Waterskiing and Wakeboarding
Once the summer sunshine has warmed the air—if not the waters of the lake—visitors’ thoughts turn to those other kinds of skiing and boarding. The vast clear waters of Lake Tahoe are irresistible to water skiers, wakeboarders, Jet Skiers, and powerboaters. You’ve got miles of open water to cross, a number of docks and marinas, and a lovely coastline to explore.
If you dive deeper than about a foot and a half, you’ll find the water of Tahoe ice-cold (in the 40s) even in the height of summer. But that’s no matter if you’re sunning yourself on the bow of a speedboat or flying along behind the boat on a wakeboard.
Be aware that Tahoe takes the water quality of not only Lake Tahoe, but Falling Leaf, Echo, and the other small area lakes very, very seriously. Especially if you plan to bring your own powered watercraft, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the rules and restrictions governing all waterways in the Tahoe Basin. Check http://boattahoe.com/trparegs.htm for more information.
South Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Keys Marina (2435 Venice Dr., South Lake Tahoe, 530/541-2155, www.tahoemarina.com, powerboats $100–150/hr, $600–1,000/day) looms large as the only “inland” marina on the lake. This full-service marina sells gas, provides launch access, and rents slips, as well as offering boat rentals of all kinds and charter fishing trips.
You can rent an array of ritzy Reinell powerboats, some of which seat up to 10 people and can work for either cruising, fishing, or skiing and wakeboarding. Yamaha personal watercraft come a bit cheaper and are all legal on prissy Lake Tahoe. For an extra fee, you’ll get a pile of water toys, sets of water skis, or a high-class wakeboard. Just don’t expect anything here to come cheap!
On the Nevada side, Zephyr Cove Marina (750 Hwy. 50, Zephyr Cove, NV, 775/589-4901, www.zephyrcove.com/marina/index.cfm, ski boats $150–175, WaveRunners $115–150) offers a full complement of services and watercraft rentals. For skiers and wakeboarders, Zephyr Cove has a small fleet of 22–24 foot Sea Ray open-bow ski boats, plus skis, boards, and toys. Personal watercraft riders can rent one of the marina’s three-person WaveRunners. Truly adventurous visitors can also sign up for a parasailing session with the professional drivers from Zephyr Cove.
On the North Shore, Tahoe City Marina (700 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, 530/583-1093, www.tahoecitymarina.com, ski boats $130–160/hr) has not only full marina facilities, but a shopping mall with a number of restaurants and boutiques. But if your main focus is out on the water rather than the shore, the marina can hook you up with one of three ski boats.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition