Mini moguls

Winter Guide quick tips!

Indulge your Ice Capade dreams at Olympic Ice Pavilion at Squaw Valley, an Olympic-sized, outdoor rink overlooking Lake Tahoe. The price for all ages is $10, including skate rental. For an extra $16, take a cable car 2,000 vertical feet above Squaw Valley to the rink. The pavilion is open most of the year, but check specific times at, or call (530) 581-7246. Much closer to home, of course, is the Downtown Plaza Holiday Ice Rink at K and 7th streets in Sacramento. It’s small, can be crowded and costs $6 to get in and 2 bucks to rent skates. Call (916) 442-8575.

It’s the shoes
If you can hike, you can snowshoe. Just strap into the shoes and head out toward a snowy peak. A good place to start is Tahoe Meadows. You’ll know you’re there by all of the cars parked along the strip of highway and the giant snowy meadow stretched out beside them. Follow that meadow into the woods and climb steadily upward for stunning views of Lake Tahoe. The crowds dwindle the farther from the meadow you go. Outdoor writer Mike White lists about 65 worthy routes in his book Snowshoe Trails of Tahoe. Buy your own snowshoes for $50-$300, or rent them locally for about $11 a day, with multiple-day discounts. Other than the gear, snowshoeing shouldn’t cost you a thing.

Grab your sled or tube and hit any hill with snow on it for one of the cheapest forms of entertainment all winter. Do it for free on the south side of Lake Tahoe at Emigrant Gap or Spooner Summit or at Tahoe Meadows off Highway 431 between Incline Village and Reno on the Nevada side. North Tahoe Regional Park, Kingvale Tubing and Sledding Center and nearly every local ski resort also has a sledding or tubing area for a fee of up to $20 a day.

Ski lift timesaver
If you spend anytime on the ski lifts, you most likely have a day pass or season pass clipped somewhere to your jacket, but Swatch wants to gear you up for the winter ski season with a bit of technological magic. The slim and simple Black Injection appears to be a normal watch, but inside is a microchip that can be activated to turn your timepiece into a lift pass. Water resistant and shock proof, the microchip ski pass is recognized at over 450 ski resorts across the world. At $65, the Black Injection is a great multitasking timepiece that provides a geeky fashion statement that will move you through the ski lift lines quickly.