was a rather intense 90 seconds.
 

davidvel

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While I agree that times are tough in all resort locations, including Tahoe, the snapshot you saw must be put in perspective. The period of time after summer (ie. kids in school) until late December when the Ski resorts are open, is the SLOWEST time in Tahoe.

In speaking to casino dealers they all said it was very slow but this is typical.
 

Big Matt

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I think that the casinos all over are getting hit hard. My friend just took a flight from Washington DC non-stop round trip, plus three nights at the Mandalay Bay, plus car service from/to airport for a total of $575. The flights usually go for $350 and the room $750. The car is probably $50. That's about a 50% off deal.
 

Lawlar

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Yes and No

While I agree that times are tough in all resort locations, including Tahoe, the snapshot you saw must be put in perspective. The period of time after summer (ie. kids in school) until late December when the Ski resorts are open, is the SLOWEST time in Tahoe.

In speaking to casino dealers they all said it was very slow but this is typical.

I'm sure there are more people visiting Tahoe now that it has snowed. However, my visit last year occurred two weeks before Thanksgiving. The gondola was closed and there was no snow at all. That is the basis of my comparison.
 

Lawlar

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Off Season Is Great

Sounds like a good time to visit. How was the weather?

The weather on both of my trips was warm (more so last year, when it was like summer). The offseason would be my preference except the gondola and other activities are closed. A great place to visit regardless of the time of year (unless you hate the cold).
 

Karen P

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While I agree that times are tough in all resort locations, including Tahoe, the snapshot you saw must be put in perspective. The period of time after summer (ie. kids in school) until late December when the Ski resorts are open, is the SLOWEST time in Tahoe.

In speaking to casino dealers they all said it was very slow but this is typical.

Yes David you are absolutely correct. I've lived at Tahoe since 1982, and November through the 2nd week of December are always very quiet... For those who are fortunate enough to avoid big crowds, it's actually a great time of year to visit Lake Tahoe.
 

JudyS

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A summer platinum 2BR unit there just sold for $5200 on eBay.
Another fantastic deal sure to slip past ROFR.
I have a couple of questions -- hope not to get this thread too far off topic!

When is the highest season at Lake Tahoe? Is it ski season (Christmas/New Year?) or summer?

Also, that eBay ad says the MF fee at Timber Lodge is only $698.60. Is that right??? (The ad also says it's located in Asheville, NC! :p )
 

Robert D

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The platinum plus weeks are weeks 51, 52, and July 4th week. The other platinum weeks are ski season Jan - March and summer season of June - August. Since we don't ski, our favorite time to go to Tahoe is in July or August. Summer has by far the most people at Tahoe but since Timber Lodge is a ski in / ski out resort, the ski weeks go for more. Marriott sells summer 2BR weeks for $31.5K and ski season weeks for over $40K, or at least they are trying to sell them for this price! Outside of the platinum seasons, you can probably rent a Getaway week for quite a bit less than the M&T's. It's a very seasonal place.

The M&T's in that listing were wrong by quite a bit. Maintenance is $966 with taxes paid directly to the gov't adding another $150 or so, so the total for a 2BR is about $1,125.
 

Latravel

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Wow, I'm going to arrive on Sunday!! It's only my second year skiing so the weather looks a little intimidating. :eek:
 

winger

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We love MML, our kids grew up with annual exchanges to there their first 5 years of life

Now, we are snow-phobics but a friend's trying to get us to drive (from San Fran area) to South Tahoe Jan 16-19 (MLK weekend)...How is 50 during that time of year? How often are chains needed? That road gets creepy as there are long stretches where there is NO median dividing opposite-traveling traffic. Gives us the 'wheelies' thinking what if someone going the opposite way loses control on a slick snowy road.
 

