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Why Spring Is the Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe, California

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Traveling to a ski resort in the warmer months might seem like a total downer, but for Lake Tahoe, it's actually one of the best times to book a trip. The crowds have thinned out, so you'll find off-season deals and even more to do as the snow melt reveals miles of trails, opportunities on the water, and longer days to squeeze in more sun-filled activities. And snow bunnies don't have to rule out skiing—a spring squall is not uncommon. (Another spring ski destination we love? Aspen, Colorodo.) 

Since there's nothing like seeing a new place through the eyes of a local to really give you a sense of community—and steer you clear of tourist traps, so we tapped Amie Engerbretson, a pro skier with Spyder and North Tahoe native to show us around town. (Related: 7 Reasons You Should Book a Fit-cation to a Ski Town This Summer

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Sleep Well

Check in to the Resort at Squaw Creek for a full-service stay, complete with a spa, ski-in/ski-out lodging, year-round heated swimming pools, and on-site dining. There's even a golf course, ice skating rink, and easy access to hiking and biking trails, so you'll always find something to keep you busy. (Related: These Workouts Are Redefining the World of Hotel Fitness)

If you want to hole up in true ski-lodge style, check AirBnB for cozy rentals with mountain character. Larger groups can find homes designed to fit the whole squad.

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Stay In Shape

Like many mountain towns, Tahoe lends itself well to a myriad of outdoor activities, and people are always in motion. In the winter time, snow sports dominate and there are tons of resorts to choose from. The local pick? Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, which was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. "I grew up on this mountain," says Engerbretson. "And it's still my favorite place to ski in the world." The mountain is no joke, offering miles of challenging terrain for experienced skiers, but beginners will find friendly runs too. Known as the Spring Skiing Capital, you'll find open runs through June.

Just steps away from the mountains, in the Village at Squaw Valley, you can catch a class at Wanderlust Yoga Squaw Valley. The sunlit studio has tons of windows, giving you a peek at the mountains while you practice (and making mountain pose all the more meaningful). The ski resort also hosts an annual Wanderlust Festival every summer.

A short drive away in Truckee, be sure to check out the Bar Effect, where Engerbretson teaches when she's not on the road. "We isolate one muscle group at a time and work it to fatigue, plus the entire class is core work, which is key for skiing," she says.

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Fuel Your Trip

For a morning jolt of caffeine or a post-ski warm up, head to Coffeebar, which has a location within the Village at Squaw Valley and two in nearby Truckee. From gluten-free and vegan breakfast options to paleo lunch bowls, they serve up organic produce and local foods, even returning compost to their food suppliers.

If you need a quick lunch before you get back on the slopes, stop into Wildflour Bakery, a made-from-scratch joint tucked into the Village (and Engerbretson's go-to spot). Their sandwiches, salad, and hot lunches are designed to replenish all those calories you burn skiing or boarding. Just don't leave without one of their famed cookies!

Catch an early dinner at Jake's On The Lake in Tahoe City, with its fantastic waterfront views, where you'll mingle with locals and visitors alike. If you're looking for a night on the town, take a ride into Truckee for a night of live music and fine dining at Moody's. The cocktail list is MAJOR and you can order everything from pizza to poke.

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Pit Stop

The Lake Tahoe area is filled with opportunities for fly fishing, especially along the beautiful Truckee River that snakes through the valley. You don't have to be experienced to have a good time out on the water—just book a trip with Gilligan's Guide Service and they'll provide the gear and expertise you need to learn the sport. (Just remember to get a California fishing license before you go.) The repetitive motion of casting takes on a meditative quality, while the sound and sights of the water will help you de-stress.

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What to Pack

In winter, average daytime temperatures are in the 30s and 40s, but come summer the afternoons can reach into the 80s, then dip down to the 40s in the evening. Regardless of the season, it's all about layers here. If you plan on skiing or snowboarding, we recommend Spyder outerwear, Zeal Optics goggles, and Phunkshun accessories to keep you warm and shielded.

The vibe in Tahoe is laid back and breezy, so athleisure totally flies here (plus, jeans that feel like leggings are the new trend anyway). Bring along a stylish backpack for toting extra layers, like our new fav travel piece, the Caydence Full Zip Hoodie ($129, spyder.com), sweat-proof sunscreen, and protective sunnies—even on cool days, the sun can be scorching.

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