DeniseM

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We love MML, our kids grew up with annual exchanges to there their first 5 years of life

Now, we are snow-phobics but a friend's trying to get us to drive (from San Fran area) to South Tahoe Jan 16-19 (MLK weekend)...How is 50 during that time of year? How often are chains needed? That road gets creepy as there are long stretches where there is NO median dividing opposite-traveling traffic. Gives us the 'wheelies' thinking what if someone going the opposite way loses control on a slick snowy road.

50 and 88 both have chain requirements frequently in the winter. We just came home on Sat. and there were chain requirements even for 4WD's on 50. You MUST have chains with you this time of year. If you don't, and it snows, the CHP will not let you through. You should consider renting a 4WD with snow rated tires - usually you don't have to put on chains if you have one. If you don't have chains, buy some cheap ones and don't open the box and you can return them, if you don't need them.
 

DeniseM

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Wow, I'm going to arrive on Sunday!! It's only my second year skiing so the weather looks a little intimidating. :eek:

Tahoe is getting a LOT of snow this week - which is a good thing for the skiiers and the economy.
 

davidvel

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Wow, I'm going to arrive on Sunday!! It's only my second year skiing so the weather looks a little intimidating. :eek:

Well, to ally your fears, here is what it looked like on Tuesday (plenty of sun and blue sky):

DSCN0406.jpg
DSCN0407.jpg
DSCN0408.jpg
 

davidvel

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I am jealous of your upcoming trip Marc, and I was just there!
 

Garnet

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Spider Spikes are Great!

or is is Spyder Spikes or Spikes Spyder...something like that. A chain alternative.

You attach (at home - well before you hit the mountains) at base unit to your lug nuts. When you hit the snow, you pull out the "spider" part which simply clicks onto the base and wraps around your tires with little arms with metal studs that grip the snow. They work great-I can snap them on in less than a minute per tire.

They work particularly well if you ever need to go to Mamoth from the Bay Area. Due to pass closures, you get to drive thru Tahoe and then keep driving for hours.... but, one year, we hit chain conditions, then no chain, then chain conditions, then no chain.... If we had real chains, it would have taken hours longer than it did. (At 10 plus hours....not something you want to do.)

They run about $300 or $350 I think.
 

winger

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or is is Spyder Spikes or Spikes Spyder...something like that. A chain alternative.

You attach (at home - well before you hit the mountains) at base unit to your lug nuts. When you hit the snow, you pull out the "spider" part which simply clicks onto the base and wraps around your tires with little arms with metal studs that grip the snow. They work great-I can snap them on in less than a minute per tire.

They work particularly well if you ever need to go to Mamoth from the Bay Area. Due to pass closures, you get to drive thru Tahoe and then keep driving for hours.... but, one year, we hit chain conditions, then no chain, then chain conditions, then no chain.... If we had real chains, it would have taken hours longer than it did. (At 10 plus hours....not something you want to do.)

They run about $300 or $350 I think.
Thanks. http://www.spikes-spiders.com/

SO are you SURE it takes less than a minute??? I am weary about these claims...even though it seems so easy on the video on the website, there MUST be a catch :D
 

Garnet

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Yes. OK minutish... really fast. We used them first when we had a Volvo Cross Country wagon. The clearance between the tires and tire well were too small for regular chains (not sure about cables) and this is what the Volvo dealership recommended. Even though an all wheel drive, hubs still purchased and we used them. Now (with 3 kids...) we used them last year on my minivan. Terrific. Either one of us can snap on pretty quick. Practice once or twice at home and your good to go as when its really snowing...everything seems hard.
 

davidvel

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WOW! $500 for those things!!#@$@$# They should drive you there in first class for that price.
 

winger

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well, it boils down to is the value of your time IF you end up spending time putting real chains on and how efficiently (or inefficiently) you can put the chains on.

everyone has a diff view on this. it's a similar decision on buying a Marriott direct vs. resale Or buying a Marriott vs any Joe Some timeshare Or buying any timeshare at all.

it is related to personal taste and financial situation.
 
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